Have you been trying out different weight loss plans yet failing to maintain your ideal weight? Chances are that you are not losing weight healthily. While people often use the terms fat loss and weight loss interchangeably, they are not.
This article will explore the difference between losing weight and losing fat. Read on and make your hard work count!
Weight Loss And Fat Loss
When you begin a weight loss regimen with specific weight loss goals in mind, it is crucial to understand this: losing weight does not always imply that you are getting rid of excess harmful fats in the body. Weight loss is a decrease in your total body weight, including loss of water weight, muscle mass and fat.
You may notice a significant change on the weighing scale, but there is no guarantee that you are losing weight healthily. On the other hand, fat loss is targetted, and includes a reduction in harmful fats from a specific body area.
What Is The Difference Between Weight Loss And Fat Loss?
Our body composition includes muscle mass, bone weight, water weight, organs and tissue. If you are on a low-calorie diet, you may lose either water, muscle, or tissue. Meanwhile, a healthy weight loss plan which includes a nutrient-dense diet and a suitable exercise plan, promotes the loss of non-essential fats from the body stored in our adipose tissues. Further, numbers on the weighing scale do not indicate if you lost water, fat or muscle mass. Measuring body fat percentage is a more accurate method to track what you are losing.
Must Read: How to Burn Calories Fast?
What Should Be Your Goal? Fat Loss, Not Weight Loss!
Losing weight quickly can be potentially dangerous for several reasons. Every individual has a unique body fat percentage. If your body has excessive fat, in proportion to lean muscle tissue, it means that the fat-to-muscle ratio is higher. This could make you vulnerable to diseases like obesity and diabetes. Rapid weight loss may also impact your metabolism, where slower metabolism means slower burning of calories.
Further, crash diets may cause a nutritional imbalance in the body, leading to side effects like hair loss, fatigue, tiredness, weaker bones, and poor immunity. You may also experience muscle cramps, irritability, dehydration, gallstones, loss of muscle, and dizziness.
It is thus essential to adopt a fitness lifestyle that keeps harmful fat in check and in proportion to the required muscle mass for the body’s healthy functioning. Your fat loss plan must aim to eliminate excess visceral fat in the body, which is the most harmful type of fat.
Creating a fitness plan for yourself while taking into consideration all the mentioned factors can be difficult. Consult a certified fitness expert to avoid any complications.
Must Read: Top Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat
5 Signs You Are Burning Fat
Tracking fat loss is not as straightforward as tracking weight loss, but there are some unique ways to do it. The most commonly used tool is a tape that helps track inch loss. You can use a skinfold calliper to measure fat content in certain body parts. Like the bioelectrical impedance analysis scale, a body fat scale also provides a fairly accurate estimate of your body fat percentage. For a more precise measurement, you can try 3D body scanners and DEXA scans.
However, this may require the supervision of an expert, and it is advisable to consult one to ensure that the tracking is accurate.
Meanwhile, here are some other potential signs indicating that you are burning harmful fats:
- You do not wake up feeling extremely hungry and you are not constantly craving food and sugar.
- Your bowel movements are effortless. You don’t feel tired, fatigued and you have fewer mood swings and irritability.
- You do not experience a drop in your energy levels when you are burning fat. When losing weight in a healthy manner, your stamina gets a boost and you can work out even on a hungry stomach. You may also notice more defined and stronger muscles.
- Your clothes fit better, especially around the waist and the abdomen area. This also means that you have improved cardiovascular health and well-being.
- You notice improved productivity, less mental fatigue, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety.
How To Lose Fat And Retain Muscle Mass?
Here are some simple, expert-recommended tips that you can follow to lose harmful fat and not your muscle mass:
Consume A Nutrient-Dense Diet:
Follow a balanced diet that is less in calories but has good nutritional value. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant and nutrient content, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains to maintain your energy levels. Include proteins and healthy beverages that improve satiety and reduce cravings. Consume 500 to 800 lesser calories than your daily calorie intake. (Consult a dietician to determine your nutrient requirements.)
Include Protein In The Diet:
Protein is the main component of your muscle tissue and including it in your diet will ensure that you gain and maintain the required muscle mass. A high protein diet typically includes broccoli, spinach, eggs, chicken, lean meat, seafood, tofu and more.
Supplement your fat loss efforts by exercising regularly. Combine different workouts as it allows your body to preserve lean muscle mass and bone health while shedding fat. Try cardio and balance exercises along with strength training to keep your body burning calories even at rest.
Avoid Sugars And Processed Foods:
Cut off sugary and processed foods from your diet to reduce your calorie intake. They have very low nutritional value. Instead, consume healthy fats that contain essential fatty acids (EFA) that improve body functions while losing unhealthy fats.
Increase Fibre Intake:
Research shows that including soluble fibre in your diet helps improve satiety and burns harmful trans-fats, especially around the belly.
Track Your Progress:
Maintain a food journal to track your calories and nutrient consumption. You can make necessary changes as your progress for the best results. You can also use tape to measure inch and fat loss.
Avoid Crash Diets:
Do not indulge in extreme calorie restriction or crash diets as they do more harm than good. The results are quick, but you may be losing water and muscle rather than fat.
Follow a calorie deficit by eating mindfully and practising portion control. Also, chew your food thoroughly.
Get Sufficient Sleep:
Sleep deprivation often leads to an imbalance in the hormone ghrelin that promotes satiety, making it harder for the body to shed weight. So make sure you get enough sleep.
We now know that it is essential to have a sustainable fitness regimen, which helps maintain our body composition and overall health. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet accompanied by a moderate to intense workout will help you lose harmful fat while maintaining healthy muscle tissue.