Why Am I Losing Weight But Not Inches?

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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Last night (might not have been last night by the time you read this), a client who has been working with me for two weeks told me how excited she was about having lost 8 pounds already.

However, she was a little concerned about her measurements, she asked me if she was doing something wrong because she was losing weight but not inches.

I explained to her a few of the reasons this could be happening and then decided to write an article for others who might be going through the same.

Not everyone’s scenario is the same, but here are a few things to help you troubleshoot why you might be losing weight but not inches.

1. Measuring Different Body Parts

During weight loss, your body loses weight all over at the same time, but not necessarily at the same rate.

Most people focus on their waist measurement, however, pounds come off from all other body parts as well.

If you’re only measuring your waist, consider also measuring your biceps, quadriceps, calves, and chest.

We are all different, some people might store more fat in their thighs, while others on their underarms or stomach.

2. Losing Visceral Fat

Visceral fat (belly fat) is the dangerous fat that’s stored around vital organs, such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines.

Since visceral fat is around vital organs, losing it might not affect your measurements much, but it will surely benefit your health and make the number on the scale go down.

Here are 9 effective tips to lose belly fat fast.

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3. Losing More Muscle

Losing muscle is another common reason why people tend to lose a lot of pounds, but not many inches.

This is especially true with fad diets that make drastic cuts to your calories and make you lose weight very fast.

Fat takes up more space than an equal amount (in weight) of muscle, this means that someone could look slimmer while weighing the same.

Image of 5 pounds of muscle vs. 5 pounds of fat

How do I know if I’m losing muscle?

If you’re not doing resistance training and losing more than 1% of your body weight per week, you might be losing fat, but also a significant amount of muscle.

Here are a few ways to prevent losing muscle during weight loss.

I want to point out that regular exercise and resistance training, such as weight lifting, are not the same thing.

The only way to build and maintain muscle is through resistance training, this breaks down your muscle fibers and rebuilds them stronger. 

The only way to build and maintain muscle is through resistance training, this breaks down your muscle fibers and rebuilds them stronger.

A common concern among women is the idea that it will make them bulky, however, this is very unlikely.

If you’d like to explore more, you can read my article on why lifting weights won’t make women bulky.

4. Inconsistent Measurements

To accurately track progress, it’s important to stay consistent with your measurements.

Always take measurements with the same device and in the same conditions.

I recommend always measuring yourself in the morning before having breakfast and after using the bathroom.

Here’s how to take your measurements:

  • Waist: relaxed
  • Chest: relaxed
  • Biceps: flexed (take the measurement at the peak)
  • Quadriceps: flexed
  • Calves: flexed

5. Losing Water Weight

This is especially true with low-carb and keto diets.

Glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates, also holds water, when you cut or reduce carbs from your diet, you’ll lose a lot of water weight.

This is why people tend to lose 7-10 pounds the first week of a low-carb or keto diet, but then think that something must be wrong with them once weight loss slows (goes back to normal).

I hope you loved this article about why you’re losing weight but not inches!

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