A lot of clients complain about the number on the scale staying the same while they are working hard and progressing their fitness and nutrition journey. They say they feel better, they can see a difference in their bodies, and their clothes are looser, but the number on their scale hasn’t budged or has even gone up. Here’s a few reasons why this could be happening:
- Muscle is denser than fat: While a pound of fat and a pound of muscle is going to weigh the same on a scale in a side-by-side comparison, muscle is denser than fat is. When you’re working out and working on weight training, you are working to replace the non-essential fat in your body with muscle. Since this muscle tissue is denser, it takes up less space in your body than fat does. This process of body recomposition can be a result of strength training, high protein diets, and often favors muscle gain and fat loss. This could explain why you are seeing a difference in your body while not seeing a difference on the scale. Most scales can’t differentiate between the amount of body fat and muscle that you have.
- Water Retention: Weight fluctuation or plateaus can be caused by water retention. This can be caused by a variety of factors like stress, sodium, menstruation, and medications.
- Stress: stress can cause an increase in cortisol and other hormones that can increase the amount of water being retained in your body.
- Sodium: Having a diet that is high in sodium can cause your kidneys to retain water due to the change in fluid balance.
- Medications: Some medications may have side effects that cause an increase in fluid retention. If you suspect this is the case, consider having a conversation with your doctor about ways to reduce these side effects.
- When you are weighing yourself: For some people, weighing yourself regularly is a great way to stay motivated and consistent with your weight loss journey. Even with daily fluctuations caused by water retention, bloating, and other factors, daily weighing can be more effective than weekly or monthly weighing. It is also important to weigh yourself at a similar time of day whenever you do so. Because of day-to-day fluctuations, weighing yourself at the same time everyday can decrease the seemingly “large” changes in what the scale says.
- (For the ladies) Menstruation: Water retention and bloating are common symptoms that women can see during their menstrual cycle.
There may be several reasons why you could be losing inches and not pounds. You could be changing your body composition to be more muscular. You could be retaining water. Overall, it is important to not let the scale define your health and while these numbers may be discouraging, weight loss is a journey and fluctuations in weight is normal!
The UFit Team