Blog Weight Loss How Many Pounds To Lose An Inch: Measure Your Weight Loss By Your Waistline

How Many Pounds To Lose An Inch: Measure Your Weight Loss By Your Waistline

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Measuring your weight loss success might seem like an easy task – just stand on the scales, and you’ll see everything necessary. In reality, scales do not tell you the final truth. Even more so, scales might be profoundly misleading. One of the sustainable practices to measure fat loss is tracking the loss of inches in your waistline. How many pounds does it take to lose an inch off your waist? Read this article to find out the speed of progress you can reasonably expect.


How Many Pounds To Lose An Inch: Fat Loss Vs. Weight Loss

Measuring your waist circumference can be considered a reliable way to track your weight loss progress because, unlike your scales, it takes into account the distinction between weight loss and fat loss. 

Weight loss is a decrease in your overall body weight. This weight includes muscle, fat, and water in the body. That’s what your scales show you when you hop on them in the morning: you’ve simply lost some pounds. Fat loss, by contrast, designates a reduction in body fat.

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Waist circumference is a better indicator of fat loss than scales because muscles weigh the same as fat, but their size is different. This makes a ton of difference especially when you work out regularly and stick to a healthy diet at the same time. 

When you train, you replace fat with muscles (3). Your scales oftentimes won’t display this, but by measuring waist circumference, you’ll see a telling difference. One pound of fat equals one pound of muscle, and the scales won’t move. But your waist circumference changes, because muscles are smoother and more compact, taking less space in your body.

losing inches not weight

What Is A Healthy Waist Circumference?

Healthy waist circumference should be less than 40 inches around for men, and less than 35 inches around for women (4). If it’s larger, consult your doctor to make the next steps. 

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To measure your waist circumference, you only need a tape measure. 

  • Start at the top of your hip bone, and bring the tape measure all the way around your body, level with your belly button.
  • Ensure it’s not too tight and that it’s straight, even at the back. Avoid holding your breath while measuring.
  • Check the number on the tape measure precisely after you exhale.

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losing inches not weight

How Quickly Can You Lose Weight?

A healthy weight loss pace is about 1-2 pounds per week (5). More rapid weight loss is likely to harm your body, and won’t bring sustainable results. 

How many pounds to lose an inch? In general, it takes about 8 pounds to lose your first inch. That is because most of it will be water weight. 

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A more rapid drop of your pounds in the first weeks of your journey is normal, precisely because of water weight. When you get into the calorie deficit, your body gets the energy it requires initially by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver (2). 

Glycogen is stored with  water, so when you burn that glycogen to get energy, it releases water, causing fast water weight loss. Your weight loss will become slower when you get rid of that water weight. Consequently, your waist size reduction will also slow down.

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how many pounds to lose an inch

How To Lose An Inch Of Belly Fat In Four Weeks?

As you’ve seen, the maximum healthy weight loss pace is up to 2 pounds per week, while your first inch needs about 8 pounds loss. So, it is possible to lose an inch in four weeks. 

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To do that, you need to maintain a specific calorie deficit. To lose one pound per week, you need to reach a total calorie deficit of about 3500 calories per week, which means 500 calories per day. To lose two pounds per week, double that number to get a 1000-calorie per day deficit and 7000 calories per week (1). 

This level of calorie deficit might be difficult to achieve without reducing your calorie intake to an unsafe level, so it’s recommended to also include calorie-burning exercises into your daily activities. You can create a deficit by burning more calories and/or by reducing your calorie intake. By doing both at the same time you don’t need to do either to the extreme.

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Final Thought

How many pounds to lose an inch? The first inch will take about 8 pounds, the next ones will be slower to achieve. To get the most out of your weight loss project, follow a balanced diet, and check these best exercises to reduce belly fat.

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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 10 Ways to Lose 2 Pounds a Week (2020,
  2. Getting past a weight-loss plateau (2020,
  3. How Many Pounds Do I Have to Lose to Drop an Inch? (n.d.,
  4. How to Measure Your Waist (n.d.,
  5. Losing weight (n.d.,
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