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What’s better: a smaller number on the scales or looser jeans?


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When it comes to weight loss, most people measure their progress by stepping onto their bathroom scales – and why wouldn’t they? After all, if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going want that needle to point to a smaller number. It’s why we call it ‘weight loss’… right?

However, what many people don’t realise is that the number on their scales is often not the best indicator of their weight loss progress. Rather, the best indicator can likely be found hanging in your wardrobe – your favourite pair of jeans.

The thing is, scales can only measure total body weight. Our total body weight is made up of the weight of our bones, muscles, organs and fat. Because most scales are not able to read and display the weight of our components individually, the number we see is just the grand total. This means that a person trying to lose fat will be unable to tell how much they’ve actually lost. A smaller number on the scale may mean less fat, but it may also mean less muscle.

What’s more, research has found that the human body tends to have a ‘preferred’ weight that allows it to function at its best. This means that though a person may be doing everything they can to slim down, the number on the scale may still appear the same. This is due to the body constantly readjusting its components to equal its preferred weight.

Your jeans, however, give you a much clearer indication. When you lose fat, it shows on your body – your stomach may look flatter, your waist may look smaller, and your thighs might not rub so much.

That’s where your jeans come in. If you’ve lost fat, your jeans should feel a little looser. They should slip on with more ease than usual, without cutting into your hips or stretching at the thighs. If you’ve lost a lot of fat, they may even be slightly baggy.

However, if you’ve gained weight, your jeans will tell you that, too! You might struggle to pull them on, and they may feel tight and uncomfortable around your thighs and hips. You may even be unable to button them up.

So, next time you want to check your weight loss progress, slip on your jeans instead of hopping on the scale. The difference might just make your day.

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