Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
A lot of people talk about and focus on weight loss. If you're looking to lose weight, well.....ok. But might I suggest instead that you consider losing fat instead? Is there a difference? Oh yes, oh yes indeed!
The last few weeks I've been working at losing some of the extra Christmas love I got (read: lots of visiting, staying up late and snacking!), but, the scale hasn't budged. What has budged though is how I feel in my pants, bras, and shirts. Seriously, I look in the mirror at myself everyday and can see the difference that getting back home, working out hard and eating clean have made. But the scale won't agree. Why? Because the fat I'd collected over the holidays weighs less than the muscle I'm re-gaining, but the fat also takes up more room than the muscle. So, my shape and size are changing, but not the number on the scale.
This idea can help put some of your "defeats" in perspective.
Ever have a week where you nailed your workout every day, ate like a super-clean super-human, drank all the water you should, blah blah blah.....and then you step on the scale at the end of the week and.....drum roll...., you lost 1-lb? You're standing there thinking, "well, THAT was a waste! I'm eatin' me a 1 kg bag of peanut M&M's for breakfast now since it doesn't seem to make any difference!". Or maybe I'm the only one who's ever felt like that...? Haha, for realz, it's not just me!
But here's what your body is doing "behind the scenes". First of all, it's not turning fat into muscle. That would be a magic trick! That's like trying to change pork fat into a chicken breast--on a living chicken!
You can looe fat and muscle, or gain fat and muscle. But, fat and muscle are not inter-changeable, so just get that idea outta yer head! : )
I like they way they said it on bodybuilding.com "Muscle mass and fat are two different animals: Muscle is active tissue that burns calories around the clock even as you sleep, kind of like an engine running in neutral. When you move around, you burn more calories, just like a car will consume more gas the faster you go. Fat, on the other hand, is just a storage of excess energy. It does nothing but sit there with its sole goal in life to be a spare tire around your waist until you put in the effort to burn it off" (emphasis mine).
So, the body isn't doing any magic tricks, but is just functioning as it's being asked to. You are either asking your body to gain or lose fat, or to gain or lose muscle.
So, if your scale doesn't seem to be cooperating with your best efforts, can ask yourself, "have I been working out hard using weights, or my body weight? Could I be gaining muscle and that's why the scale isn't getting lower??". The answer will almost always be yes....unless all you're doing is cardio......
Oh boy, so, for a long, long, long time you've heard "do more cardio to lose more weight!!!", and that's true to a degree.....except than you're really only losing fat and not gaining any muscle (and muscle burns calories, so the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while NOT working out). So, you can run your heart out, lose big numbers on the scale, but then you'll end up with a "skinny fat" body. Basically, a body that seems small or skinny, but has low or no muscle definition. If you are stuck in a "skinny-fat rut", read this article, or this article from muscleforlife.com
Rethink your approach to "loss". Focus on gaining muscle. Focus on working hard. Don't focus on calories burned (GASP!). Just don't for now. Start in a place where you are telling yourself, "my plan is to build muscle, & get strong"
Below are some images of different bodies at different weights and you can see that the heavier in weight photos are the muscled, trim bodies. I also included some replica fat vs. muscle photos that I find intriguing! Because I'm a geek. : )
I think these pictures say a lot, don't they! I find them an encouraging reminder that fat loss and weight loss are very different games!
Don't be discouraged if you're not "losing weight" as fast as you want. Keep measurements, keep trying on one particular pair of pants and take note on how they feel on your waist and legs, and, of course, stay positive! Rome wasn't built in a day, and the body or health & fitness goals you have in mind won't develop in one day either!
If you want a great body weight workout, I've included one of my favourites below! It's one of my best loved YouTubers, Tony Horton, as a guest on another of my top-pick channels POPSUGARfitness! To fav's for the price of one!
In this video Tony takes you through a 10 minute, full body burn! You will love it!
And that is all I have for you today!
Please let me know if you have any thoughts, comments or concerns, or just say "hi"!
Amy-Lyn, checking out! : )
....And now some legal jargon....
Remember that I am not a certified health & fitness professional! Read my Disclosure Policy HERE
1/19/2016 11:04:17 am
1/20/2016 06:49:26 am
Haha, hi Ken! :)
7/7/2016 02:27:37 am
The best way to lose weight is to accept that calories count. Many people believe that if they eat healthy and exercise, they will lose weight. Unfortunately, eating healthy foods is not enough. Creating a calorie deficit is an essential part of losing weight.
6/19/2017 08:36:07 am
I agree, but not completely. I have lost weight counting calories, and I have lost just as much weight not counting calories. For me personally, I have struggled with eating disorders (and still struggle with disordered eating), and counting calories was (and is) a dangerous path for me that I cannot take.
6/13/2017 07:01:03 am
Very love your blog
6/19/2017 08:34:18 am
10/21/2019 01:46:02 pm
Thank you for the informative article and photos that illustrate clearly the difference between how much space the same weight of fat vs. muscle takes up on the body. One small suggestion, kindly correct the "loose" and "loosing" to and "lose" and "losing"? It is distracting while reading what otherwise is an enjoyable article. :)
10/22/2019 04:57:30 am
Thank you!!! I can't believe I made such a grievous grammatical error! I've gone through and fixed it (hopefully I caught all of them!). Thanks for checking out the article, and thanks for politely pointing out the embarrassing grammar mistakes! :)
8/30/2021 01:47:47 pm
Gee, I'm really late to the party here. But for what it's worth, it was very reassuring to stumble across this while looking for reasons I've finished my first week of 3 sessions of HIIT and portion control, along with 2 miles of walking a day, and gained 5 pounds... lol
12/15/2022 01:58:36 am
Yaa, fat burning can be a different approach. You can use a fat burner and work out, but weight loss can be other. Can you elaborate on taking a different type of approach to both aspects?
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