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4 Reasons You Lost Weight But Don't Look More Lean

losing muscle instead of fat

If you've been losing weight, but not inches and don't look any leaner, read this post.

There's nothing more frustrating than trying really hard to achieve something, and not getting your hard earned results. With losing body fat and fitness it's pretty easy to pinpoint the issue. Read below the 4 most common reasons you're not getting your desired fitness results.

1. You're Not Looking Everywhere

The best ways to track fat loss progress are through measurements and progress pictures. That said, you may get frustrated when you don't visually see a leaner build after weeks of dieting. The main issue is where you're looking. When you lose body fat, you lose it from all over. Anywhere there is fat on your body, expect for your body to target it and burn it. This means the fat on your hands, feet, neck, and face are up for grabs.

You cannot choose where your body burns fat from first, that is determined by genetics. Typically your stubborn areas will be the areas you lose fat last. So take a look around at the women in your family. Where do they carry their fat? My guess is it's similar to where you carry yours. If you tend to have leaner legs, but carry fat in your stomach and love handles, understand that your legs may get even leaner before your stomach does.

Losing body fat is a marathon, and not a sprint. To help you stay motivated along the way to your goal, I suggest taking fully nude 360 degree progress photos. Do this every few weeks and look back at them. Although you may not have abs, your progress picture may show you've lost fat in your face, hands, back, and hips. If you continue doing what you're doing, your body will eventually get around to burning the fat in your stubborn areas.

2. You Literally Can't See the Fat You Lost

When you lose body fat, you don't just lose fat from underneath your skin where it's easily noticed. There's also body fat in between your muscle fibers. When you lose body fat from in between your muscle fibers you cannot see it, but your muscles will feel more firm and dense. That fat loss will reflect on the scale, and is arguably the most important fat you can lose, but you won't see it.

3. You're Counting Calories and Not the Types of Calories

In order to achieve a lean build, you have to lose fat and preserve your muscle mass. However, it's impossible to lose body fat without losing some muscle. You can however lessen the amount of muscle you lose when dieting, by insuring you're eating enough protein. This is why it is crucial to not count calories, but the types of calories you consume. If you haven't already, please make sure to read my what are macronutrients post as it goes into greater detail.

A general rule to minimize the amount of muscle lost through dieting is to eat at least 1g of protein for every pound you weigh. Also, make sure to eat enough. Eating too little and not providing your body with enough carbs and fat to burn for energy may force it to target your muscle. Use my macronutrient calculator to determine how many calories you should be eating daily, and how much of them should be protein, carbs, and fat.

4. You Lost Water Weight

Tracking fat loss progress by weighing yourself is the least effective method of progress tracking. This is because if you lost one pound, the scale doesn't know exactly what you lost. For example, your bowel movements could be more regular with your fit diet and you're just pooping more. Naturally, losing one pound of poop will not result in more muscle definition, despite what the scale says. Most commonly, a scale will track your ever fluctuating water weight. Any pound or two of water weight lost, your scale will show. So you did technically lose weight, just not the type of weight you needed to lose in order to achieve your fitness goal. Once your water retention regulates, the scale will go back up to reflect closer to your actual weight.

Best Methods for Tracking Progress

As I mentioned earlier, your best methods for tracking fat loss progress are through taking measurements and progress pictures. There are also at home body fat testers that will tell you your body fat percentage. The way to successfully use an at home body fat tester is to test infrequently, stay hydrated and only track how your body fat percentage is trending over time.

So let me know what you thought of this post. Hopefully I was able to answer some questions and help keep you motivated to continue your progress.