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Weight Loss is Not Fat Loss, What’s the difference?

Many people who are trying to lose weight fail to make the distinction between weight loss and fat loss. A big mistake, since weight loss and fat loss are not interchangeable terms.  Misunderstanding that there is a major difference between weight loss and fat loss often leads people to fitness frustration and stagnation. In order to really achieve your optimal body and health, you need to have a proper understanding of how everything really works so let’s start by getting a better understanding of the difference between losing weight and losing fat.

Fat loss is not about how many kilos you lose, how much you weigh on the scale—fat loss is about getting rid of body fat and inches in the right places while maintaining a good muscle mass. Weight loss, on the other hand, is literally only about how much you weigh. It does not care about whether or not your body weight is made up of fat or muscle—only the kilos count.

The biggest red herring in physical fitness is the numbers on the scale. Your weight is not what defines your fitness. Muscles weigh more than fat, so sometimes you may have a lower weight but still look flabby and out of shape. Many people focus solely on their weight as a sign of their fitness progress and become exasperated that they aren’t looking any better even as their kilos go down. Some people stop focusing on building muscle mass (the right thing to do) because they see that their kilos are going up.

Both of the approaches to fitness mentioned above betray the fact that many people do not understand how their bodies work.  Your body has two stores that it uses for energy: fat and muscle. When your caloric intake goes down, your body selects one of these stores to use for energy. If you are not working to build muscle through physical fitness, your body will turn to the muscle stores for energy and leave you stuck with excess fat. Fat weighs less than muscle and so losing muscle means that you may weigh less, but still have that pesky stomach overhang.

The way to ensure that you get fit, lose fat and retain your muscle is by combining a healthy diet with regular exercise. Crash dieting is the perfect recipe for fat disaster—without the exercise it needs, your body will eat away at your muscle for energy and leave you stuck with flab (and frustrated beyond belief).  Don’t cheat by crash dieting or taking diet pills. Get fit the healthy way by working out, eating right and understanding how your body works to avoid excess fat that won’t go away.

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