Myth: Weight is all that matters

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Weight loss should be more than just pounds.  

Waistline

Waistline

Weight loss as a term is itself the problem with getting healthy.  Instead of calling it losing weight, we need to focus on getting healthy overall and belly fat loss.  When it comes to weight loss, a lot of folks focus on that number on the scale, and that number seems to hold a lot of power over us.  The problem is that weight is not the number you should be basing success.  Sure, it is an easy number to measure, and it may be the quickest to move when dieting, but it is not a good measure of what you really want.  Belly fat loss is a better measure of healthy weight loss.  If it’s not budging, frustration might set in. But sometimes the number on the scale isn’t the best way to measure progress. If you’re losing inches, but not weight, with your diet and exercise program, you’re losing fat and gaining muscle, which is a good thing. If you’re concerned with your progress on your weight-loss program, consult your doctor for guidance and suggestions.

Another problem with only looking at the scale is after a while we often plateau.  Many times after starting a workout routine people gain weight because muscle weighs more than fat.  So when you replace fat with muscle, you may be getting in shape, but the scale won’t tell you that.  When I hit the mid-point of a diet, I often bulge with more than fat.  I often have a lost a significant amount of pounds, but unfortunately, I hit a plateau and get frustrated that I appear to be no longer losing weight.  Sometimes the number on the scale

Waist Circumference Measurement

Waist Circumference Measurement

isn’t the best way to measure progress.  Waist circumference might be a better way to measure success[1].  Hence, if you’re losing inches, but not weight, with your diet and exercise program, you are losing belly fat and gaining muscle.  Belly fat is the unhealthy weight that is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.  If you’re concerned with your weight loss progress on your program, consult your medical provider for guidance and suggestions.

When it comes to weight loss, that number on the scale seems to hold a lot of power.  If it’s not budging, frustration might set in.  But sometimes the number on the scale isn’t the best way to measure progress.  If you’re losing inches, but not weight, with your diet and exercise program, you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.  If you’re concerned with your progress on your weight-loss program, consult your doctor for guidance and suggestions.

The bottom line: Your waist circumference or pants size is a better long term measure of fat loss success than your scale.  That being said, the scale still has a place in measure day to day success.  

Footnotes
[1]Hu, “Measurements of Adiposity and Body Composition.”
Hu, Frank B. “Measurements of Adiposity and Body Composition.” In Obesity Epidemiology, 53–83. Oxford University Press, 2008. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195312911.003.0005
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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