Weight Loss Does Not Always Equate Fat Loss

Mar 05, 2022

Did you know that weight loss is not the same as fat loss?  As you know, if you eat less calories than you consume in a day you will see weight loss. However, that may not be FAT loss! Your weight consists of everything in your body like water, bones, blood, muscle, stool, food in your system, etc. Just because the scale goes down doesn’t mean you’re actually losing fat. You see, when you lose weight from just decreasing your calories you are also losing water and potentially muscle! So, understand that weight loss does not equal fatt loss. On the other hand, it can be difficult to determine whether you’re losing that weight from fat or muscle. You can read more here about Body Composition Changes In Weight Loss.

Here's the thing, most people who say they want to lose weight actually mean that they want to lose FAT. Therefore, losing weight might include fat, but it could also mean you’re losing muscle, too. The fact is, cutting your calories too much can lead to a greater loss of muscle rather than fat. Therefore, if you want to drop weight, then just cut calories. If you want to preserve muscle and look more athletic then you need to make sure you are consuming enough of each of the three macronutrients: protein, fat, & carbohydrates.

Let’s look at the importance of muscle mass and muscle retention. Maintaining a healthy muscle mass percentage offers various advantages.  First, it aids in controlling inflammation. Having more muscle mass helps to maintain healthy fat levels in the blood (such as triglycerides and cholesterol). Another advantage is it aids in regulating decreased mobility as you age. Loss of muscle mass has been shown to be a contributor to disability in older people. Studies have also shown that retaining more fat than muscle has been associated with chronic disorders such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes. Even more reason to preserve muscle and decrease fat!

Next, let's examine how muscle affects your metabolism. Did you know that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even while you are at rest? This is one reason why men generally have larger calorie requirements than women. They tend to have more muscle mass. As a result, having less muscle mass reduces the number of calories you burn at rest. This is why strength training and lifting weights is so important for both men and women at any age!

Many weight loss programs claim to make it simple and quick to lose weight as this is what most are looking for, "simple and easy weight loss". But what they don't say is that it is mostly water weight and not always fat loss. The other issue is that it's normal to use a scale to track your weight loss efforts. Although this is useful, most scales do not distinguish between fat loss and muscle loss. As a result, just keeping track of your weight isn't a good approach to figure out if you're shedding fat or muscle and how much of either. However, taking measurements is the most effective tool for judging fat loss. Especially around the waist or mid-section. 

It's crucial to remember, however, that a major portion of any weight loss could be due to water and muscle loss.  

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