Losing weight or inches off your waistline are common goals for a fitness plan. As it can be a slow and long process, it’s easy to obsess over the numbers on the scale or measuring tape, and find yourself getting impatient when you don’t achieve results.
One way to lose weight fast is to follow a calorie-restricted diet, but this method could cause the body to burn lean muscle for energy. In the long term, the loss of muscles could lower your metabolism and make you more likely to gain and retain fat.
It’s easy to obsess over your weight when you are tracking your progress, but your weight is not all that you should be looking out for when on a diet.
Losing weight could mean different things for you, depending on your weight. For overweight or obese people, losing weight could lead to significant health benefits in the long run. However, those who are of healthy weight or are underweight should not attempt to lose too much, as it could pose health risks.
Instead of tracking your weight, you might be better off focusing on losing those extra inches. Just focusing on weight alone could make you lose sight of other indicators of a healthy body, such as body fat percentage and muscle mass.
For example, a 60kg woman with 20% body fat would weigh the same as a 60kg woman with 14% body fat, although they would look different, as the one with less body fat would have smaller body measurements and look fitter.
More often than not, we usually lose inches before seeing any significant difference on the weighing scale, but this is no cause for worry at all. Muscles are denser than fat, so they are heavier. During exercise, you’re burning calories and losing fat, but you’re also building muscles. As such, you might notice little change in your weight, despite looking significantly fitter in the mirror.
Men with waistlines larger than 40 inches and women with waistlines larger than 35 inches tend to face a higher risk of obesity-related diseases. A higher body fat percentage also means more health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Hence it’s more important to look at your body composition and size when tracking your progress, instead of just your weight. Weight loss will naturally follow in time if you keep up with your efforts.
It is tempting to opt for ‘shortcuts’ or quick ways to lose weight, such as fad or starvation diets, but these are not long term solutions, as they could cause you to lose lean muscles and lower metabolism. Ideally, aim for a slower weight loss process, which would prove to be longer-lasting and easier to maintain. Ultimately, regular exercise and a healthy diet is the ultimate way for you to achieve your fitness goals.