Are Weight Loss and Fat Loss the same thing?
Which one is healthier for you?
Which one is easier?
People tend to use these phrases interchangeably even though fat loss is very different than weight loss. I have to admit I even use both terms. In my defense, I use them because the public tends to see them as the same thing.
But they aren’t and here is why.
Let’s take a set of identical twins who weigh 180 pounds each and have 40% body fat. Both of these ladies would like to lose 30 pounds.
Twin #1 decides on a nutrition program that promotes weight loss.
Twin #2 decides to try a program that promotes fat loss through healthy eating and working out with weights.
Disclaimer: I have been doing these charts for over 13 years now. The charts you are going to see represent best case scenarios for each woman.
At 180 pounds and 30% body fat both twins start out with 72 pounds of fat and 108 pounds of muscle.
180 x .30 = 72 pounds of fat.
180 – 72 = 108 pounds of muscle.
Technically the 108 pounds are made up of muscle, tissue, blood bones etc…but since those variables won’t change much, we will just call it muscle.)
Both women are dedicated to their programs and work hard. In the fitness industry, the one thing we all actually agree on is that a person can safely lose two pounds a week. After 12 weeks both women have stuck to their programs and now have lost weight.
So who did the better job of things? Trick question?
Twin #1 was after weight loss. She now weighs 158 pounds.
So why is she still at 38% body fat?
Twin #1 has lost 24 pounds but only 11 pounds of fat.
This is very typical of what happens when you go on a low calorie diet. In addition to losing fat, you lose muscle. Really what has happened to Twin #1 is that she has shrunk herself but stayed at about the same body fat level. There are a couple problems here.
- Her height to weight measurement has gotten better but she is still overweight bordering on obese.
- Muscles help burn calories. By losing muscle she is automatically lowering her metabolism. If metabolism is the measure of how fast you burn calories, she has slowed her system down. This will make it very easy for her to gain her weight back as soon as she stops her diet.
Yes, she weighs less but is she really healthier?
Twin #2 combined sensible eating with a weight training program and lost 22 pounds of fat and 17 pounds off the scale.
Twin #2 is now at 30% body fat. She was able to successfully burn fat while keeping muscle mass.
1. When I train women, there is an initial gain of 4-7 pounds of muscle. It isn’t new muscle, you are just toning up what you have. Guys can expect to gain 5-10 pounds in a few weeks. The nice thing is that the muscle gain is offset by the fat loss. If you start lifting weights, you will not turn into the Hulk. I promise!
2. Any time you can keep muscle and burn fat, you know your diet is spot on. This also means you are also getting stronger, leaner and healthier.
3. Twin #2 has increased her metabolism by keeping her muscle mass. By doing so, those cheat days or cheat meals won’t have as big an effect on her as they will on Twin #1.
So to sums things up:
Weight loss is a temporary thing. This is why most dieters will end up weighing more than when they started. When you burn both fat and muscle, you slow your metabolism down and make future weight loss that much harder. This is not a lifestyle, this is a quick fix way of thinking that has serious emotional consequences.
Fat loss is a lifestyle choice. Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy to maintain and you actually feel like you have control over your body. You will look healthier and feel better.
My job as your coach is to show you the difference between constructive and destructive ways of eating. My clients want to learn how to repair and take care of their bodies and that is what M Factor Fitness is all about. Through weight training, corrective exercise and nutrition coaching, you can learn to shape and control how you look for the long-term.
If this sounds interesting to you, please take a moment and fill out my consultation form. It is a free, no-0bligation phone call or visit where we can sit down and talk about yoru goals and how to best achieve them.