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Losing Weight or Losing Fat?

Beach body

You know what took me a long time to learn?

That weight loss does NOT always equal fat loss.

You can lose weight – even dropping 10, 20 or 30 pounds – but still have large stores of unwanted fat all over your body.

You see, weight loss is loss from the entire sum of your body weight … including things like your bones, muscles, organs and, yes, fat.

But do we really want to lose weight from our bones?

No.

What about your organs?

Probably not there either.

Your muscles?

Definitely not.

Muscles are actually important to our metabolism, and if we lose muscle mass, it’s even harder to lose weight in the long run.

You really only want to lose fat – the stuff that builds up around your butt, thighs, hips and waist.

This is what endangers your health, and it’s what makes those jean fit just a little bit tighter after a holiday season of binging.

The term “Weight loss” is also unreliable.

It includes things like water weight or even how full your stomach, bladder and bowels are…

It doesn’t take into account your height or bone mass, either … so while one person’s 200 pounds may be unhealthy, for a taller, wider set person, it may be perfectly normal.

The only way to truly know what you have to “lose” is to measure your fat percentage.

As an average,  men’s bodies should contain about 10 percent fat.

Women’s? They should have about 15 percent (we’re meant to bear children, remember!) That means bigger hips!

So how do you whittle down your “fat loss” without inching into “weight loss?”

weights - girl

Your first step is to get stronger. Stop focusing on only cardio, and work in plenty of strength training, too.

Strength training builds up muscle which, in turn, helps raise your metabolism and burn more calories.

Yes, cardio is important, but doing only cardio is never the answer. In fact, too much cardio and not enough strength training will actually cause muscle loss …

And something called “skinny fat.”

You’ll have a lower “weight” on the scale, but you’ll have smaller muscles and a less healthy body overall.

You won’t be thin and lean. You’ll be thin and unhealthy.

As you start to work in more weight training, be careful to note: muscle always weighs more than fat. If you are monitoring the scale closely, you may actually see a jump in weight at first.

Don’t worry about this. Your fat is being replaced by muscle, which will make you look thinner and leaner.

You’re still seeing results! Just not the results we’re all trained to think are right.

Another trick to losing fat, not just weight, is to watch your diet carefully.

Diet Progress

Choose foods that will increase muscle, like lean proteins and meats.

Cut out starchy carbs that only fill you up, and avoid empty calories like sodas, sugars and sweets.

Opt for unprocessed, natural and raw foods as much as you can, and eat lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains and eggs. These will strengthen you and give your body the fuel it needs to get healthier.

Be sure to hydrate plenty, too. Hydration is crucial to building up muscles, and if you’re working out more, it’s an important part of keeping your energy levels high, too.

Just remember: Water weighs something, too! Take it into account if you’re hopping on the scale regularly.

When going for fat loss, be sure to hide away that bathroom scale. It’s not helping anything!

Remember, you’re trying to lower fat levels – and fat levels alone.

The number on the scale might not budge much, but with fat loss, you’ll still get thinner and leaner, your clothing will still fit better, and you’ll still feel better both inside and out.

And isn’t that what really matters?

When I was trying to lose weight, I definitely was going only for “weight loss” at first.

I did everything I could to try and lower that number on the scale – cutting back calories, running for hours on end and killing myself at the gym.

It was awful and, to be honest, it wasn’t very effective … at least not for the effort and time I was putting in.

It wasn’t until I realized that FAT LOSS was more important, that I started to see real results.

I stopped looking at the scale and started looking inward.

I felt healthier.

I felt happier.

I felt more confident.

And you know what? I had dropped several sizes in clothing, too.

I promise: You can do the same thing, too.

Stop worrying about numbers on the scale, and start focusing on getting stronger, getting healthier and losing that fat.

Keep it up, and you’ll see (and feel!) results in no time. I know it!

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Written by Ingrid Macher

Certified Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Motivator - I have a passion for helping people change their lives. I started out helping my friends and now I give advice and tips to perfect strangers who have now become my friends. I love what I do and I wouldn’t change my life even if I could. This kind of happy is truly a gift and I’ll do whatever it takes to be able to give this gift to others.

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