Have you ever seen people who are members of a slimming group, or a weekly weight loss group perhaps, on the day before they’re due to be weighed on the scales? They generally try to eat as little food as possible, and drink as little as possible, just to help them lose weight when they step on the scales. Why? These people join these groups to lose FAT, not weight. They could very well drink 3 litres of water before they step on the scales, and they obviously will be heavier than if their stomachs were empty, because they’re now full of water.
However, being full of water does not mean they’re fat, so what the scales say, and what’s actually going on inside their bodies, are two different things entirely. Yes, rather than focusing on weight loss, people should instead be focusing on fat loss, but for some odd reason, the message simply isn’t getting through.
What’s the difference between weight loss and fat loss?
By now you probably have an idea of where we’re coming from, but to ensure that things are crystal clear, here are the main differences. Most people hate being fat, and if given the choice, they’d much rather be lean and muscular. When people decide to do something about their physical appearance, they often diet and exercise with the sole intention of losing as much fat as possible. However, some people become so obsessed by what the numbers of the weighing scales are saying, that they find it difficult to differentiate between the two.
Here’s an example. If a bodybuilder was 5ft 10 inches tall, and weighed 240 lbs of solid muscle, with barely an ounce of fat on his body, many people would think he looked great. Now, if an average male who didn’t exercise, who was also 5ft 10 inches tall, also weighed 240 lbs of fat, most people would consider him to be out of shape. On paper however, both men are 5ft 10, and both weigh 240lbs. Just because they both weigh the same, doesn’t mean they both have the same amounts of body fat.
Why is fat loss more beneficial than weight loss and how do you know you’re doing things right?
Everyday our weight fluctuates and changes thanks to a number of things including what we’ve eaten and drank, and when we ate and drank. You could weigh so much in a morning, have a healthy breakfast and a drink, weigh yourself again, and you’ll be 2 pounds heavier. Those 2 pounds are not body fat however. It’s easy to lose weight, as our weight can fluctuate due to what we’ve eaten, drank, and even how much we’ve sweated.
Losing fat is trickier because you have to ensure that it’s actually fat that you’re losing. Generally speaking, in order to lose fat, we need to burn more calories than we consume, forcing the body to burn away our body fat, using it as a source of energy. Sometimes however, other things can affect your results, meaning that when you step on the scales, you may not get the result you were hoping for. You could for example, exercise and diet like crazy, and lose 2 lbs of body fat in a week. Just before you step on the scales however, you could drink a lot of water and perhaps even eat a healthy meal.
Your stomach would now be full, and according to the scales, you’ll weigh exactly the same as you did a week ago, despite the fact that in actual fact, you’ve burnt 2 pounds of fat away from your body. According to the scales you’re no different, but in reality, that’s 2 pounds of fat gone from your body. The main thing is to remember that fat loss and weight loss are two entirely different things, and that losing weight doesn’t always mean that you’ve lost fat.
Go by how you look in a mirror, see if clothes fit better than they used to, and take measurements before you begin any diet and exercise routine, and monitor these measurements on a weekly basis. If you look leaner, your clothes feel looser, and your measurements are going down, then you’re almost certainly losing fat in the right way, despite what the weighing scales may say.