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Most people who go on a weight loss journey aim to lose fat. In some instances, people lose their fat to a certain degree, but they still retain their body weight. The main reason is that losing weight and fat aren’t the same.
So, before you convince yourself to follow a strict diet, you must understand which one you want. While some people may experience both weight and inch loss simultaneously, this may not be the case for everyone. Thus, this article will discuss the reasons behind losing inches but not weight.

Reasons Behind Losing Inches but Not Weight

There may be various reasons behind losing inches but not weight. So, let’s take a look at some of them.

Gaining Muscle

Losing Inches

You may gain muscles if you work out along with following a good diet. Now, muscles add a lot of weight to your body. So, even if you lose some fat, the muscle increase will compensate for that. A considerable gain may even increase your weight.

The problem is that most analog and digital weight scales can’t distinguish between fat and muscle mass. So, it’s only natural to freak out. To clear your doubts, we recommend using some digital device to calculate your fat percentage. Most mid to high-end fitness watches offer this feature.

There’s also a manual way of calculating your body fat at home. Some body fat scales scale your body fat percentage along with your weight. Although these aren’t as accurate, they can do a decent job of getting you started. Also, they’re cheap, so you can get them if you’re on a budget.

But should you be worried in this case? Not at all. In many cases, your weight won’t be a valuable indicator of your health. Instead, gaining muscles indicate a healthy lifestyle. So, you should be happy.

Water Retention

Whenever you start working out, you’ll find that you’ve lost the most weight in the first two or three days. This is because your body retains a lot of water when idle. Thus, your body uses up all the excess water whenever you start pushing yourself.
Now, the weight of the water retained by your body is considerable. So, as you lose that amount, you see you’ve lost a decent bit of weight.
Multiple factors can increase the water retention of your body. These are:

• A high intake of sodium can increase water retention in your body. This is why experts suggest limiting salt intake.

• Stress, such as life changes or work pressures, can release certain hormones that can increase water retention in your body.

• Fitness enthusiasts often use creatine. So, it can surely help you increase muscle strength, but it can also increase water retention in some instances.
You’ve Reached Your Limit
Like everything else, the level up to which you can lose weight while maintaining a healthy lifestyle has a limit too. There are multiple ways in which you may reach weight loss limits. Firstly, you may face a limitation if you haven’t changed your routine. You can also face this if you’ve gone through a strict diet for some time.
The main reason is that your body adapts to the new living conditions. As you start losing weight, your body automatically slows your metabolism down. This prevents weight loss. Also, it would be best to change your diet often; otherwise, it won’t trigger a calorie deficit.
So, you need to change your lifestyle if you feel like hitting a wall.

Post-Training Inflammation

Losing Inches

Weightlifting can sometimes lead to micro-tears in specific muscles. As you experience micro-tears in your muscle, your body tries to repair this damage as best as possible. However, the reparation requires the muscles to hold more water than usual. This is why you may experience an increase in weight while you’re suffering from muscle inflammation.

The weight increased due to post-training inflammation can range from 1 to 3 pounds. You’ll likely experience this increase in weight for two to three weeks max. After that, you’ll find the weight settling down gradually.

Focus on Fat Loss

We’ve discussed the reason behind losing inches but not weight. Now, let us talk about why you shouldn’t focus on losing weight; instead, focus on losing inches. This is because weight loss isn’t the standard for a healthy lifestyle. Weight loss can be damaging in some instances.

If you’re bent on reducing your weight, you should focus on fat loss rather than weight loss. As you lose fat, you might also gain some muscle mass. In these cases, your weight will be the same, or it may even increase.
So, it would be best if you didn’t focus on weight. Instead, focus on losing inches. The more inches you lose, the more fat you’re losing.

Also, if you must use a scale, opt for a body fat ratio scale rather than a traditional weight scale. This is because a weight scale measures everything from the very bones and muscles to the fat and water. On the other hand, a fat ratio scale will tell you exactly how much of your body comprises fat. Hence, you’ll be able to differentiate between fat and muscle correctly.


So, considering the above factors, don’t fret if you’re losing inches but not weight. How much weight you’re losing or seldom gaining matters. And if you’re putting yourself through a strict diet, you should focus on losing inches overweight.
Also, if you’re planning on working out and gaining muscles, you must consider increasing your weight too. This is because muscle mass can be much heavier than fat. Hopefully, this article clarified the whole inch-weight confusion.
Take care of yourself, eat healthily, and get some reps in!