inches lost

Can You Lose Inches Without Losing Weight? (Personal Experience)

Fitness & Lifestyle

Why am I Losing Inches but Not Weight?

Stepping on the scale can offer you one of the most stressful moments – “What if I’m not slimming down?”, “What if I can’t drop weight?”. It’s the moment when you get the sentence – have you made it, or not? For most people, this is the most terrifying moment of their fitness journey.

Just a few weeks ago, I received a long email from a reader Beth. She has been consistently following a diet that she believes is healthy. She’s likewise doing some light exercises routinely. She has lost 3 inches on her waist. But on her scale, it says she has lost 0.5 pounds – after 3 weeks of effort. You might think what is wrong here? How can you lose inches without losing weight?

Beth couldn’t think it, so she went to her mama’s house and weighed herself there. Regardless of the small variation, the decision was close – very little weight loss was going on. She had no clue what is going on.

Still, she didn’t quit. And she went to a store that night and purchased a new digital scale, and stood on it right after she set up batteries. Still the very same result.

Out of aggravation, she wrote to me that night:

“I do not know what happened and went wrong. It’s so discouraging not seeing results on the scale since it feels as if whatever I’ve done is in vain. Can you tell me what I should do?”

Quite frustrating. And what exactly is happening?

Can You Lose Inches Without Losing Weight?

Yes, you definitely can!

First of all, Beth’s circumstance is not unusual. I know individuals who have actually lost more inches than her but dropped nearly 0 pounds on the scale. Losing inches not weight is not uncommon. Moreover, I know a person who managed to lose 10 inches off their waist and lost only 3 pounds!

But despite how sad it is, it’s in truth a great thing to celebrate!

And I’m not saying it because of this “cheering the last winner” belief. Maturing in an Asian home with a tiger mom, I’ve never been the last winner once without getting my ass whipped. My parents got a “reward” for that named “Leather Belt & Meat Stir-Fry”– LOL not for the “50 Shades” kinda thing but some severe parenting/disciplining sessions. Being regularly treated with that, I did not grow up with a nerve for “cheering the last winner.”

Rather, I asked Beth to celebrate because she’s in a far much better position than many who have actually seen a significant pound drop. I know a person who lost 10 pounds but still wonders how to lose 2 inches off their waist.

The reality is: if you’ve dropped 3 inches but lost only 0.5 pounds, it means that your body is responding effectively to the effort you’ve made, and what you have actually dropped is mostly fat. This is because weight loss is far more visible compared to muscle and water loss. Loose inches off waist fast is a difficult and time-consuming process. If you managed to do so – awesome job!

2kg of fat vs 2 kg of muscle

Fat VS Muscle

Fat is 3 times bigger than muscle when the weight is the same. And you can envision it as muscle being one fist size, and fat being 3 fists size. Sounds crazy, right?

On the other side, fat weight is just 1/3 of muscle weight at the same volume. That’s why if you lose 1 pound of fat, it’s a lot more noticeable than losing 1 pound of muscle.

That’s why losing fat is going to offer you the most visible outcome on your look however your scale number doesn’t look as considerable as losing muscle and fluid. In such a situation your weight on the scale doesn’t even matter.

Let’s say if you are a 160-pound lady and have actually lost 5 pounds of muscle, it may not even be noticeable. On the contrary, if you lose 10 inches off your waist you would look like a different person!

Therefore, if your objective is to lose fat like 99.9% of people who need to drop weight, inches are a way better reflection of your outcome. However, if both pounds and inches drop – congratulations! You’re doing great!

And in fact, if you have actually been losing a great number of pounds but not a similar amount of inches, you may need to rethink your method. In this situation, you have to change the way you exercise and eat.

woman makes a plan

Losing weight (fat or muscle) lowers my BMI, and a lower BMI means I’m healthier anyway. So why do I have to care about all of this?

Lower BMI does not imply you are healthier, it could imply you are sicker in certain situations. And the difference between weight loss and muscle loss (besides visibility) lies deeply in how they make your body function.

Fat stores energy kills your metabolism, and causes more fat; muscle burns energy increases your metabolic process and burns fat.

Fat leads to inflammation which causes weight gain in return and is at the core of many diseases and symptoms in today’s world consisting of diabetics, heart diseases, sepsis, arthritis, weight problems, cancer, etc.

Fat – through inflammation – causes negative thinking, stress, and anxiety, and even impaired memory and lower daily efficiency.

Fat – when triggers your hormones – makes you feel hungry after.

Fat makes you look flabby and weak.

But muscle makes you look sharp and strong

A 150-pound lady with 35% body fat is different from a 150-pound woman with 18% body fat on every level – from how they look, how they perform, how they feel, how they think, to how they live.

So if you lose inches off your waist fast and progressively but very few pounds, stay up to date with the great work! You are doing way much better than a lot of individuals who are losing pounds, and you must truly be happy.

On the other hand, here’s a suggestion: do not constantly trust the scale. It doesn’t truly tell you anything about the characteristics of your body, which fat loss depends on. I would highly recommend you get a smart scale that can show you more than just your weight. These scales are affordable and keep track of your body fat, muscles, water, bones, etc. It will give you much better insight into your health and fitness rather than a simple one.

inches lost in waist

If You Wonder How Can You Lose Inches Without Losing Weight:

  • The scale shows your total weight. It cannot separate between your fat weight and muscle weight. Your total weight includes the weight of your organs, water, and muscles alongside the fat mass. So regardless of whether it shows a drop in your weight, how would you realize whether it is a fat loss or muscle loss?
  • Scale can be wrong and show errors (it can show slightly different numbers based on how you place your feet on the scale).
  • On the off chance that you are gaining muscles and losing fat, the scales do not have any sensors to gather that information. Again, it will just show how much your body weight in total.
  • Your body weight changes and is different throughout the day because of what you eat, drink, and excrete.


Looking at a scale discourages more than encourages. And you may feel frustrated and give up the great thing you are doing. Focus on inches and track your progress by looking at a mirror!

1 thought on “Can You Lose Inches Without Losing Weight? (Personal Experience)

  1. Thank you for a great article! It answered the question I had. Losing inches without losing weight is weird but now I understand how it works and that it’s possible.

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