You’re working out. Your’re eating well. You’re counting calories.
But….the number on the scales just isn’t going down.
This is a really common frustration that many of us run into while trying to lose weight. I experienced this myself early on in my weight loss journey, and for a while was left wondering what on earth I was doing wrong.
While there are a lot of different things that could be the case, one of the most common reasons is that you actually ARE losing fat and getting smaller, but putting on muscle so you’re not weighing less.
This picture demonstrates it perfectly
Technically you can’t say that muscle weighs more than fat – a pound is a pound. But as you can see from the picture, one pound of muscle takes up a lot less space than one pound of fat does. So the correct way to answer the question “Does muscle weigh more than fat?” is that a volume of muscle weighs more than an equivalent volume of fat.
As an example, we could compare two people. They both weigh 175 pounds/80 kilograms and are a similar height. The difference is one has a lot of muscle and very little fat, and the other has very little muscle tone but a lot of fat. While they weigh the same and are the same height, they’d look very different and the person with more fat would look larger.
Don’t just rely on the scales
A typical set of scales will tell you one number – your total body weight. What they don’t show is how much fat you’ve lost or how much muscle you’ve gained.
If you’re not weighing less on the scales, it doesn’t mean that you’re not actually losing fat and improving your body. The fat may be dropping off, but all that exercise is working by getting you toned with muscle as well.
I do think we rely way too much on the number on the scales to tell if we’re making progress or not. You can’t use the scales solely to measure your results, particularly if you’re at a stage where you don’t have a lot of fat left to lose.
There are plenty of other things that you can (and should) do to track your progress though.
1. Take measurements weekly. While I was trying to slim down, I would take my thigh and hip measurements every week. These were the places I carried most fat and wanted to lose it from, so that’s what I tracked.
2. How do your clothes feel? You can’t argue with your clothes starting to feel looser!
3. Take progress photos. I also did this each week when I took my measurements. Make sure you wear the same underwear/bikini each time, pay attention to standing with the same posture and in the same light each time so that there’s as little outside influence on the difference you see in the photos as possible.
If you’ve hit the point where the scales aren’t showing you results, remember they’re not showing you the whole picture! Look at the other ways to track your progress and you may be pleasantly surprised.