Weight Loss vs Fat Loss- Are You Really Losing Fat?

The purpose and goal of beginning a diet is to lose weight. We often track progress using the scale. Seeing the scale go down a couple of pounds lets us know we are doing well, right?

 

Not necessarily. The word is self-explanatory- weight loss- you will lose weight. The weight lost is not all fat. Fat loss is what we really want when we embark on a diet and workout regime.

 

There are three explanations for weight loss, while you will be losing fat, you will also be losing muscle and water.

 

People often focus too much on what the number on the scale is. But as I mentioned the weight you are losing is not all fat.

 

Water Loss

 

When you first begin your new regime, the first few pounds you lose will be water weight.

The cause of the loss of water is a result of the reduction in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates retain around three times as much water as any other type of macronutrient.

 

Furthermore, a lot of these short-term fad diets that promote fast weight loss do offer results. However, the thing most people do not realise is that most of that weight if not all is water weight.

 

Losing water weight makes you feel thinner and therefore less puffy,  the changes are often short-lived, as no improvements have been made inside.

 

Along with losing water weight, you are also losing muscle. Water makes up 70 percent of our muscles, as a result, the tissue adapts to the dehydration and lack of water being retained, in turn, the muscles begin to shrink and start to atrophy.Not only does the lack of water in the muscle cause the muscle to break down, but it also changes the whole metabolic dysfunction of BMR and insulin sensitivity begins to decrease, which often comes with losing muscle.

 




 

Muscle Loss

 

Losing weight requires a caloric deficit, therefore, you will be restricting your calories. Muscle maintenance and growth requires stimulation but also plenty of calories. Thus, if your primary goal is to lose weight, it is inevitable that you will lose muscle weight too. Caloric restriction also inevitably means that you will reduce macronutrients such as protein, which is necessary for muscle repair and growth.

 

A loss of muscle also decreases your insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a key hormone made in the pancreas and it is involved in the process that determines how well your body absorbs nutrients. Poor insulin sensitivity will result in the nutrients consumed being turned into fat cells rather than sent to muscle cells.

 

Fat Loss

 

Pure fat loss and knowing your potential burn rate is more difficult than you think, it is more complicated than the formula; calories in vs calories out. So while we know that having more muscle helps you burn more fat (the breakdown of fat lipids and triglycerides from the food you eat or from fat stored in the body mostly occurs in the mitochondria of the muscles). It is also known that exercise helps with fat loss. Exercise increases whole body fat oxidation. Simply knowing what you BMR and caloric intake is, is not enough to calculate how much fat you will lose per week. This is because many other factors come into play and can affect this process, such as hormones, endocrine functions biochemical reactions.

 

How Do You Know?

 

The average goal of weight loss is two pounds per week. If you lose more than two pounds in a week, you are losing more than just fat. It is important to note that fat loss takes time, you cannot expect to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks and expect it to all be fat. Losing a significant amount of weight in a short space of time, you can guarantee that the vast majority of the weight lost is water, with a little bit of muscle, and fat.

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