Weight loss is one of the hottest topics ever. Just about everyone has started a diet at some point, but are you really eating to get the results you want or is it just a craze and incredible marketing.

But really, what’s the difference between weight loss & fat loss?

People seem to use both terms interchangeably.

Hopefully, after reading this post you’ll understand the difference between weight loss & fat loss, but also which one you should aim for and how.


Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss. 
What’s the difference? Let’s start by defining weight loss & fat loss so you know what I mean here.

Weight Loss. You want to lower your body-weight, the sum weight of your bones, muscles, organs, body fat, …

Fat Loss. You want to lower your body fat, the amount of fat your body carries. Different Body fat percentages are healthy for men and women.


Problems with Weight Loss.
 If you want to lose weight, it’s most likely because you want to look different and change your body shape. There are people who must lose weight, like athletes before a competition, but most want fat loss. So, you should stop weighing yourself.

Unreliable. Your body-weight can fluctuate daily since it’s influenced by your stomach/bowel/bladder content, water loss/retention, muscle loss/gain, fat loss/gain, … You’ll have no idea what’s going on.

Irrelevant. 2 people with similar height can weigh the same but look completely different because one has lower body fat than the other. Check the picture for an example.


Here’s how the weight scale can mislead you. 
Clothes, mirrors & pictures don’t lie. Neither do fat callipers. But the weight scale can become your worst enemy by misleading you and killing your motivation.

Examples:

Carbs & Water. Carbs bind to water. So, eating less carbs will make you lose weight: water loss. Therefore, you can lose so much weight on a low carb diet in the first 2 weeks and it can be mostly water. Of course, increasing your carb intake will make you gain weight again: water retention.

Muscle Gains & Fat Loss. You’ll gain muscle while losing fat when you get into strength training. But on the weight scale it will look like you’re not making progress: your body-weight doesn’t change. Track your body fat % or start using a fat callipers and  see if your body fat is going down.


How to Make Sure You Lose Fat, Not Muscle? Muscle doesn’t weigh heavier than fat, but
5lbs muscle takes less space than 5lbs fat. That means you’ll look slimmer at the same body-weight by building muscle. Key is to losing fat, not muscle:

Get Stronger. Strength training builds muscle & prevents muscle loss. It also helps sticking to your diet. It also gives you the tight toned body figure, you could be looking for.

Eat Healthy. Eat whole unprocessed foods 80% of the time and eat less starchy carbs.

You can do cardio to speed up fat loss. But without strength training, cardio will cause muscle loss and you’ll end up skinny-fat. Avoid.


How to Track Progress Efficiently. 
You don’t need to track progress weekly, changes wouldn’t be drastic enough. I would track progress every 2 weeks.

  • 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.On the scales check your muscle % and fat % not just your weight.
  • Take Measurements.Girth measurements of your neck, chest, arms, waist & thighs. Waist should go down, rest should go up.
  • Shoot Pictures. Full body pictures from ankle to neck, front/back/side, every 2 weeks. Compare with your previous pics.
  • Strength Stats. Log your workouts. Strength going up means muscle gains and strength training prevents muscle breakdown, so it speeds up your metabolism and changes your body shape.
  • Listen also to what people say. They’ll notice your body change more than you will. Clothes will start to feel differently too.
  • You Might Not Want to Lose Weight. Dieters who want to lose weight can often change their mind once they’ve lowered their body fat. They realize they prefer to stay toned and firm and have a healthy body fat percentage.
  • Focus on fat loss A diet that helps you shred body fat can also help you lose weight.