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Could your Scale be the Reason you’re NOT making Progress?

Did you know that you could lose body weight and have your body fat percentage increase?

First, let’s define what body fat (BF) percentage is. Body fat percentage is the percentage of the body’s total weight that is fat.

The remaining weight can be broadly categorized as non-fat aka FFM (Fat Free Mass).

Let’s go through an example to demonstrate how this could theoretically be the case.

  • Bob weighs 100kgs. He has 20 kgs of fat & 80 kgs of FFM. This means Bob is at 20% BF.
  • Then Bob goes on a restrictive diet and loses 10 kgs, dropping from 100 kgs to 90 kgs.
  • Unfortunately, all of the 10kgs came from his FFM cos Bob didn’t pay attention to his protein intake or workouts during his diet. 
  • So now Bob weighs 90kgs but still has 20kgs of body fat.
  • This means Bob is now at 22% BF!

This is an oversimplification but it shows how it is possible to lose weight but still land up with an increase in BF%. This rarely happens in real life. Most of the time when you lose weight, some of it comes from fat and some from FFM.

General Pointers: 

  • Stop focussing only on scale weight
  • Look at the trends in body fat percentage
  • Include adequate protein in your diet  
  • Resistance train

This way, you can ensure that majority of your weight loss comes from your fat stores.

Most people want to lose ‘X’ kgs of weight and don’t really pay attention to what exactly is contributing to that weight loss. This is the most myopic way to look at one’s progress. Reason being, your body could weigh almost 1-2 kgs more even during a span of 24 hours… So, making something as fickle as scale weight your barometer of progress is downright foolish!

You could actually be losing inches, losing fat & gaining muscle and the scale would not show any weight loss, hell it may even show a slight increase!

How does that matter? 🤷‍♂️

That being said, looking at the scale weight is not completely useless… all data is good to get a better understanding of one’s body.

But don’t forget to look at overall changes like:

👉 The way your clothes fit
👉 The way you look in the mirror
👉 What others notice about you
👉 Your energy levels
👉 Your strength
👉 Your sleep quality
👉 Your speed

There are many ways (some numerical and the others based on your internal cues) that define your progress.

Using a weighing scale intelligently is critical, as many people tend to give up on their fitness goals altogether when the numbers don’t match their prediction. But the scale is just one tool in your fitness toolbox. Not the only tool! 

It is possible to make extremely impressive progress to your physique, even if the scale doesn’t move at all.