5 Reasons Why You Can Lose Weight But Not Inches

Weight loss is a complicated and tricky thing. You can “fix” everything but not see the changes you expect.

Sometimes people lose weight but not inches (and vice versa), which can leave anyone feeling frustrated and confused.

First, it’s important to recognize that weight loss, when done in a healthy, sustainable way, is quite slow.

A normal, healthy rate of weight loss is half a pound to two pounds a week.

You may have weeks when you’re working hard and eating well, but the scale doesn’t go down. You may even see it fluctuate upwards (especially as you build muscle) and then go back down.

This is the point where many people throw up their hands and give up.

But the thing is, it often takes three to four weeks, or even longer, to see and feel a real difference, so you need patience if you want results.

Also, stay away from fad diets, detoxes and other quick fixes – these are the fastest way to crash, burn and inevitably gain weight.

Let’s take a look at why you’re losing weight but not losing inches.

1. Water weight

If you cut out carbohydrates, which are stored with water in the body, you may notice rapid, but temporary weight loss.

It’s usually water weight and not actual weight loss, which is why as soon as you reintroduce carbs into your diet, your weight goes right back to where it was.

If you see the scale going down but you don’t see any other changes, it’s possible it’s just water weight.

2. Genetics

Registered dietitian nutritionist, Malina Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN, creator of the Holitarian™ Lifestyle, says, “When and where you lose inches during weight loss is individual and heavily influenced by your genes, whether you exercise or not. , and If you are, what kind of exercise do you do?”

Eating the right foods for your genetic profile may be able to help you optimize your results.

Malkani, who offers genetic nutrition testing to her share of clients, says, “Two of my clients have recently had great success using nutrigenomics testing to identify patterns of exercise and protein-to-carbohydrate-to-fat ratios that have helped them maximize results in both weight loss and inch loss. “

Instead of “trial-and-erroring” through the weight loss process, nutrigenomics allows people to uncover their DNA for personalized diet and fitness recommendations.

3. Your diet

If you’re on a crash diet or fad diet, you may lose some weight temporarily (it could be water weight or even visceral fat), but it’s unlikely to affect inches.

You need to be in a consistent, steady caloric deficit for real weight loss to begin to occur.

To do this in a healthy way and in a sustainable way, you need a solid plan that reduces your calories slightly (from 250 to 500 calories per day) but not so much that you feel deprived, hungry or hungry.

This means that your weight loss will be slower, so it will take some time (a few weeks, at first, but possibly longer) to start shedding those inches.

4. Body fat types

Not all body fat is created equal. There are two main types that we carry with us – subcutaneous and visceral.


It is the layer of fat that lies just below the skin, so it is the most visible.

We need a certain amount of subcutaneous fat to stay healthy, produce hormones and insulate our bodies properly.

It’s also what you measure when you measure your body.

Since subcutaneous fat isn’t the only fat you’re losing (there’s also visceral fat and some muscle, as well as water) you won’t see a big change in your measurements right away, even if the number on the scale drops.


This fat may be less visible but it is more harmful than subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is stored deep in the abdomen.

It surrounds your internal organs and can negatively affect their function. It can increase inflammation in the body, as well as increase the risk of heart disease.

The good news is that visceral fat will also decrease as you lose weight.

The bad news is that this is another reason you won’t see immediate changes in the subcutaneous layer.

5. Distribution of fat

Fat distribution is a big part of why you may see weight loss but not inches in the first few weeks of your new routine.

When we start losing fat, it’s not just one area — fat all over the body begins to melt away slowly, so initially, even though you’re losing weight and fat, you may not see or feel much change.

The way our fat is distributed throughout the body is affected by gender, genetics, age, muscle mass, nutrition and more.

For example, men carry more fat around the abdomen, while women carry more in their hips and thighs.

Tips to lose inches the healthy way

  • First, as discussed above, be gentle with yourself and be patient — losing weight isn’t a quick process but that’s okay — building new habits takes time.
  • Make sure you have a plan for your workouts that is reasonable and sustainable.
  • Nourish your body instead of depriving yourself. Sure, deprivation may work for a few weeks (if that), but taking care of yourself and giving your body the nutrients it needs ultimately works in the long run.

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