Thursday 6 March 2014

Weight Loss v's Fat Loss


This is something that I've been meaning to write about for a while and is quite a controversial subject.  Lots of people want to lose weight for various reasons, but most of the time weight loss does not mean fat loss.  You hear lots of people saying that they've lost 10lbs in a week using various diet methods, but at the end of the day what are they actually losing?  Do you know the difference between weight loss and fat loss?

Weight Loss = Total loss of body weight as measured by weighing scales, weight is taken from all over the body including bones, organs, muscles and fat.

Fat Loss = Lowering total body fat, as measured by calipers or body shape.  Healthy goals are around 10 - 15% for a man and 15 - 20% for a woman (depending upon age).

Using only the scales as a measure of success is completely flawed and you are doomed to failure!


Your body is very complex and has lots of things going on within it - if you use only the scales then you are also including things like the contents of your stomach/intestines/bowel, the amount of water contained within your muscles as well as the amount of fat in your body.

At the end of the day you can chop off your head (it weighs about a stone by the way) and lose weight!

What most of us want to lose is fat not weight.

The below picture shows the difference between fat and muscle. Muscle is much more dense that fat - that is why you can have two people who weigh the same but look totally different.  The same weight in muscle takes up a lot less space that the same weight in fat. Therefore if you're building muscle you'll see very little change on the scales - but people will comment that you look slimmer!

How to lose fat and not muscle.

1. Eat Protein - your body needs protein to build muscle as well as for many of the other nutrients contained within.  The usual recommendation is 1g of protein per every lb of body weight.

2. Include some Weight Training - Pilates is great for this as it uses body weight.  But anything that requires resistance training is great.

3. Don't reduce your calories by too much - not only will this send your body into 'starvation mode' thereby holding onto fat, but it will also reduce your body's ability to build muscle.  A 500 calorie a day deficit is more than enough  - the daily recommended amounts are 2000 per day for a woman and 2500 per day for a man.  (Remember to adjust if you're also exercising, so for example, if you're using up 500 calories a day in exercise - then keep your dietary intake at around 2000 calories)

You should be aiming to lose no more than 2lbs in total weight per week as anything above this is water and body tissue taken from your muscles,bones and organs, not fat!  Rapid weight loss will get you into the rut of yo-yo dieting (sound familiar?) as it is unsustainable and unhealthy - the only thing that you will be losing is pounds from your pocket and not your thighs!

So eat sensibly, cut out the processed food, eat as much organic food as you can, weight train, include a bit of cardio exercise, eat more protein and less starchy carbs - the results will speak for themselves.

For anymore advice then please contact us through our Website or Facebook page. If anyone wants their actual personal Total Daily Energy Expenditure (your individual, actual total daily calorie intake - for your body based upon your lifestyle and other indicators) worked out, then we can include this in our 1-2-1 sessions.

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