Just because you're skinny doesn't mean you're not skinny fat

Why Losing Weight Kills Your Drive

I had been training Becky for about a month when she came up to me with a look of frustration as she asked why she hasn’t lost any weight. She had been following my dieting suggestions as well as my workout program for the past 30 days after all.

She looked like she wanted to throw a dumbbell at me, and she told me she felt like all the work she had put in over the past month was wasted. She confessed to weighing herself practically every day without much change to show for it.

scale is deceiving

I then asked her if she was ready to test her body fat percentage again. We hadn’t tested her body fat since we first got started over a month ago so it was time to show her the truth.

Turns out she had dropped 3% of her body fat in the past month which is great considering she hadn’t picked up a barbell in her entire lifetime. She then said, “only 3%?”

I then explained to her not to focus on “losing weight” but rather focus on transforming her body. When I broke down the math for her she had lost over 5 pounds of pure fat while simultaneously building almost 5 pounds of pure muscle.

She then had a look on her face like a HUGE weight was lifted off her shoulders (no we hadn’t started working out yet) when I told her this. She then admitted that her clothes were fitting better than they had in years, and she found she had more energy throughout the day.

Focusing solely on losing weight can very easily kill whatever motivation you may have because even though you’re getting results the scale isn’t always going to prove it. Now if you were just following a diet, doing cardio and overly obese then the weight should be melting off of you. I’d also take a look at my earlier blog post with the 5 reasons why you can’t lose weight if you’re having trouble.

Track body fat, not just weight.

But if you’re using weights in your workouts you can expect to build muscle especially if you’ve never really lifted before. We WANT this because it’s going to help to tone and shape your body.

If all you do is focus on losing weight you’ll end up with a thin but mushy body. An attractive and healthy body is not only thin but also toned. Having mashed potatoes in your butt doesn’t look quite as good as a well-cooked chicken breast. Yum.

So if you’re eating clean and training hard you can expect to get results. Skip the daily scale check-in’s and instead check your body fat percentage every 4-6 weeks. I use my app Chubbly to measure, calculate and track my body fat as well as my clients.

I’ll admit as a society we focus too much attention to merely losing weight when transforming your body involves a lot more factors than that. Most people simply don’t know you have to build muscle to replace that fat you lost. This muscle naturally weighs something, and it’s going to cause the scale to inaccurately define your current leanness.

Just because you're skinny doesn't mean you're not skinny fat

I’m happy to say Becky is back on her diet and training after a momentary lapse in motivation. She’s planning on attending a wedding next month, and she had a huge smile on her face when she told me she had dropped 3 dress sizes since we began training together.

Luckily, the sneaky little devil that the weight scale is didn’t trick Becky into quitting. It’s easy to want to say “screw it” when you think you’re not getting any results, but you may very well could be and not even know it.

There’s going to be sticking points along the way you’re going to have to overcome. The key is sticking with it through the rough patches while adapting and pushing through your plateaus. It’s not easy for anybody, but for those who want it bad enough it’s more than possible.

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About Josh

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Hey, I’m Josh.

I help good people transform their bodies with smart nutrition & training.

Let’s do this.