The Difference Between Fat loss and Weight Loss

Ok I started at 160 lbs I am 5 feet tall and now I weigh 135 lbs trying to get to 110 lbs what is the difference between fat loss and weight loss? And what has better results?

I received this question from my website blog inquiries this week.  It is a great question.  There is a lot of confusion about weight loss and I hope to clear it up with today’s blog.  Let’s first cover what the human body is made up of so that we can better understand what happens when we lose weight.  The human body is made up of lean tissue and body fat.  Lean tissue consists of muscle tissue, connective tissue (such as tendons and ligaments), and bones.  Basically, lean tissue is everything you’re made up of besides fat.  Lean tissue is primarily water based and absorbs water- this is especially true of muscle tissue – while body fat is, as you guessed, fat based and repels water.  It is important to understand that muscle = water and fat = fat when considering weight loss so I wanted to reiterate that fact.

When someone loses weight they have to create a caloric deficit, which simply means that caloric input has to be less than caloric output.  Daily caloric input is all the calories a person consumes per day through eating and drinking.  Daily caloric output is all the calories it takes to simply operate your body (digestion/basal metabolic rate) plus any additional activity an individual does through additional movement or working out (even vacuuming the house adds to caloric output).  Starvation isn’t the answer though.  If your deficit is too large, your body will protest and go into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism and feeding off of good weight, cannibalizing  muscle tissue. This is “bad” weight loss because only a small portion of your weight loss will be fat while a large portion is muscle and water loss.  When your body cannibalizes muscle, it drains much of its stored energy (in the form of ATP) and that stored energy has water molecules attached to it.  This is why a person that crash diets with starvation type methods will lose a lot of weight.  Unfortunately it’s not all good weight that is lost.  Don’t be fooled by your weight loss from crash diets; from a long term perspective, dieting causes progressive weight gain due to the damage to metabolism and muscle tissue.

The goal of a healthy weight loss program is to lose body fat primarily and to retain or gain as much muscle weight as possible.  By doing this, your metabolism is encouraged, not discouraged, and your results will be potentially lifelong provided you maintain your healthy habits.  IF there is weight to lose, you will want to create a deficit through exercise and healthy eating habits.  Exercise will increase your caloric output/deficit and condition your muscles to potentially gain muscle while losing body fat and weight, especially if you are doing a resistance training program.  This deficit should be around 500 calories per day and would lead to about a pound of weight loss per week.  If a person is severely obese, their deficit could be a bit higher and their loss would be higher due to the larger deficit.  In general, you want to keep your deficit reasonably small so that you lose weight in a healthy manner.  In cases of being severely overweight or obese, it took a long time to get to that point.  Be patient with your weight loss so that this time you lose the weight and keep it off.

To sum it up, fat loss is good while weight loss, when muscle and fat is lost from a caloric deficit that is too large, is bad.  Instead of crash dieting, commit to permanent changes in lifestyle so that you lose the fat and keep it off.  We can always help you get on the right path to permanent fat/weight loss.  Feel free to call or email us if you have any questions about getting into a pattern of healthy living.