Losing Inches but Not Weight? Here’s What to Do

losing inches but not weight

A lot of people work hard to lose weight, but they’re losing inches instead. You may be wondering why this is and what you can do about it. This article will help you understand why this happens and give you some advice on what to do if it’s happening to you right now.

Avoid gimmicks and quick fixes

If you’re not losing weight but still want a quick fix, remember that gimmicks and quick fixes are just that—gimmicks. They might help you feel good in the short term, but they won’t get you lasting results in weight loss. Stick with what works: exercise and cutting calories.

If you’ve been working out and eating right, but you’re still losing inches instead of weight, it may be time to recalibrate your body. Don’t worry: It’s not permanent! The scale doesn’t always match up with measurements or how you feel. If your weight seems stuck at a certain number—for instance, if you’re gaining muscle and losing fat—you might just need to take some time for your body to catch up. Pay attention to how your clothes fit and how much energy you have rather than worrying about a number on a scale.

Don’t obsess about the scale

When you’re losing weight, it can be all too easy to become obsessed with that number on your bathroom scale. However, your scale won’t always reflect your hard work; muscle weighs more than fat and a change in water retention can also affect how much you weigh. Instead of stressing over a small (or large) number, look for other ways to measure your progress.

Try taking measurements, such as those listed above or tracking how your clothes fit. If you still find yourself fixating on numbers and not on results, try writing down what’s going well in your life instead of where you think you need improvement.

Weigh yourself once a week at most. If you do it every day, you might get discouraged by minor fluctuations in weight or even small amounts of weight gain. Also keep in mind that water retention, digestive issues and other factors can influence how much you weigh from day today. As long as your body composition is improving—meaning more muscle and less fat—you’re probably making progress toward your goals!

Work with your body type, metabolism, height and weight

Some people have a body type or metabolism that makes weight loss easy. Some others have a body type or metabolism that makes weight loss extremely difficult. You are different from me and I am different from you. That doesn’t mean one of us is wrong and one of us is right – it just means we’re different.

The key to successful weight loss is learning how your body responds in certain situations and working with it, not against it. If you feel you are losing inches but not weight, experiment by altering what, when and how much you eat for two weeks before making any permanent changes. Your body will let you know what works best for it!

Your height and weight also matter. If you are taller or heavier than average, that could mean you need more calories than your peers to keep from losing weight too quickly. Use a body mass index (BMI) calculator like World’s Healthiest Foods to estimate how many calories your body needs each day and adjust your diet accordingly.

Height and weight can be difficult factors to measure precisely, so use those BMI calculators or ask your doctor if they offer an estimate based on age, gender and height/weight. That said, it’s easy for some people to overestimate how much they weigh while others underestimate their true size by several pounds!

Consider other types of measurements

While we often focus on how many pounds you’ve lost when measuring weight loss, it’s also important to consider your overall measurements. As you lose weight, your proportions can change dramatically—not only will your clothes fit differently, you’ll be smaller at each point in your body than you were before.

For example, if you used to wear a size 16 or 18 pants and shirt in a certain brand but are now wearing an 8/10 and L/XL respectively, it’s safe to say that even though they’re different sizes they’ll probably still look more or less good on you. So don’t forget about other types of measurements such as waist circumference!

Another factor to keep in mind is that clothing sizes are not standardized, so there is a good deal of variation between brands. If you’re shopping for new clothes as you lose weight, keep in mind that a size small from one brand may be different than a small from another. This can become confusing when it comes time to buy something new, so take measurements and use those as a guide when shopping.

Be patient! It takes time

Losing inches without losing weight can be frustrating for a lot of people. It takes time for your body to shift shape and change, so don’t be discouraged if you see only a small difference on your scale at first. If you’re patient with your goals, though, it will pay off—and as long as you keep working out and eating well, those inches will eventually drop off. Think of how good it feels when you tighten up or firm up different parts of your body!

Those are all forms of progress too, even if they aren’t reflected in your scale reading. So give yourself some time, and don’t worry about what a number is telling you—you have everything you need to feel good about yourself!

Balance Calories Consumed With Calories Burned

If you’re trying to lose weight but not seeing it on your scale, chances are you’re eating more calories than you’re burning—whether it’s from more servings at dinner or snacks throughout the day. To lose weight safely and effectively, consider making some tweaks to your diet (like eating smaller portions) and incorporating a little bit of exercise into your routine.

You might not see results right away, but cutting calories is certainly better than not cutting any at all. For starters, try replacing one meal per day with a healthy smoothie made with fresh fruit and unsweetened almond milk; that way, you get protein and antioxidants in addition to filling up on fewer calories.

It’s also important to be mindful of when you eat and how you fuel your body. Focus on eating meals that are rich in whole foods and good fats, such as fish, avocados, nuts and nut butter. Eating small snacks throughout the day can help too; just make sure they’re full of protein, healthy fats or fibre.

And although all calories count toward weight loss, some types—like those from whole foods—can help fill you up more than others so you’re less likely to overeat later in the day. Start your morning with a smoothie made with berries, bananas and unsweetened almond milk for a meal that will last until lunchtime without making you feel hungry or unsatisfied.

Use sustainable practices over quick ones

If you’re losing inches, but not weight, there’s a good chance you’re engaging in some form of exercise—that’s great! But it might be worth a second look. If you want sustainable results (that is, long-term) over quick fixes (short-term), slow down and spend less time on high-intensity intervals and more time building strength with compound exercises. As far as your diet goes, just because tracking calories isn’t working for you doesn’t mean that calories aren’t important: You may simply need to reevaluate your eating habits if they aren’t contributing positively toward your goals.

For instance, if you’re losing inches, but not weight, maybe you’re spending too much time on high-intensity intervals. While these can be good for quick results, they don’t tend to produce sustainable weight loss in a lot of people. Instead, opt for less intense and slower exercise.

For example, swim laps slowly or go on long runs at a slower pace instead of running sprints or cycling hard. If your diet isn’t working out as well as it should be either, reevaluate it: Your body might just need something different. If tracking calories isn’t working out for you (again, short-term), try scaling back on portion sizes or trying a whole foods approach instead of counting calories.

Focus on Fat Loss, Not Weight

Depending on your goal, you may be trying to lose weight or lose fat. The two are related, but they’re not necessarily one and the same. For example, if you want to lose a pound of fat and you weigh 150 pounds, that means you need a deficit of 3,500 calories (1 pound = 3,500 calories).

If you wanted to get down to 125 pounds in that situation, however, it would take even more drastic measures—you’d have to create a 4-5 calorie deficit per day (which isn’t healthy). Instead of aiming for weight loss at all costs just focus on losing fat instead. That way if you lose inches but not weight don’t panic!

Measure Success in a New Way

You may have lost weight, but that doesn’t mean you’ve been successful. It can be tempting to weigh yourself in order to gauge your progress, but if you lose inches but not weight, then you might find yourself discouraged by a number on a scale that isn’t changing.

The problem is that our bodies come in different shapes and sizes; if your goal is losing fat and not muscle, then measuring how well you’re meeting that goal means tracking inches instead of pounds. Measure key body points once a week (waist circumference, hips, etc.) and check in with your overall energy levels at least daily for best results.


The trouble isn’t necessarily that you aren’t losing weight. It could be because you are putting on muscle mass—which is a good thing! However, if you aren’t doing any strength training or otherwise building up lean muscle, chances are your current weight loss is water weight, not fat.

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