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 in order to have an “attractive” body?
Let's face it, if you want to lose weight, the healthiest thing to do 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 the mirror with a nice figure, no excess fat, but a bit of muscle ?
In many cases, a person's problem is not so much weight, but the figure, tone or simply the quality of the skin. It is possible to have beautiful curves or a defined silhouette without losing 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 being overweight and obese.
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 get on it.
Therefore, when we see the weight on the scale, it is impossible with the naked eye to know how the weight is distributed in the different parts that compose 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 all parts of the body's fat-free mass .
However, the 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 what your BMI (body mass index) is, 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 unintended consequence of certain progressive organic diseases or eating disorders.
All in all, weight loss (pound loss) 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 can be related to muscle, water, or fat.
For example, weight loss can come from any of the following bodily functions:
With the example above, we can conclude that weight loss can come from different components of the body.
It may be from 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.
The lower percentage of fat is given through the reduction of the calories ingested during the day. Either by eating fewer calories than normal, exercising, or a combination of both.
The idea is to create a caloric deficit so that the body draws energy from the body's stored fat reserves.
For example, if your body needs an average of 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, smoother and more beautiful. Basically, it is about slimming fat cells, adipocytes, reducing lipid reserves.
So, losing weight is the process of reducing body fat , which is the total amount of fat that the body retains.
Losing weight does not mean you are losing fat.
Many people have this misconception in their heads and associate losing weight with losing fat.
It is true that many can "lose weight" easily , and believe they are losing fat when in fact they are not.
They may be losing water or muscle weight because they have manipulated their body water or dietary carbohydrate intake.
For example, you might know someone who has lost about 10 pounds in less than a month, which is kind of amazing, but if we dig deeper, we'll see:
- It is possible that you increased your water intake.
- Eliminated processed carbohydrate foods.
- He began to exercise regularly.
When you change your habits in such a way, it is possible to lose weight quickly because water and glycogen are lost.
The more water you drink, the more you will urinate. If you excessively reduce your carbohydrate intake, you will begin to lose glycogen from your muscles.
Also, if you reduce your sodium intake, you will lose fluid weight because excess sodium in the body typically 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 is going to take energy from your fat to meet maintenance caloric expenditure.
However, you must follow these fundamental principles:
- Maintain a moderate caloric deficit
- Do regular resistance training (2-4 days per week)
- Get enough sleep (8-9 hours a night)
- Letting the body rest so that it recovers properly (you have to take days off)
- Be consistent (the key to all progress)
If you consistently lose fat, you will lose weight.
What happens when you lose fat, but the weight doesn't change?
This is a phenomenon called body recomposition and it is a process where while you are burning fat, you are gaining muscle at the same time.
This can be seen 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 dieting, he still weighs 150 pounds, but his fat percentage has dropped to 25%.
When you do the math, that's a 10-pound loss of fat and a 10-pound gain of muscle.
However, people do not 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 lose weight and lose 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 in the scale .
To review weight loss with the scale, it is advisable to take a daily weight record, so that it helps you see 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 reduce.
This occurs because we tend to store most of our fat in our trunks (waist, hips, thighs). If the measures do not go down, but the weight does, there is a possibility that you are not losing as much fat.
But if, on the contrary, the weight does not decrease but the measures do, it is likely that you are losing fat and developing muscle at the same time.
Having clothes that no longer fit you because you gained weight gives you an idea of how well the diet is working for fat loss.
Every few weeks, you can try on that pants or shirt you stopped wearing. If your clothes fit better or looser than the previous month, you're clearly making progress.
But if, on the contrary, you feel the same, it is possible that you are not losing enough fat. This is a good way to notice results.
Lastly, taking photos is a proven method that can be exhilarating or stressful depending on how you look at it. What you need to do is take some pictures before you start your fat loss commitment.
Tip: Take photos of yourself in your underwear from the front, from the back, and from both sides. Do it every 2 weeks, using the same clothes and in the same position.
Some people may feel embarrassed to take photos like this. However, pictures are important because when you're focused on losing weight or body fat, you're not going to notice the changes that happen because you look in the mirror every day.