Losing Weight: Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
People are obsessed with losing weight. Often their whole lives revolve around what weight they are, and they will try fad diet after fad diet in an effort to shift the pounds. Many of these people don’t realize, that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not just about weight loss. Weight loss is not achieved through crash dieting and improper training and this is actually detrimental to your health.
The goal should be to lose body fat through correct nutrition and training, which will in turn vastly improve your overall health. Even though the scales may say you’re the perfect weight, your overall health may be suffering, and much of the weight loss could simply be muscle loss.
When people try to improve their fitness they often make mistakes with what they eat, or have misinformation about the correct nutritional plan. They need to be clear on what they need to eat, and what not to eat.
Another issue is that people are weighing themselves daily, and looking in the mirror daily to see if they notice any differences. This messes with peoples’ thinking and can affect progress badly. The problem is, if you have made good progress, you might reward yourself by indulging, but if you have not made progress it can affect your motivation to continue. Just stick to your routine and don’t worry about tracking your progress as much.
Have a look at this infographic created by Medilean for more information on how to get healthy the right way.
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WEIGHT LOSS vs FAT LOSS
Why the Scale isn’t the Best Indicator of Fitness
There is a big difference between losing weight and losing fat. Your goal should never be to lose weight, but instead should always be to lose fat. This is how you do it!
WEIGHT LOSS vs FAT LOSS: KEY DIFFERENCES
|WEIGHT LOSS||FAT LOSS|
|Weight Loss simply refers to a lower number on a scale. Time to celebrate, right? Not so much. That number represents the total sum in lbs. or kilograms of all your body parts.||Fat loss is a reduction in the amount of fat you carry in your body. So if you go from 25% body fat down to 20%, you’ve lost 5% fat in your body. Yes, now that would be time to celebrate!|
|= Muscle + fat + water loss||= Stored Body Fat Loss|
Reduced Risk of Diseases
WEIGHT LOSS vs FAT LOSS: What Am I Doing Wrong?
You still think Cardio is the answer
- Traditional cardio is bad for fat loss: it doesn’t burn enough calories and the more cardio you do, the better your body becomes at it. Soon, you’ll actually burn less calories than before with the same amount of work.
- Instead, do intervals. They burn more calories in the same amount of time, simulate more fat loss, and create a huge metabolic effect that can increase your fat burn hours after your workout.
You’re cheating all wrong
- Cheating is fine, but you still need to cheat correctly. During a calorie deficit, your leptin levels drop and these need to be restored.
- Leptin is a hormone that controls weight loss and defends against starvation.
- To restore your leptin, you need an occasional high-carb meal. The key phrase is “high-carb”, not “high-fat.” Brining on carb-heavy, high-fat foods will send nutrients to the fat cells and ruin your progress.
- Binging on carb-heavy, high-fat foods will send nutrients to the fat cells and ruin your progress.
You’re not eating enough protein
- Skimping on protein will slow your fat loss because your body actually burns more calories to digest protein than any other macronutrient.
- Protein also keeps you feeling full and maintains muscle mass while shedding body fat.
- In a study from the Journal of Nutrition, researches found that a high-protein diet also improved body composition, cholesterol markers, and insulin levels more than a diet of moderate protein, even while keeping calories the same.
- Make sure to eat at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight while dieting.
You’re not Getting Stronger
- Stop neglecting heavy strength training while trying to lose fat. During a calorie deficit, your body tends to lose muscle.
- Adding more muscle also increases your basal metabolic rate, which boosts the number of calories you burn throughout the day.
- The best way to prevent this is to train hard and heavy.
- When you work out, focus on building strength and size to combat any muscle loss by using lower reps (4 – 8) and higher weights.
You’re too Stressed
- Mental and physical stress limits fat loss because it elevates your cortisol.
- High levels of cortisol interfere with testosterone and growth hormone production, which reduces muscle growth, leads to fat gain (especially around the waist) and even weakens bones.
- Take time to relax and decompress from daily life with things like yoga, stretching, meditation, and breathing exercises.
- Also, make sure to take at least one day of rest per week from any exercise to prevent overtraining, which also spikes cortisol.
You’re not tracking what you eat
- If you don’t track what you eat, you’re hurting your fat loss. Food journals reveal exactly what’s going on in your body and what you need to change to improve things.
- Research has shown that there are significant associations between self-monitoring and fat loss.
- If writing in a journal is too tedious, take pictures with your smartphone and start a photo journal.
You’re not eating enough fat
- Stop cutting fat, you need it. In 2007, Australian researchers found that combining aerobic exercise with fish oil (which is fat) dropped much more body fat than exercise alone.
- French researchers also discovered that fish oil led to an extra two pounds of fat loss in just three weeks.
- Get your fats from healthy sources like olive oils, animal fats, avocados, coconut oils, and fish.
- Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated oils, which are not real fats, but man-made.
You’re not drinking enough water
- Almost 50% of Americans drink too little water.
- Even the smallest amount of dehydration cripples your fat loss because your metabolism will slow down to conserve water.
- Drink lots of water to keep your body functioning optimally-this can even help you burn more calories.
- A 2003 study from Germany found that drinking half a litre of water spiked metabolism by 30%.
You’re eating ‘healthy’ food that aren’t healthy
- Not all “healthy” foods are healthy-many use clever marketing tactics to get you to buy them.
- Things like “healthy” breakfast cereals can push as much sugar as a candy bar and some varieties of fruit juices have more calories and sugar than a can of soda.
- Also, many low-calorie options are filled with artificial sweeteners and oils to give them flavour and a natural texture, which could lead to numbers health problems.
- Go beyond the labels and scrutinize the ingredients.
- Challenge the myths. You don’t need many fat-free or cholesterol-free options because, in its unprocessed form, fat doesn’t make you fat and cholesterol doesn’t clog your arteries.
You’re cutting carbs
- Avoiding all carbs hurts your physical performance and fat loss. People who strength train several times a week absolutely need carbs to provide the energy to perform your best, build mass, and recover.
- Skipping carbs, however, will lead to flat workouts and missed muscle gains.
- To promote fat loss, eat carbs only on your strength training days and choose clean sources like sweet potatoes, whole grains, fruits, and quinoa.
HOW TO TRACK YOUR FAT LOSS PROGRESS
- Stop Weighing Yourself Daily. The daily fluctuations will mess with your motivation. Weigh yourself once every 2 weeks, not more.
- Stop Looking in the Mirror. Self-image issues can skew perception. Shoot full body pictures and compare them with old ones.
- Track Body Fat. Get a fat caliper and track your body fat every 2 weeks.
- Take Measurements. Girth measurements of your neck, chest, arms, waist & thighs. Waist should go down, rest should go up.
- Take Pictures. Full body pictures from ankle to neck, front/back/side, every 2 weeks. Compare with your previous pictures.
- Strength Stats. Log your workouts. Strength going up means muscle gains and strength training prevents muscle breakdown.
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