Losing Weight or Losing Fat — Which to Aim For?

The great debate for many, weight loss vs fat loss; which is better or which should we strive/monitor and so forth.

Usually, people claim that they want to lose weight by shedding a few pounds. To lose weight, the determiner is to weigh less every time you weigh yourself on the scales. This can be achieved in a plethora of methods like eating less, controlling calories, abstaining from alcohol, and more.

The achievement tends to be weighing lesser than the last round, however, it is also prevalent that the pounds won’t budge as the body hits a plateau. This commonly stems from disappointment within these individuals, but they often forget (or did not realize) that muscle, fat, bone and water contribute to the number shown on the scale weekly.

What’s the difference between weight loss and fat loss?

Weight Loss
Weight loss is commonly associated with a slimmer physique, an increase in muscle tone, and a decrease in overall body weight. To achieve weight loss, an individual must lose muscle, fat, and water mass from the body.

Fat Loss
As compared to weight loss, losing fat is more specific as it is all about eliminating the fat stored in the body. This fat stored in the adipose tissues represents an energy storage deposit. It is then being converted to energy when the body lacks energy from usual sources like carbohydrates. In the most ideal situation, an individual should aim for maximum lipolysis (eg: the breaking down biological process of lipids and triglycerides) for energy conversion. This constitutes the theory of burning more fat when you have more muscle.

One important factor to consider is the food quality being consumed for fat loss. Put more emphasis on our macronutrient intake; such as protein, carbohydrates and fat intake as fat loss cannot be achieved through dieting only.

Does muscle weigh more than fat?
The answer is no. In fact, they weigh the same — one pound of muscle = one pound of fat. However, density is the differentiating factor when comparing comes to play. As one pound of muscle is four times smaller than a pound of fat, hence muscle takes lesser space in contrast to fat. This is why many people may observe that they are actually gaining weight while slimming down for a start.

How to measure weight loss and fat loss?

To measure weight loss, your good old trusty bathroom scale will do the trick. However, always remember that it is a highly generalized number that cannot determine your weight is healthy or not. The weight shown on the scale does not reveal or indicate where your body is specifically holding the weight and your muscle mass is left unknown.

In order to measure body fat, it uses anthropometric measurements to provide detailed information on the fat percentage and can be analyzed in the form of medical charts. The most common and traditional way to measure body fat is to use skinfold calipers. It helps to measure the thickness of subcutaneous fat (fat located underneath the skin) at certain body areas.

One can observe that the body fat amount differs dramatically from person to person. A solution to losing weight quickly is to focus on a fat-burning program and also improving your dietary habits. ‘Fat-burning’ means the ability to burn or oxidize fat and use this fat as fuel instead of carbohydrate. For successful weight loss, one should focus on preserving muscle while losing body fat at the same time. You should use your body fat percentage as the key indicator of your weight loss success, and not just the numbers reported on the weighing scale.

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