There seems to be a worldwide obsession on fitness and keeping off excess weight. Men and women alike have been on the lookout for every new and pioneering diet and exercise program that might work for them in what they think is their battle against unwanted weight.
Recently however, fitness experts have been saying that people have been approaching fitness the wrong way. Most weight loss and diet programs are intended to lose one’s weight but fitness experts are now recommending that people should now focus on losing excess fat instead.
It is the excess body fat that should be targeted to be lost as this is the main cause of a variety of serious diseases such as hypertension, heart attack, stroke and diabetes to name a few.
Also, when a person loses weight rapidly through a change in eating habits and new fitness programs, this weight loss is mainly from water and a little fat loss.
It could be that people really do not know the difference between weight loss and fat loss. They might be aiming for fat loss all along but have been going about their fat loss diet plan the wrong way.
After reading this article, you will be able to know that there is indeed a difference and it will help you realize what you should be aiming for and how to go about it in the right and healthier way.
What is weight loss?
In relation to physical fitness, weight loss is a decrease in a person’s total body mass due to the loss of body fluid, fats, muscle, tissues, tendon and other connective tissues.
Weight loss can happen to a person either due to a conscious effort to improve overall fitness and health or it can be unintentional as in cases of it being the result of an illness or disease.
For purposes of this article, we will refer to intentional weight loss when we speak of weight loss.
Body weight in itself is not bad, it is in fact just the sum of a person’s bones, organs, muscles, body fat and water in the body.
You really do not want less of any of these as they are all vital for the body to function properly and yes, that includes body fat.
It is the excess fats in the body that we need to eliminate.
In their efforts to lose weight rapidly, most people do away with the vitamins and minerals that they actually need in order to survive.
If the body does not get proper nutrients, it has no choice but to break down muscles and other body organs to keep on functioning.
You could end up harming your body instead of losing the excess fat that you should be aiming for.
What is fat loss?
Fat loss is lowering the amount of fat that is carried by the body. A lot of people are not really aware of how useful fat is to the body such as it can be used as insulation to protect the body from the cold and heat and that it helps transport nutrients across the body’s cell membranes.
Excess fat in the body, however, is a problem and should be eliminated as it makes the heart work harder in pumping blood throughout the body.
Healthy fat percentages for the body are 18-25 percent for women and 12-20 percent for men.
It is important to know that losing weight does not mean losing fat. Losing weight basically is burning calories more than taking in calories in your body.
However, the calories that you are trying to burn may not be coming from fat and you are more likely be burning muscle.
Loss of muscle will result into slowing down of the body’s metabolism.
The result therefore would be a weight loss due to a lower body mass and not because of fat burned.
However, it is possible to look leaner or thinner but without a weight drop.
This can happen if you lose body fat but develop muscles.
Your weighing scale may not be registering a change but you will be aware of more developed muscles and lost inches in your body.
Contrary to popular belief, excess fat does not find its way only in the belly and stays there.
In fact, fat that could easily be seen can be stored in the hips, buttocks, thighs and of course the abdomen.
There is also the kind of fat that is so deeply inside or around the body’s vital organs such as the heart, lungs or liver that it can hardly be noticed from the outside.
This is the kind of fat which, if there is too much of, is actually a bigger problem that even thin people can have too much of it without them even knowing.
After reading the above information, there should no longer be a question in anybody’s mind that to lose fat rather than to lose weight is what should be aimed for.
Weight loss can mean muscle loss and after dieting and exercising for some time in the hope of losing weight fast, the body reaches a certain stage that it has to defend itself against the weight drop.
The body’s metabolic rate slows down resulting to fewer calories burned in the face of an extreme diet plan.
When muscle mass is sacrificed by the body to protect itself from further weight loss, you also become lethargic and forced to reduce physical activities in order to conserve energy.
On the other hand, fat loss could mean less chance of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. You will also have a boost in self confidence and self esteem.
If becoming a healthier person is really your goal, you should really focus on a fitness program and diet that will eliminate fat rather than seeing the numbers drop in the weighing scale.
Other reasons on why we should refocus to fat loss rather than weight loss are:
- Weight loss can result to loss of muscle mass as well. Muscles need energy to perform and the body, protecting itself from hunger and dramatic weight loss, may attack the muscles instead. With the wrong fast weight loss tips, the body may end up burning the muscles in order to feed itself but at the same time store body fat for emergency or self preservation. We do not want that to happen as we want to lose excess fat than muscle.
- As muscle mass is reduced, a decline in the body’s metabolism occurs and fewer calories are burned. As the body is busy feeding off the muscles to use as fuel, the fat just sits in storage. Burning fat on the other hand can jumpstart metabolism and if metabolism is high, more calories are burned.
- Weight loss can be misleading and confusing. Weight loss can only be loss of muscle or water. Water loss can be expected in the initial weight loss especially if diuretics and laxatives are used to supplement a weight loss program. The loss in water can also come from the sweat during workouts and exercises. When a person loses fat however, it is visible with the development of lean muscles and looser fit in the clothes we wear. There is also a certain lightness and agility in movement. In fact, there are athletes who aim for zero fat to maximize their performance.
- Rebound weight gain can be expected even after a significant weight loss. This is especially true if the weight loss was a result of just water loss. Water retention can increase weight even if a person does not gain a single ounce of fat.
People often become so wrapped up and obsessed in their desire to lose weight that they follow what they wrongly believe to be rapid fat loss tips and ignore the side effects of excessive weight loss. Some of these are:
- Infertility – rapid and excessive weight loss can prevent the body from producing hormones needed for pregnancy and some women experience absence in menstruation
- Hair Loss – essential nutrients and vitamins are needed by the body for hair growth which may be absent in the body during a weight loss diet
- Sagging and Stretched Skin – After a massive weight loss, the skin may not be able to return to its normal elasticity that leaves a large amount of excess skin in the body
- Gallstones – the balance of bile and cholesterol in the blood may be disturbed after weight loss and may result in the hardening of cholesterol in the gallbladder. These are what we know as gallstones and they may cause some vital organs such as the liver, bladder and pancreas to be inflamed.
No matter how much you want to lose weight in the most efficient and fastest way, there are some things you should avoid to prevent excessive weight loss which will do more harm than good to your body.
- Fad diets and diet pills – You should commit to a healthier lifestyle to make the weight loss permanent instead of a quick fix and to prevent gaining rebound weight.
- Trying to lose weight too fast – It is recommended to lose only 1 to 2 pounds a week to make your weight loss healthy. A quick drop in weight is actually just water and muscle instead of fat. A slow and steady weight loss should be aimed for.
- Emotional eating – Some people eat not to satisfy hunger but turn to food for comfort and to relieve stress. One must be aware of your emotional eating triggers that would lead you to overeat and respond to the eventual weight gain by engaging in unhealthy diet plans for weight loss.
- “One size fits all” diet and fitness programs – Each person has a different pace in losing weight. Some may lose a lot of weight during the initial stages while others might take longer before they experience results. It should also be remembered that the weight you lose is not constant and often not immediate.
The weight loss industry is a huge business and every month, a new fad diet or program is hitting the bookstores and get many hits on the internet.
Whatever new comes out, the most dangerous misconception about weight loss should be done away with and that is, weight loss is not the same as fat loss.
Judging from consumer feedback of muscle loss, rebound weight gain and short term results, it can be said that weight loss programs that abound the market now really makes you lose weight with significant side effects and not excess fat which should be the case.
With this scenario, before going into a weight loss program, one must consider the following factors in choosing a weight loss program that helps in fat loss rather than weight loss:
- What does the weight loss program offer and require – good fat burning workouts would require you to make positive and healthy lifestyle changes and helps you to be physically active by providing exercise instructions. Inquire if you need to purchase special food and/or food supplements. It will not only teach you to lose weight and how to burn fat but educate you on how to keep the weight off
- Qualifications of the people behind the weight loss program – ask the experience, education and training of the people who will supervise you with the program
- Risks involved in participating in the program – ask if there are any risks in doing the program or if there is any way that you could be harmed. Be sure that there is a health care professional who can ensure your safety.
- The cost of the weight loss program – some programs require fees for medical tests, follow-up fees after a successful weight loss, food and supplement purchase, etc. on top of the initial cash you pay upon joining the program.
- Results and feedback that the weight program have – successful weight loss programs often publish or make known the results and testimonials of past participants. You can more or else have realistic expectations of the program.
Strict diets often make promises of a quick way in giving you the body of your dreams by limiting intake of certain foods or nutrients. While it is true that they may help you succeed, it is only for a short time and not for the long haul.
They can however be harmful to your health as they can deprive the body of the benefits of certain food groups like high carbohydrate foods that are restricted in the diet plan.
These diets can also slow down the metabolism which can cause you to gain back the weight you lost once you return to a normal diet. Strict diets may help in weight loss but not fat loss.
A good and healthy fat loss diet plan provides healthy eating tips that will result in fat loss and can limit calorie intake, but at the same time provides the body with the essential nutrients with a healthy amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Even if weight loss plateaus are experienced, you should not stop adhering to the diet plan as this is just a normal phase in every weight loss program and remember that these plateaus are temporary.
A good diet plan will teach you how to make intelligent food choices that will result into your having healthier good food habits and behaviour.
It should also be safe and free from harmful side effects. Most of all, a good diet plan should fit your lifestyle.
According to experts, one easy fat loss tip is that a healthy diet coupled with 60-minute daily moderate exercises can help in fat loss and can effectively help in weight management.
Exercise can keep the body’s metabolism going which makes the body continuously burn calories and prevent it from going to a fat-storing mode that promotes weight gain.
Remember, fat loss is about burning calories more than you take in the body.
If more calories are taken in than burned, you gain fat. Weight loss without exercise makes the body lose lean muscles that are vital in increasing metabolism.
What is a good workout plan?
Consider the following factors in choosing a good workout plan:
- Know where to start – choose a program tailored to where you are at in your fitness program. Choose a program for beginners if you are just really a beginner and not force yourself to do what others who have been exercising for years are doing. Usual exercises for beginners are the basics like lunges and push ups.
- Know about the people who developed the workout plan – research on their qualification, education and training. Take into consideration customer feedback and results from past participants of the program
- Make sure that the program fits your schedule and lifestyle – most people quit their fitness programs not because they find them difficult or unrealistic but that they could not just fit the routine in their schedule. So if you are a morning person and can exercise before going to work, schedule a morning workout.
Supplements and Diet Pills
Much like any chronic condition like diabetes and high blood pressure, use of drugs may be appropriate to be used for weight loss. Diet pills to lose fat however, cannot cure obesity and should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise for a successful weight loss.
There are two types of weight loss drugs in the market and these are appetite suppressants and fat absorption inhibitors.
An appetite suppressant can cause weight loss by giving a person the feeling of fullness, can make food less appealing, and can aid in burning calories. They trick the body into thinking that it is full and not hungry.
Fat absorption inhibitor prevents fat from being absorbed by the body by as much as 30%. The unabsorbed fat is eliminated from the body thru bowel movement.
Weight loss pills in the market are not regulated and because of this, they are considered as nutritional supplements and not drugs.
They are not required to be tested independently and as such, can be marketed as weight loss products. It therefore lies upon you to choose the best diet pill that could work for you.
It is important though to talk first with your doctor especially if you are being treated for some chronic illness before taking any diet pill.
- Limit your choices on diet pills that have been researched and tested by reputable institutions. Some diet pills and supplements such as green tea, chromium and chitosan have been certified as likely to be safe to be taken.
- Consider taking fat blockers first instead of appetite suppressants as the former can be bought over the counter. Fat blockers also allow you to eat even high-fat foods but prevent the body from absorbing the fat.
- Make sure that the diet pills you are buying do not contain active components that have been previously declared as unsafe and even dangerous to the body by medical practitioners.
- At all cost, avoid pills that promise unbelievable or miraculous results. Remember the saying that if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Without good diet and exercise, immediate weight loss is impossible to achieve.
Most people embark on a fitness program in order to lose weight but more often than not have to pay the price of weight loss with harmful side effects or unhealthy results as they forget that it is more important to lose fat instead.
It should be everyone’s goal lo lose fat and at the same time develop muscle mass.
As we have repeatedly mentioned here at FitnessMilestone.com, people are often misled into thinking that it is fat that they are losing while all along, it is just water or more unfortunate, muscle mass.
Fat loss is healthier and longer lasting than just weight loss.
Crash diets, unregulated diet pills and exercise fads are not the healthiest ways to lose weight. After a while, these will only leave you disheartened with your fitness regimen.
However, you are in the right direction if what you are aiming for is fat loss rather than weight loss.
There should be nothing to stop you from trying out the combination of a diet and exercise plan together with the best fat loss supplements as long as they have the credibility and track record of helping people to lose fat.
There is no doubt that you will have the body of your dreams.