Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss (+ 4 Fat Loss Tips)
What is weight loss?
Weight loss simply refers to a lower number on a scale. Time to celebrate, right? Not so much. That number represents the total sum in lbs. or kilograms of all your body parts. Pretty simple. But pretty non specific. If I told you not to eat for 48 hours or not to drink any water for 24 hours, you’d lose weight. Or how about an extreme example – if I told you to cut off your left foot, you’d lose weight. So in all three examples you’ll have lost weight. I’m sure of it. But what else have you done in the process – you’re weaker, smaller, and now only have 1 foot. That’s no good. It really doesn’t tell you anything about how dense you are – meaning how fat you are. Let’s compare this with fat loss.
What is fat loss?
Fat loss is a reduction in the amount of fat you carry in your body. So if you go from 25% body fat down to 20%, you’ve lost 5% fat in your body. Yes, now that would be time to celebrate! Fat loss is much more complicated than weight loss – it involves a process where the body actually starts to breakdown its own fat cells and convert them into energy the body can use. In order to get your body in a state where it can easily burn fat you need to dial in your nutrition. That means eating clean with nutrient dense foods like leafy green or cruciferous vegetables and whole sources of protein. You also need some healthy fat like coconut oil and avocado to optimize your body into a fat burning machine.
When you combine this good nutrition with a slight calorie deficit (you eat slightly less than you expend), that’s the perfect fat loss scenario. On the other hand, when you fuel your body with processed, refined carbs such as flours, cereals, breads, cookies, or muffins, you’ll never access the fat burning potential of your body. You’ll be what we like to call a “sugar burner” – someone who is constantly stuck in the sugar cycle. You’ll find yourself hungry, eat something like a granola bar or a bag of pretzels, initially curbing your hunger, but then again in 2 hours when your sugar spike crashes you find yourself hungry, feeling lousy and in the same place you were 2 hours ago.
A popular but outdated approach to weight loss is through calorie restriction, which doesn’t work in the long run. Has anyone ever had this experience – you cut calories over a period of time, lose some weight, and then find it stops working, and before you know it you are fatter than when you started? Yes. We all have. Yep, that’s what calorie restricted dieting does to you. Once your body realizes that you’re starving it by under feeding, it will start to hold on to fat cells, not burn them. You actually start to hold on to everything you put in your body instead of burn it. You also end up breaking down your own muscle tissue for energy because you’re not getting enough nutrients from your food. This loss of muscle not only ends up increasing your body fat but you end up lowering your basal metabolic rate. The only way to burn actual fat is the old fashioned way – by optimizing your body for it through proper nutrition.
So which one really matters?
If you want to look sexy naked: Than the only one that matters is fat loss.
If you want to be healthy, disease free, and full of energy: The only one that matters is fat loss.
If you want to have better cognitive function: The only one that matters is fat loss.
If you want to feel happy and move your body with ease: The only one that matters is fat loss.
If you want to surf a barrel, climb a volcano, or mountain bike through the rainforest without getting hurt: Again, the only one that matters is fat loss.
And I feel safe saying that the majority of folks trying to get in shape and shed some pounds are looking specifically for fat loss, not weight loss, whether they realize it or not. So go ahead – throw away your scale and let’s shed some fat with these 4 tips.