You look anxiously at the scale waiting for the verdict...and the number is the same as last time! Why can't you lose weight?
Don't despair. You problem probably isn't your diet, it's your scale. Not that there is anything wrong with your scale. It's just not telling you the entire story.
Most scales tell you how much weight you lost. Some of the fancy ones will tell you more, including something that you need to know before you give up on successful weight loss. But even if you don't have a super-smart scale you can figure out if you are really losing weight despite what the scale is telling you.
When you commit to healthy weight loss and choose a balanced diet your body will start to change. For most of us, weight gain comes with age and the reason for that is a loss of lean muscle mass.
Lean muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. In other words, if you have more lean muscle mass you will have a higher metabolism and find it easier to maintain your weight. When you begin to eat healthy, balanced meals and exercise you will naturally add some lean muscle.
Muscle, by volume, weighs about twice as much as fat. If you add a pound of muscle to your body it is going to have a different effect on your silhouette than adding a pound of fat.
The solution is simple. Don't only weigh yourself to check your successful weight loss, measure yourself too.
Make a simple chart to track your progress. Note your weight and also key measurements:
Your chest across your nipples Both arms half way between the arm pit and the elbow Your stomach at your belly button Your waist Your hips Your thighs right where your fingers reach when you stand straight with your arms at your side
Weigh and measure once a week and you will get a complete picture of what your progress really is versus just weighing yourself.
As a rule of thumb, figure about a pound of fat for each inch you lose. Let's look at a hypothetical weigh in:
You jump on the scale and you weigh 200 pounds, same as last week. You launch into the same disappointing why can't I lose weight pity party you keep having. But this time you measured last week and again this week.
You do the math and find out that you have lost a total of four inches between all the measurements.
Do the Happy Dance because you have lost four pounds of fat! Since the scale is telling you that you haven't lost any weight, that means you have also added four pounds of lean muscle to your body.
This is great news! Probably even better than if the scale showed a weight loss.
You have lost fat, which means you look better and have gotten closer to a healthy BMI, or Body Mass Index.
And you have added lean muscle mass. You look trimmer and now your body's furnace, your metabolism, is running a little higher. You now burn more calories at rest than you did before. That means that your body is doing some of the work toward your successful weight loss.
When I got serious about my weight loss I excitedly shared my results. I shed 35 pounds in six weeks. That's a number that everyone can understand and relate too. But there was more to my story. The scale said 35 pounds, but I actually lost 42 pounds.
I had lost a total of 14 inches, including dropping two pant sizes. Do the math between 35 and 42 and you realize I added 7 pounds of lean muscle. That lean muscle has helped to keep my metabolism revved up and has helped me maintain my weight for years.
Don't lament that you can't lose weight until you have added measuring yourself and you may find you are enjoying successful weight loss after all.