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Weight loss vs Fat loss: What is the difference?

December 12, 2019

Weight loss vs Fat loss: What is the difference?

Have you ever wanted to lose weight?

Excess weight is a common problem a lot of us face at some point of our lives. Losing weight is more than just looking skinny, though. Sometimes, we lose weight, but not the way that is healthy to the body, nor is it long term.

What is the difference between weight loss and fat loss? When we talk about body weight, this encompasses all components of your body including body organs, bones, fluid, muscle, etc. When we lose fat, we usually lose weight. However, losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean losing fat. Body fat is typically indicated as a percentage of your total weight. For example, if you have 20% body fat and you weigh 200 pounds, that means 20 lbs of your weight makes up of fat or adipose tissues. Muscularity highly varies from person to person, and water retention also plays a part on our body weight. Our fitness level is generally defined better by the percentage of body fat rather than the overall body weight. The average healthy body fat percentage for men is 8-14% and for women is 20-25%.

The goal of successful weight loss is to preserve as much muscle as possible, or possibly even gain more, while at the same time lose body fat. Muscle, in fact, is vital to our success in losing fat. There is a positive correlation between muscle mass and number of mitochondria, which are these powerhouses responsible for the production of body energy by metabolizing fat. Basically, the more muscle mass we build, the more mitochondria we will have and, therefore, the more likely we could burn more fat.When we diet by eating too little food and too little nutrients, we sabotage our diets because we tend to lose muscle mass, and in the long run, fat loss would end up like an uphill battle.

To prevent muscle loss while trying to lose weight, here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure to eat at least the minimum calories for your activity level and body mass.  Eating less than minimum will work against you eventually.
  2. Make sure your calories are nutrient dense by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grain, and good sources of protein. Eat 5 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight distributed evenly in 3-5 meals. Make sure to include healthy sources of fat, as well.
  3. Exercise to give the muscles a reason to maintain themselves. With very little activity, the body will shed that unneeded muscle. With constant stimulation, your muscles will have a reason to stay or to grow.

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