Fat Loss vs Weight Loss — Do you know the Difference?
One of the biggest challenges I face is educating people about the difference between fat loss and weight loss. The human body is comprised of many components that make up total body weight and fat is just one of these components. Others include water, bones, blood, muscle, organs, tissue etc. One of the interesting facts about participating in most of the diets out there is that while you may be dropping pounds on the scale chances are you are primarily dropping muscle and water weight. The following excerpt from the Fat Fighter Diet illustrates why this is a problem:
Question: What weighs more, a pound of muscle or a pound of fat?
Answer: They both weigh the same, of course. A pound is a pound.
Question: What is bigger, a pound of muscle or a pound of fat?
Answer: The pound of fat is bigger. Fat is less dense than muscle and therefore takes up more space on our bodies.
Question: Is there a difference between fat loss and weight loss?
Answer: There is a huge difference. Losing weight is actually quite easy. I have seen people lose more than 5 pounds of water in a single day. But losing body fat is an entirely different story….
LOSE 20 POUNDS IN 20 DAYS!
We have all seen the ads; some of you may have tried out the “program”. Some of you probably lost weight as well. But what did you really lose? Let’s look at a typical scenario:
Subject A (before diet)
- 150 pounds
- 30% body fat
= 45 pounds of fat, 105 pounds lean body mass
This person decides to go on a low calorie “diet”. After 3 months these are her new stats:
- 130 pounds
- 28% body fat
= 36.4 pounds of fat, 93.6 pounds of lean body mass
At first glance you may think that this person has succeeded. After all, they are 20 pounds lighter- but look closer. We can see that while the scale weight has gone down, her body fat percentage has not changed much. Worst of all, her lean body mass has actually gone down. Why is this important? Let’s flash forward three more months. It is usually after this period of time that most people have abandoned their “low calorie diet” and have relapsed back into their old eating habits.
Subject A (3 months later)
- 150 pounds
- 35% body fat
= 52.5 pounds of fat/ 97.5 pounds of lean body mass
As you can see, the hapless dieter has not only returned to her original weight she has actually gained body fat and lost muscle- exactly the opposite of what you want to do. This loss of muscle mass has further slowed her metabolism (the series of chemical reactions taking place in your body that are responsible for creating energy and burning calories) making it harder for her to lose fat in the future- and a whole lot easier to gain more of it back. This is why conventional “diets” do not work. Any diet that sacrifices muscle tissue in the pursuit of “weight” loss is fundamentally flawed and doomed to failure.
To ensure success, focus on health, fitness and fat loss, not simply weight loss.
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