It’s the first place we all start when we’re aiming to lose weight – we either jump on the scale and note the weight we started at, or grab the faithful tape measure and get some starting measurements. In fact, if you’re smart, you will have done both to ensure accurate result tracking.
We typically expect both of these numbers to drop proportionately. It makes sense – if you weigh less from losing weight, you should be smaller as well, right? And vice-versa.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and when those two metrics don’t add up, it can be very confusing. Let’s take a look at what these measurements really mean, and how to interpret your readings.
Scale vs. Tape Measure
A scale is by far the most common tool used to measure weight loss. Unfortunately, a scale is quite imperfect at measuring actual body fat. Fat does have weight, obviously, but so does muscle mass, stored water weight, and even the food that’s currently digesting in your stomach. You may notice that your scale can give a reading of several pounds variation from one day to the next – yet it’s impossible for your body fat to change that much in a single day.
This inherent flaw in the traditional scale system led to the mainstream adoption of inch measurement by many people. It’s a more accurate unit of measurement, overall. The idea of being able to simply measure a specific problem area (say, your stomach, for example) allows you to directly chart your progress towards your end goal.
Unfortunately, even the trusty tape measure isn’t entirely infallible. A reduction in your stomach measurement might very well mean that you’ve lost weight – or it could mean you’ve lost a bit of muscle mass, or that your intestines simply aren’t quite as full as they were when you first took the measurement.
Fewer Inches, But Same Weight?
So, what does it mean when you’ve lost inches, but your body weight remains the same? There are a few possible answers, but the good news is that it’s most likely not a bad thing!
The most common answer is that your body fat has been reduced, and during that time you’ve gained a bit of muscle mass. This commonly happens when people start working on getting in shape – even if you’ve never touched a weight. Even something as simple as light, regular jogging can initially add quite a bit of muscle mass to the groups worked during your exercise.
The fact-of-the-matter is, neither of these measurements are perfect. They both have their flaws, but the scale is significantly more flawed than going by inches.
A weight measurement should never be the entire basis of your success. If you’ve lost inches, then relax – you’re making progress. Applaud yourself for a job well done, and keep up the good work!
If, however, you’re not completely happy with your results, paw around this website for a while to learn some easy weight hacks that will help send your results through the roof!