December 2009
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It is important to know healthy weight loss facts. It can sometimes be hard to tell what is real from what is fake. I have had clients who have, in the past, spent many thousands of dollars on what can only be called weight loss scams.

Weight loss and fat loss is a MULTI-BILLION dollar industry. In the United States alone, this industry is estimated to be worth over 100 Billion US dollars in the year 2007. That is one country, in one year!

The truth is, the weight loss and fat loss market is so incredibly huge, that it is possible to be profitable by simply selling a scam and leaving a customer or client disappointed, upset, frustrated and worst of all… too scared to try again. Thus damning them to a life of poor health and low quality.

So what is it about fat loss vs weight loss? If you search for either of these terms in an online search engine, you will get millions of hits. Many from the same websites. It may seem slightly obvious to some, but fat loss and weight loss are not the same.

I say that I can help a person “lose weight” simply because weight loss is what most people commonly ask for and it is a term they easily understand. But as soon as I get the chance, I educate them that FAT LOSS is the key issue not weight loss. Once you start reading the articles on this site, it will become very clear that I don’t actually care about weight loss. Why is this so?

Fat Loss vs Weight Loss: Round 1

Weight loss simply means “being lighter on the weighing scale” (scale weight). While it’s true that overweight people do tend to carry a lot of fat, we cannot just consider “scale weight” when we set goals for ourselves. I don’t care that much about my client’s scale weight. I couldn’t care less if they lost 30 pounds. 20 or 40 or even NONE would have been fine as well. Why is that? The simplest way I explain it to people is as follows:

You see, most of us want to look good and perform well, whether in daily tasks, or as an athlete who needs to control their own body to play a sport well. In general, this means having more muscles and less fat.

Fat doesn’t help us at all in most sports, muscles do.

Fat doesn’t look good on our hips, thighs or tummies, muscles do.

Fat Loss vs Weight Loss: Round 2

In general almost all of us need to gain some muscle and lose some fat to get to our fitness goals. Here is where scale weight comes in. Muscles have a large amount of water in them. Fats well… they are fats. Have you ever seen oil (fats) and water (muscles) in the same glass? Which one floats? Yup it’s the oil. Oil is less dense that water. It takes up less space. Fat is about 20% less dense than muscle (0.9g/ml vs 1.1g/ml) if you want to be calculative about it.

Fat Loss vs Weight Loss: Round 3

In practice all this means that if you are following a good exercise and diet plan, you can gain muscles and lose fat at the same time. The increased muscles will offset the “weight loss” from the reduced fat resulting in a “disappointing” change in scale weight. This can be discouraging but in reality it’s great news!

So if scale weight doesn’t matter, what then should we look for to check our progress? I look for 2 things.

Appearance: This can be easily seen: “hey my arms don’t jiggle when I wave at my friends”. Easily touched: “wow my stomach feels a lot firmer now”. And changes easily measured via fat measuring calipers. Seeing and touching is enough for most people to notice progress. Calipers just give a more consistent way to quantify it.

Performance: Simply put, you can do more with respect to your bodyweight if you are not carrying a lot of fat around. A good example is the chin-up. The chin-up exercise is all about strength to weight ratio. Fat doesn’t help at all. If a person increases his/her ability to lift their bodyweight, we can be pretty sure that they have gained some muscle and probably lost some fat.

Fat Loss vs Weight Loss: Round 4 Society as a whole has to get off the “weight loss” bandwagon and onto the “fat loss” one. Eating disorders, fad diets and slimming centers focus on weight loss. But usually the quality of their nutrition is doubtful, and they don’t do ANY proper training so the majority of the weight loss is muscle. It’s even shown that when we go on a lousy weight loss plan, to body PREFERS to lose muscle weight rather than fat weight because its biologically efficient to do so.

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