Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate these two terms , losing weight and losing fat because although they are linked, they are not the same.
It is possible to lose weight without losing fat or vice versa.
However, are you sure that you are on the right path if you decide to lose weight to have an “attractive” body?
Let's face it, if you want to lose weight, the healthiest thing would be to lose weight from fat.
At Evolution we will explain the differences between both processes and we will show you why one is much better for your health than the other.
Lose weight or lose fat
Before starting a weight loss plan, the first question you should ask yourself is:
Am I doing this simply to lower the number on the scale or to find myself attractive in front of the mirror with a nice silhouette, without excess fat, but with a little muscle ?
In many cases, a person's problem is not so much weight, but rather figure, tone or simply the quality of the skin. It is possible to have beautiful curves or a defined silhouette without needing to lose weight .
Of course, if your excess weight is significant, you need to take steps to preserve your health and protect yourself from the harmful effects of overweight and obesity.
What is body weight?
Weight is the sum total of everything that makes up your body , that is, a mixture of skin, bones, organs, muscles, water, nerves, connective tissue, etc. It is what is read on the scale when you step on it.
Therefore, when we see the weight on the scale, it is impossible at first glance to know how the weight is distributed in the different parts that make up you.
Body composition is the ratio of the percentage of fat and lean mass in the human body.
For example, skin, bones, nerves, connective tissue, organs, and skeletal muscle are parts of the body's fat-free mass .
However, body composition is completely different in both men and women . A man who weighs 150 pounds will have a different body composition than a woman of the same weight.
To find out your BMI (body mass index) you can consult this digital calculator created by the Department of Health and Human Services of the US Government .
Now to the next logical question:
What is weight loss?
Losing weight is about losing pounds . We can voluntarily lose pounds with a diet for aesthetic or therapeutic purposes. But it can also be an unintentional consequence of certain progressive organic diseases or eating disorders.
All in all, weight loss (loss of pounds) is the process of reducing total body weight , which is the sum total of muscle mass, fat, bone mass, vital organs and water.
The main objective of weight loss is, therefore, to have a noticeable decrease in the value shown on the scale . The weight you lose may be related to muscle, water, or fat.
For example, weight loss can come from any of the following bodily functions:
With the above example, we can conclude that weight loss can come from different components of the body.
It may be water and there could be a decrease in the number on the scale, but it does not mean that you have been able to lower your fat percentage .
What is fat loss?
It is an action that aims almost exclusively at the elimination of subcutaneous fat . But some weight loss programs may also take visceral fat into account.
Lowering the percentage of fat occurs through the reduction of calories ingested during the day. Whether it's eating fewer calories than normal, exercising, or a combination of both.
The idea is to create a caloric deficit so that the body takes energy from the fat reserves stored in the body.
For example, if your body needs on average 2,000 calories to function during the day, you can reduce your food intake to 1,500 calories.
The result is barely noticeable on the scale. The goal is to tone the skin , make it firmer, softer and more beautiful. Basically, it is about thinning the fat cells, the adipocytes, reducing the lipid reserve.
So, losing weight is the process of reducing body fat , which is the total amount of fat retained by the body.
Losing weight doesn't mean you're losing fat
Many people have this wrong idea in their heads and associate weight loss with fat loss.
It is true that many can "lose weight" easily , and believe that they are losing fat when in reality they are not.
They may be losing water or muscle weight because they have manipulated the water in their body or the carbohydrate intake in their diet.
For example, you may know someone who has lost about 10 pounds in less than a month, which is somewhat surprising, but if we look deeper we will see:
- You may have increased your water intake.
- Eliminated processed carbohydrate foods.
- He started exercising regularly.
When you modify your habits in such a way, it is possible to lose weight quickly because you lose water and glycogen.
The more water you drink, the more you will urinate. If you reduce your carbohydrate intake excessively, you will begin to lose glycogen from your muscles.
Additionally, if you reduce your sodium intake, you will lose fluid weight because excess sodium in the body usually causes fluid retention.
Why Fat Loss Almost Always Means You'll Lose Weight
This is mainly due to 2 functions in the body called catabolism and anabolism.
This means that in order to burn fat , you must put yourself in a catabolic state because, by eating fewer calories , the body will take energy from your fat to meet maintenance caloric expenditure.
However, you must follow these fundamental principles:
- Maintain a moderate calorie deficit
- Do regular resistance training (2-4 days per week)
- Get enough sleep (8-9 hours per night)
- Let the body rest so that it recovers properly (you have to take days off)
- Be consistent (the key to all progress)
If you lose fat constantly, you will lose weight.
What happens when you lose fat, but the weight doesn't change?
This is a phenomenon they call body recomposition and it is a process where while you are burning fat, at the same time you gain muscle.
This can be noticed with the naked eye in women, because the skin begins to look better and the muscles stand out and are noticeable.
For example: suppose a person weighs 150 pounds with a body fat percentage of 30%. After 4 months of exercising and following a diet, he still weighs 150 pounds, but his fat percentage dropped to 25%.
When you do the math, that's a loss of 10 pounds of fat and a gain of 10 pounds of muscle.
However, people don't burn fat or build muscle at a similar rate. Each person is a different process.
So don't expect to lose fat and gain muscle at the same rate. Losing fat is usually much easier than building muscle from a physiological perspective.
How can you verify that you are losing fat
Now that you know the difference between the terms losing weight and losing fat, you may be wondering: how do I know if I'm losing fat?
Don't worry, it's not that complicated. There are 4 ways to track fat loss:
This is perhaps the most obvious. But yes, when you lose fat in a moderate way, you will notice a reduction on the scale .
To review your weight loss with the scale, it is advisable to take a daily weight record, so that it helps you visualize if the work you are doing is effective.
Measurements with the tape measure
This is one of the best methods to track fat loss, because as you lose fat, the measurements decrease.
This happens because we tend to store most of our fat in our trunks (waist, hips, thighs). If your measurements don't go down, but your weight does, there's a chance you're not losing as much fat.
But if, on the contrary, the weight does not decrease but the measurements do, it is likely that you are losing fat and developing muscle at the same time.
Having clothes that no longer fit because you gained weight allows you to get an idea of how well the fat loss diet is working.
Every few weeks, you can try on that pair of pants or shirt you stopped wearing. If your clothes fit better or looser than they did last month, you're clearly making progress.
But if, on the other hand, you feel the same, you may not be losing enough fat. This is a good way to notice results.
Lastly, taking photos of yourself is a proven method that can be encouraging or stressful depending on how you look at it. What you need to do is take some pictures before you begin your commitment to fat loss.
Tip: Take photos in your underwear from the front, from the back, and from both sides. Do it every 2 weeks, wearing the same clothes and in the same position.
Some people may feel embarrassed taking photos like this. However, images are important because when you are focused on losing weight or body fat, you are not going to notice the changes that occur because you look in the mirror every day.