Finding ways to assess your weight loss results is an important part of the dieting process. You might be doing everything according to plan, but not seeing the desired results. It is also possible that you're gaining muscle and losing fat, but not seeing a difference on the scale. Here are a few ways to evaluate your weight loss results.
Examining Your Weight Loss Goals
The first step in assessing your weight loss results is examining your goals. Although it will vary depending on your body weight and the intensity of your weight loss regimen, losing one to two pounds of weight per week is generally considered an achievable goal. This can usually be accomplished through cutting back on calories and increasing your activity level. More extreme goals such as losing five to ten pounds a week are more difficult to accomplish, and often involve weight loss regimens that are potentially unhealthy and difficult to maintain long-term.
Muscular Development and Fat Loss
If your exercise regimen includes muscle building, this can translate into a larger number of pounds on the scale. This is the case even if you're simultaneously losing fat. Your body is becoming leaner and more muscular, so you actually look smaller, but the scale tells a different story. It's best not to assess your weight loss results based on the number of pounds lost in this case. Inches lost, changes in how well your clothes fit and how your body looks to you in the mirror are better indications here.
Water Retention and Water Loss
Your body's storage and elimination of water is another factor to consider when using the scale to gauge your weight loss results. When you go on a restrictive diet, it's possible to lose a large number of pounds at the outset. This is often a result of your body resorting to stored carbs and muscle breakdown for energy. The outcome is usually a greater amount of water loss during this process. This is one of the reasons that you might see a large degree of weight loss on an extremely low-calorie diet when you first begin. As soon as you resume normal eating patterns, your body replenishes its regular storage of water.
Conversely, if you are consuming foods higher in sodium while dieting, you might see an increase in water weight. This is because sodium leads to water retention. The scale, in this case, will indicate that you are heavier, but in reality you have not gained fat; you're just retaining more water.
A Moderate Weight Loss Regimen
If you are on a sensible, low-calorie diet consisting of regular meals from all major food groups and you are exercising daily, you will very likely see a loss of one to two pounds each week. If you are lifting weights, account for that when you weigh yourself. Use a measuring tape to see if you have lost inches from your waist, thighs, arms and buttocks. With a consistent dieting approach, you will see weight loss results that reward you for your diligence and persistence.