Why am I NOT Losing Weight, Only Inches?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/28/2024

When you are trying to lose weight on keto, it can be easy to get frustrated when you see that your number on the scale hasn't changed. Sometimes people are confused, because they find that their weight is not dropping while they are losing inches.

Learn about weight loss on keto, what stagnating numbers can mean, and what steps you should take to support your journey best.

The Paradox of Losing Inches But Not Weight on Keto

Have you ever noticed your jeans feeling looser, but the scale stubbornly won't budge? Welcome to the perplexing world of keto, where you can indeed shrink in size without seeing a weight shift.

It's like stuffing a suitcase – it may weigh the same, but rearranging creates more space. This phenomenon is all about body composition changes.

Understanding Body Composition Changes

When you're burning fat and beefing up muscle on keto, your body transforms into a denser version.

As you burn fat, you are putting on muscle, which means your weight stays the same while you burn fat, as confirmed by science.

Insulin Resistance and Its Impact on Metabolism

Insulin resistance can seriously slow weight loss down inside your body.

Intermittent fasting concept

How Keto and Intermittent Fasting Can Help

Keto helps by lowering blood sugar levels, which helps repair cells.

Intermittent fasting has been shown by studies as another way to improve sensitivity, so cells respond better when insulin comes knocking.

The result is more than just losing inches around your waist—it’s about getting healthier overall because, remember, a slow metabolism often goes hand-in-hand with insulin resistance.

The Importance of Protein in Body Recomposition

Have you ever hit the gym hard but felt your scale's stuck on repeat? It might be time to talk about protein's secret gig: body recomposition. When pushing for weight loss, especially on a keto diet, it’s not just about shedding fat—muscle matters too.

Protein's Weight Versus Fat's Volume

Imagine stuffing feathers and lead into two bags of the same size—the one with lead will weigh more. That’s how protein and fat work in your body. Muscle, denser than fat thanks to protein, can make you look leaner even if the scale does not show a change.

So, don’t judge your health by weight alone, inches can also be an excellent indicator of progress

Health First, Weight Loss Second

Sometimes, we get so fixated on the number on the scale that we forget what matters: our health. While shedding pounds is excellent, fixing muscle atrophy and improving protein absorption are crucial steps in getting healthy first.

Muscle weighs more than fat per volume; you could lose those inches without seeing much change when stepping on the scale.

Repairing atrophied muscles and boosting protein uptake can rev up your metabolism like a finely tuned sports car—and who doesn't want that kind of performance from their body?

The Biological Functions of Protein Beyond Muscle Mass

Proteins are critical for hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters—without them, your body's communication lines could die.

Hormones like insulin regulate blood sugar by telling cells to take up glucose—a vital message, especially for those with diabetes or metabolic issues.

Enzymes then come into play, speeding up chemical reactions necessary for life.

And let’s not forget about neurotransmitters—they're the messengers sending signals across nerve synapses. Without adequate protein synthesis facilitated by these compounds, you might miss out on crucial brain functions, from memory to mood regulation.

Practical Tips for Managing Expectations on Keto

Embarking on a ketogenic lifestyle requires not just dietary changes but also a realistic understanding of what to expect. In this guide, we'll explore practical tips to help you manage expectations on keto, fostering a balanced and informed approach to this transformative way of eating.

Tracking Progress Beyond the Scale

Say goodbye to daily weigh-ins and hello to your trusty tape measure. Your scale might be stuck, but that doesn't mean you're not shrinking. Measure your success with how clothes fit or by taking monthly body measurements.

Fitness level improvements are also telling signs of progress. Perhaps you can now sprint without feeling winded or swim for longer periods of time, that's real progress.

Patience and Consistency Are Key

Keto isn't magic, although sometimes it feels close when that brain fog lifts. But remember, significant changes take time—like brewing an exceptional craft beer or aging a fine cheese.

Your body is doing complex work behind the scenes. So stay consistent because every little change adds up.

Understanding Muscle Loss in Insulin Resistance

For those with insulin resistance, including diabetics and pre-diabetics, there is often an accompanying decrease in muscle mass due to inadequate protein intake cells blocking the absorption of amino acids.

This can be because muscles don't get enough protein since that jammed cell door also blocks its absorption, effectively sidelining amino acids—muscle-building blocks.

Keto diets and intermittent fasting can potentially improve how well those cellular locks respond to insulin.

Woman making turmeric tea

Sculpting Success on Keto: Navigating the Enigma of Losing Inches But Not Weight, Unveiling the Potential of Turmeric for Body Transformation

If you use turmeric for weight loss, it may influence the process of losing inches but not weight on the ketogenic diet through several potential mechanisms:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Curcumin is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can contribute to water retention and bloating, influencing measurements without significantly impacting overall weight.

  • Water Weight Regulation: The ketogenic diet often leads to a loss of water weight due to reduced carbohydrate intake. Turmeric's anti-inflammatory effects may contribute to balancing water retention, potentially influencing measurements without directly impacting fat mass.

  • Metabolism Support: Turmeric has been studied for its potential to boost metabolism. While it may not directly lead to weight loss, an enhanced metabolic rate could contribute to increased calorie burning and, over time, influence body composition.

  • Improved Digestion: Turmeric may support digestive health, reduce bloating, and promote regular bowel movements. These factors can influence waist circumference and measurements without necessarily causing a significant change in overall weight.

  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Turmeric has been investigated for its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar levels can influence insulin sensitivity and potentially contribute to changes in body composition.

While turmeric may play a role in these processes, it's crucial to note that individual responses can vary. Additionally, the primary driver of weight loss on the ketogenic diet is typically a reduction in carbohydrate intake, leading to a state of ketosis.

Combining turmeric with a ketogenic lifestyle may offer additional health benefits but should complement overall dietary and lifestyle considerations. Always consult a healthcare professional before significantly changing your diet or supplement regimen.


Weight loss on a ketogenic diet can sometimes result in losing inches without a corresponding change on the scale. This discrepancy is due to body composition changes, including fat loss and muscle gain.

Understanding factors like insulin resistance and the importance of focusing on overall health rather than just weight numbers is crucial.

Patience, consistency, and managing expectations beyond the scale are key elements of success. Tracking progress through measurements, fitness improvements, and overall well-being can provide a more accurate picture of your transformation.

While turmeric may offer potential benefits for body transformation, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or supplement regimen.

Ultimately, success goes beyond numbers—it's about feeling stronger, healthier, and more confident in your journey towards overall well-being.

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