Weight loss and Fat loss: what’s the difference
Being in a world where society has commended lean bodies, it’s normal for people to say they wish to “lose weight”. But a personal trainer, Max Weber, pointed out in a recent Instagram post, they should probably be saying they desire to “lose fat” instead. Because “weight loss” and “fat loss” are completely different things.
“When we think about losing weight, we often focus on the number on the scale,” Max wrote.
“And while this number is a good benchmark for progress, it’s VERY imperfect. The reason for this is because the number on the scale (our weight) fluctuates ALL the time. Daily, hourly and even by the minute. This means that if you’re only monitoring your ‘weight’, you’re likely not seeing the full picture,” he continued.
As Max described, fat loss progress is far more “linear” than weight loss progress, with a far more constant development as opposed to a continually fluctuating one. Putting it into context, Max notes that “our body fat percentage or lean mass does not fluctuate in the instance where we drink a glass of water, or eat a big meal and then step on the scale — only our bodyweight does this.”
And he’s absolutely right. If youand weigh yourself again at the end of the day, there can be very different. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve actively put on all that weight in fat throughout the day. It’s water weight that causes your body weight to vary so intermittently.
Max’s point is a meaningful one when putting into perspective your expectations of yourself; it reminds us not just to go by the number on the scale, which usually leaves you feeling discouraged. “It’s awesome to track your bodyweight, but that’s not the full picture,” he wrote.
Preferably, the PT advises monitoring your body fat progress (ie. if losing fat is one of your goals) rather as a way of monitoring your progression.
Other things Max recommends paying attention to when it comes to evaluating your progress are:
- Progress pics
- How you look and feel
- How clothes fit
- Performance and energy
“Bottom line is this; as you make progress on your bodyweight and body fat and body composition goals, don’t rely on one variable as progress! Focus on multiple variables, because things like bodyweight are fluctuating all the time,” Max wrote
So when next you step on the scales and found out you’re a pound heavier than you were last week, acknowledge all the varying factors that could have taken part in this body weight figure, and don’t be so hard on yourself.