Losing weight has a simple formula, but in reality, the human body is not that simple, and even when you balance your calorie intake, you might not experience losing any weight; instead, you may experience an inch of loss! But why does this happen, and what are the differences between weight loss and inch loss? In this article, we will explain the human body composition and the reasons that might be causing you to lose inches rather than lose pounds.
Weight loss vs. inch loss
When people talk about weight loss or inch loss, they usually mean the same thing, and these two terms are almost always used interchangeably; however, in reality, they are different. Most people weigh themselves to check their body transformation process and how much weight they have lost, but it is pretty common to face a block after a while and not lose weight like they used to; this situation will be even more confusing when they are experiencing size reduction!
Why Am I losing inches instead of weight?
The most common reason behind inch loss instead of weight loss is exercise. When you are exercising, you are not only burning fat cells but also making your muscle cells stronger and bigger.
The process of losing fat and gaining muscles simultaneously is called body recomposition. Each person has a unique body composition, and while two people might have the same weight, their fat and muscle proportions are entirely different. For instance, the person with more muscle mass is more likely to have a smaller size and wear smaller clothes than the person with a bigger proportion of fat. This is because the muscle cells have much more density than fat cells. Exercising combined with a low-calorie intake and high protein consumption will lead to more muscle mass and fat loss, which will ultimately cause size reduction, not weight loss!
So relying on the numbers that the scale shows you might not be the best way to track your weight loss journey, especially if you are working out and doing strength training. Try measuring your waist from time to time to see how much size you have lost. You should know that the muscle-to-fat ratio in your body is a good indicator of how healthy your body is; the more muscles and the less fat you have, the better! You can check your body composition in your home using a fat scale; this device will send a weak signal through your body and estimate how much fat and muscle you have in your body, though it might not be accurate enough.
The Fluids inside the body
Another typical reason is water weight or water retention! The human body consists of many things, and the fluids inside of it are one of the main things that add up to the total weight. Now, the water or other fluids inside the body are always fluctuating to some extent, but if your body holds more water than it should, it is called water weight. This situation could happen due to multiple reasons, such as:
- When your body receives a high level of sodium, it can cause your kidneys to retain more water.
- Stressful situations can lead to hormonal changes, and it might result in water retention.
- Going through the menstrual cycle
- Using Creatine. Creatine can increase muscle mass, but it can also pull much more water into muscle cells.
Water weight is a temporary situation, and it will go away on its own, so if that is your case, only get worried about how much you weigh after you have gotten rid of water retention.
It is reported that most people will experience weight loss after 4 to 6 months of calorie restriction, but how much they lose or how fast it is going to happen depends on lots of factors. It is said that following a low-carb diet is more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet. However, the human body always adjusts to the situation, and after a period of following a diet and exercising, it does not respond to them as it used to. Ultimately, the metabolism slows down, and it will notably slow down the rate of weight loss. A weight loss plateau is when you no longer lose weight, and it happens because you receive more calories than you burn.
Read more about the reasons why you are not losing weight in this article.
When you are consuming more calories than you should, your body does not burn those stubborn fat cells to fuel itself, so you will not experience weight loss, but you might see your size get slightly bigger because your muscle cells are growing due to the exercises you follow. It is best to lower your calorie intake and monitor what you eat once in a while.
What is the difference between weight loss and inch loss?
We have already explained why inch loss might happen instead of losing weight, but in what other terms are these two different?
Well, for starters, weight loss is when you lose water, fat, or muscle, and the main goal of losing weight is actually to lose fat pockets in different areas of the body, especially the midsection. Most people try to lose their excessive weight by following a diet and having regular workout sessions. Some might even try surgical or non-surgical weight loss methods to get the body shape they desire.
Inch loss, on the other hand, is completely different, and it refers to the decrease in body measurements in different parts. When people talk about inch loss, they usually mean the midsection of their body and their hip-to-hip measurement. Inch loss indicates that you are on the right path and that your body is getting in a much better shape. Now, weight loss does not always lead to inch loss, as we have explained why.
Both weight loss and inch loss can be achieved through various methods other than exercise and diet; some might even consider surgical operations, but not all people are eligible for invasive treatments. Non-surgical options, on the other hand, are becoming more popular each day as they do not pose any threat or risk to overall health, and they do not require a lot of time and dedication.
Please note that even the BMI measure is not a good indicator of how healthy you are. As we have already covered, some people with normal fat weight and a lot more muscle mass might be categorized as unhealthy as far as the BMI measurement is concerned, which is not valid.