Why does the girth decrease but the weight does not drop?
Let's be honest - weight loss can be a long and emotionally difficult process. Even if you have the best diet and are determined to stick to it, there is a possibility that your commitment will soon diminish. Especially if you start to feel that your diet is not working.
The media is full of success / transformation stories that make you think that just eating a little less and moving a little more will lose weight on its own. And - you get a misconception about how long it can take to lose weight and how emotionally difficult this process can be.
Every day I meet women who have "tried all possible diets" and are tired of the constant JoJo - diet, eating, diet, eating - to total, loss of self-confidence and despair.
Weight Loss or Fat Loss?
Isn't it the same thing? Isn't losing weight the first time? Well, sorry… not always. You can read more about how to lose weight HERE.
Why do we really want to lose weight? Do we want to reduce health risks? Do we feel better that way? Do we feel better because we weigh less or because we look better? If it were possible to get a slim and agile body while maintaining your current weight - would your weight still seem so important to you? That is, if you had the body you dream of - would it matter to you whether it weighs, for example, 65 or 75 kg?
The truth is that:
- If you lose weight, it does not guarantee that you have lost body fat.
- If your weight has increased or remained the same, it does not mean that your body fat has not decreased.
Sounds a little confusing?
If you want to change the way your body looks, feel better and become healthier, it is important to understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss.
Weight loss is the total weight loss of your body. It consists of the total weight of bones, muscles, tissues, water and fat. Fat loss is just the loss of body fat.
There are two main types of fat in our body:
- Subcutaneous fat - fat between the skin and the body - on the hands, abdomen, thighs, buttocks… Most of our body fat is subcutaneous fat. A small amount of subcutaneous fat is healthy (as an energy reserve, helps regulate body temperature, etc.), but too much subcutaneous fat can cause, for example, hormonal imbalances. Your subcutaneous fat depends on your genetics and your lifestyle - physical activity and eating habits. People with high levels of subcutaneous fat often also have high levels of visceral fat.
- Visceral fat (also called hidden fat) - fat that surrounds the organs inside the body (the liver, heart, intestines… can also accumulate in the arteries). You cannot feel or see them. Your stomach may be "flat", but you still have a lot of visceral fat. According to research about 10% of total body fat is visceral fat. Visceral fats are sometimes referred to as "active fats" because they can actively increase the risk of serious health problems.
When you lose weight, you usually also reduce your body fat, but whether or not you have lost most of your weight is determined by the way (by what method) you have lost weight. As I said - weight loss is not directly related to fat loss - it may just as well reflect a loss of water or muscle mass.
Weight changes do not reflect changes in your body composition!
I will explain in detail. You start to follow a diet and successfully lose 2-3 kilograms of weight in the next week.
Depending on your physical activity and the diet you follow, there is a chance that you have mostly lost water and intestines, a little muscle and a little fat.
- By limiting energy intake (calories), the body will always choose the easiest way to get energy and it is easier to get energy from muscle than from fat. Read more about this process HERE. That is, if you simply limit your calories (especially if you try to exclude only carbohydrates), you have little effect on where your body takes its energy.
- Changing your eating habits (starting to follow a diet) also changes the percentage of water in your body. It is most affected by changes in the amount of carbohydrates and salts (1 g of carbohydrates attracts / retains 3-4 g of water, but 1 g of excess salt - about 100 g of water).
- Increasing physical activity increases both the number and size of muscle cells and "requires" more water. Studies show that Increased physical activity (especially resistance training) can lead to increased intracellular water.
Intracellular water (ICW - intracellular water) increase in weight at the start of strength training indicates a positive change in the composition of your body, but when you get on the scales, you may be disappointed and confused, because the weight may be constant or even increase.
These are mainly:
- You notice someone popular a diet that promises to reduce weight "effortlessly". At first, everything feels very good - the weight is decreasing. But you start to crave more and more and one day you "break down", then start following the diet again, then break down again. "This scenario is typical for everyone."fast diets”Which essentially artificially reduces the amount of water and intestines in your body. Unfortunately, this is also the most common scenario, because most people want to lose weight and do not care if they lose fat, muscle, water…
- You notice someone balanced a diet that provides your body with all the nutrients it needs and is made up of 15-30% calorie deficiency. It is possible to follow this diet for a long time, the craving for sweets and other snacks decreases (especially if the calorie deficit is closer to 15%) and you mostly lose fat - about 0.3 to 1 kg / week.
- You follow a balanced diet, you have a high percentage of fat and You start exercising. After a few weeks, you will notice that the clothes in the waist area become looser, but your weight has not changed significantly or even increased.
If everything is equally clear about the first two scenarios, then 3 seems mystical and even disturbing to many.
So what's really going on? When you start training, an untrained body actively changes its muscle-fat composition in the first months - both fat is burned and muscles are formed at the same time. This process is called body remodeling (Body Recomposition). 1 kg of muscle takes up about 2 times less space than 1 kg of fat. Your weight depends on the increase in muscle mass in relation to the loss of fat - if your girth decreases and you feel better - everything is fine.
There are also possible "mystical" cases where the circumference of the abdomen decreases without a visible decrease in subcutaneous fat in this area. The fact is that the protruding abdomen is mainly made up of visceral or internal fat, which is located in the abdominal cavity around the liver, pancreas, heart, intestines… You do not feel or see them, but as the amount decreases, the circumference of the abdomen decreases.
Remember that your weight reflects the total weight of all the components in your body, but is not directly related to the amount / weight of fat in your body. Changes in girth and well-being are more important when you lose weight.
Slimming should not "jump on the weight" every day or even after every meal, because our body weight, in addition to the amount of calories we eat, is also affected by our physical activity, the amount and type of nutrients we take in, menstruation is very important for women… Weigh once a week, in the morning , on an empty stomach, after visiting the toilet.
Slimming is neither a weekly nor a monthly event. When you start to lose weight, it is possible to lose 3 kg and even more during the first week, because when arranging a diet in addition to “burning” fat, excess water is also removed. But it is NOT POSSIBLE to lose 3 kg or more of fat in a week! But, you can cleanse your gut, drain your water, lose muscle mass and enjoy losing so much. For a short time…
If you really want to lose weight forever - you need to change your eating habits and / or lifestyle. That's the only way! That's what I'm trying to teach my slimming challenge participants.