Weight loss and fat loss are two completely different objectives. One of the biggest misconceptions people have when embarking upon their health and fitness journey is this intense desire to lose weight, yet, time and time again with the inclusion of a healthy diet regime and regular exercise the scales just wont budge and in some instances the numbers even increase!
But why? Here’s the “AHA” moment…. The scales provide us only with overall weight loss or gain, BUT it’s actually fat loss that you should target. It is important to understand that weight loss and fat loss are two completely different things, resulting in different outcomes and appearances.
Your total body weight is made up of a number of contributing factors. Total body weight is an accumulative figure based on your body fat, muscles mass, bone mass, fluid retention, hair, teeth, organs and everything else that’s involved in making up the human form. Body weight can fluctuate either way by 1-3 kg.
It is not the total body weight you should be fixating on when wanting to improve your physique, but your body’s fat content. The loss of total weight could come from a loss of any of the aforementioned factors, weight loss does not necessarily mean you are in optimal health and are reaping the rewards of your dietary and exercise adaptations.
Still not convinced there’s a difference? Consider this…
You have just consumed a 1.5L bottle of water at 12 noon, before excretion (and apart from feeling rather bloated), you decide to jump on the scales to see if there is any visible signs of improvement from your newly transpired attempt to ‘lose weight’. Shockingly, the same scales that you used first thing that morning show a staggering 1 kilogram increase. Contemplating what you did wrong, you feel slightly less motivated by this added gain on the scale. Does this mean you have added more fat to your frame? Certainly not!
Fat loss on the other hand is the reduction of fat alone. You know, those jiggly bits that continue to move for a few seconds after you’ve stopped moving?…. Yeah those bits.
Firstly, it is imperative to note that fat is essential for bodily functions, however it is detrimental to your health in excessive amounts. At dangerous quantities, fat increases the risk of many diseases, including; type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and certain cancers.
More muscle = Less fat
So, how do you concentrate on just losing fat? Strength training! The more muscle mass your body pertains the higher your metabolic rate. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn; and the likelihood of burning current fat levels is increased.Whilst the likelihood of storing body fat in the future decreases, as long as you have the correct nutrition in place to support your levels of training you’re well on your way to achieving your fat loss goals.
The overall benefit from losing fat over weight is the body’s increased muscle to fat ratio. This improvement of muscle to fat greatly increase basal metabolic rate which in turn, prolongs your results generated from exercise. The more muscle you have the greater your energy expenditure, decreasing the likelihood of adding to your current fat stores.
Ditch the scales
With the increase of muscle, so too does your weight. But don’t fret, this is good weight. The muscular increase assists in fat metabolism and before you know it you’ll be easing into that shirt/dress/shorts that were once so hard to put on, let alone wear in public!
What you see on the scales bears no weight (pun intended) to your current fat stores. For example, two people can weigh the exact same amount, but if one person was made up primarily of muscle and the other fat, they would both have totally different clothing sizes and have totally different physiques.
The scales represent your entire ‘total’ body weight, yet, they fail to inform you about the many different factions that make up your body mass, such as fat stores and muscle mass, which is paramount in understanding the overall logistics behind your physique. Remember that it is fat that you want to lose, the scales can provide a misrepresentation of this, go on and ditch those scales. The best way to measure our physical transformations is through the monitoring of our clothing sizes that is indicative of our progress.
- The scales only provide a measurement of overall weight
- Measure progression NOT by your weight but by how your clothes fit
- Fat loss improves overall physique whilst improving basal metabolic rate