Anyone who is looking to shed a few pounds, usually claims they want to lose weight. But do you really want to lose weight?! It is actually quite easy to lose weight, contrary to popular belief. To lose weight, you simply need to weigh less on the weighing scales. This can be achieved in many ways; reducing portion sizes, reducing calories, wearing different clothing even. Although most people claim they want to lose weight, most actually want to lose fat. You should be looking to preserve as much muscle as possible and lose body fat.
Is there a difference in weight loss and fat loss?
Weight loss is a decrease in overall body weight. This weight can include, muscle, fat, and water from the body. That’s it. Weight loss is simply a loss of overall body weight. Fat loss is a reduction in body fat. Reducing body fat is what most people want to achieve. Fat loss is more specific than weight loss. We can lose body fat by reducing calories, just like with weight loss. But the quality of food we consume for fat loss is more important. We need to be more specific about our macronutrient intake, i.e. protein, carbohydrate and fat intake. Fat loss cannot be achieved alone by diet. A good resistance program is important to build and preserve muscle. A resistance program includes weights. Just because you are lifting weights, you are not going to turn into a body builder. People only increase weight and build muscle like this if they are in a calorie surplus, and a big calorie surplus at that. Lifting weights will simply mean you are retaining muscle. The more muscle we have, the more calories our body will burn.
Types of body fat:
There are different types of fat in the body. We have essential body fat, which believe it or not, we need. Essential body fat is the fat found within the body that is essential to the normal structure and optimal function of the body. We also have non-essential body fat, which is fat in the body that we don’t need. This is the fat stored in adipose tissue. It is also called storage fat. Non-essential fat is the fat we want to lose during fat loss.
How can we measure weight loss and fat loss?
Weight loss is measured quite easily. A general weighing scales will tell us our weight. From this you can see if you have lost body weight or not. But remember, this figure is not interpreted using a scale. The scales do not tell you if your weight is healthy or unhealthy, it doesn’t tell you where you hold weight on your body, and it doesn’t account for muscle mass. Measuring body fat gives a more specific result. It gives us the percentage of body fat in our bodies, which we can interpret from body fat charts. Body fat percentage can be measured using anthropometric measurements.
What are the best methods to lose fat?
To lose fat, a negative energy balance needs to be created. You need to be consuming less calories than you expend. This is the main component to losing weight and body fat. This can be achieved by reducing portion sizes or tracking calories. To lose body fat you also want to maintain or increase lean tissues. This doesn’t mean you have to look bulky. When people claim they want to ’tone up’, they are referring to building muscle and losing body fat. Muscle is less energy dense than fat in the body. Muscle takes up less space in the body than fat does. If you lose body fat, and gain muscle you will instantly look much slimmer and more ‘toned’. A healthy weight loss is a weight loss of 1-2lbs a week. This will vary depending on how much a weight person has to lose. It can take years to build the fat accumulation in the body, so don’t expect to lose the weight so quickly. Weight loss must be sustainable. Rapid weight loss can have serious health consequences such as heart disease and secondary diabetes. Rapid weight loss can also result in losing lean body mass. By losing weight quickly, even if you are on a resistance training program, can mean you are losing fat, but also losing muscle. Don’t forget how important muscle is for our body composition and for the ability to burn more calories.
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