Weight Loss: Expert Decodes Why You Are Losing Inches And Not Weight

Weight loss: From hormonal fluctuations to reaching a weight loss plateau, Nutritionist Monisha Ashokan shares the possible reasons why you may be losing inches and not weight.

Weight Loss: Expert Decodes Why You Are Losing Inches And Not Weight

You may lose inches and not weight, because of water retention


  • Muscle gain could be the reason why you lost inches but not weight
  • It can also happen because of hormonal fluctuation in women
  • If you have reached a weight loss plateau, you may still lose inches

Have you been eating healthy and working out regularly, but still struggling to lose a kilo? You are concerned about why your friend or relative has lost 7-8 kg a month and why the weight loss process is so slow for you? So here is a simple way to clarify your doubts. It is important to note that no two people will have same weight loss journey. Keep reading to know the reasons behind this.

Here are a few factors that can affect your weight loss goals

1. Family history: If your family history has obesity and your parents are overweight then there are chances that you would be overweight and your weight loss progress can be slower than usual.

2. Age: Younger people tend to lose weight way faster than older people. As your age reaches to 35-40, you tend to lose weight slowly

3. Gender: Weight loss progress in males is way faster than females because of different body metabolism.

4. Sleep: If you have continuous sleep, deep sleep or you are deprived of sleep... all of it can affect your weight loss goals.

5. Stress: If you are taking too much stress then also your weight loss will be slow. Don't compare your progress with others.


Stress can slow down the pace at which you lose weight
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: 5 Diet Mistakes You Should Avoid When Trying To Lose Weight

The digits on weighing scale may stay the same, but you are losing fat in the form of inches. While the other person is losing weight and other one is losing inches, you are making a permanent change in your body by losing fat in form of inches.

The basic difference between weight loss and inch loss:

  • Weight loss: It is a decrease in body weight through diet and exercise.
  • Inch loss: Losing fat from typical areas of your body such as waist, hips and thighs.

Inch loss is important if high waist circumference (belly fat) is more than 90 cm in males and 80 cm in females. It can affect your heart and other main organs with risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss scale misleads you, it only tells the weight but not the fat loss and muscle gained. The number on the scale includes muscles, bones, organs food and water. It isn't a positive motivator.

Also read: Work A Little Extra On Your Abs With This Challenging No-Equipment Workout

Here are some reasons why you are just losing inches:

1. Gain in muscles

The muscles grow beneath the extra layer of fat and as we lose fat in the form of inches, there will be more of muscle definition.

2. Hormones

This factor mostly affects women, during or before menstruation. Hormone levels become imbalanced during this period and we feel bloated because our body retains more water and salt during this time. This makes us feel that we have gained some weight, but we don't have to worry about this because hormonal retention will go away as soon as your periods are over.

3. Water retention

This reason is common whether you are a man or a woman. There are many reasons of water retention such as physical inactivity, consumption of foods high in sodium and carbohydrates, medications such as NSAIDs and oral contraceptives. This retention is easy to fix by reducing foods high in sodium and by drinking lots of water.

Also read: Does Eating Late At Night Cause Weight Gain?

4. Weight loss plateau

This is the point where your weight gets stuck as you don't lose weight even after following the same diet and your metabolism slows down. At this point you will lose inches as your muscle mass increases even if you weigh the same.

Change your way of thinking. Scale is not always an indicator of progress. If you are not losing weight it doesn't mean you are not making any progress. Weight is not only the parameter, losing body fat in the form of inches is a sign that you are moving in a right direction.

(Monisha Ashokan is a nutritionist at NourishMe)

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