Weight Loss vs Fat Loss – The Difference, Explained

Article from: http://www.coachcalorie.com/weight-loss-vs-fat-loss/

By Tony Schober, CPT


woman doing cable pulldowns

Do You Want to Lose Weight?

If you answered yes, you are wrong. Well, not wrong actually, but what you’re really wanting to do is lose fat. Anybody can lose weight. You just don’t eat. You will lose weight, unfortunately, the weight you lose will be both muscle and fat.

The ultimate goal for successful weight loss is to preserve as much muscle as possible, or possibly even gain some, while at the same time lose as much body fat as possible. Your body fat % is a key indicator of your success, not the scale.

Muscle is vital to your success for losing fat. Muscles have these little fat burning powerhouses called mitochondria. Mitochondria are cellular power plants that are responsible for the production of energy.

It’s in the mitochondria that fat is metabolized, and there is a positive correlation between the amount of muscle you have and the number of mitochondria. It stands to reason that the more mitochondria you have, the more the potential to burn fat.


Get More Mitochondria

How do you get more of these little cell powerhouses? You need to be giving your body a reason to create more of them. You do this by performing high-intensity exercise.

HIIT training is just one of these methods. Strength training is another. By creating a large demand for energy up and above what your body can already produce, your body is forced to create new mitochondria in order to be prepared for the next time your muscles call on that needed extra energy.

Read here to learn about HIIT training and also get a dozen sample workouts.

The great thing about muscle is that it is active tissue. Unlike fat, it needs constant energy to maintain itself – energy like fatty acids. What does this mean? It means that your body will be burning fat at all times of the day – even while you’re sleeping. Yes, it is possible to burn fat in your sleep, and that is how.

Don’t Worry So Much About Your Weight

Telling people to ignore their weight is a very common theme for me, and for good reason. Too many times successful dieting is sabotaged because of a meaningless number on a scale.

A scale does nothing other than measure the force of gravity on your body. Why should this matter at all? It can’t tell you if your clothes fit better, it can’t tell you if your body fat percentage has changed, and it definitely won’t tell you that you’re looking any better.

When you start trying to lose weight, it is imperative that you track your progress using methods other than just the scale. You need progress measuring tools that are going to track fat loss – not weight loss. Body fat calipers (highly-recommended), a tape measure, pictures, the way your clothes fit, and people’s comments are all going to be more useful for you.

Don’t worry so much about your weight. If you’re looking better, you’re weight doesn’t matter. The only time it matters is when you tell your weight to someone who doesn’t understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss.


Preserve Muscle While Losing Fat

Alright then, if our goal is fat loss, we are going to need to focus on preserving muscle while we lose fat. People tend to sabotage their diets by eating too little food and too few nutrients resulting in muscle loss.

Once you start losing muscle, you are fighting an uphill battle to lose fat. This is one of the main reasons why diets fail. To prevent muscle loss, make sure you are following these basic guidelines:

  • Get in enough calories for your body size and activity level. See how many calories should I eat.
  • Make sure those calories are nutrient dense by having them come from fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy, legumes, tubers, dairy, and whole grains.
  • Aim for calories in the 10-12 times your body weight range (start high and come down as necessary).
  • Try to get in .8-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight, and divide that evenly among 3-6 meals.
  • Eat enough carbohydrates to support your activity level. Try to eat as many as possible that still enables you to reach your fat loss goals.
  • Fill the rest of your calories with fat – healthy fats and EFAs (essential fatty acids).
  • Make sure you strength train and give your muscles a reason to maintain themselves. If you don’t exercise, your body is going to shed that unneeded muscle. Force your body to preserve it and even grow it by giving it consistent stimulation.

Follow these guidelines and you will reach your true goal of not just losing weight, but losing that unwanted fat, and keeping your hard-earned muscle.


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