The diet industry is saturated with literally thousands of pills, plans and procedures that all claim to do the exact same thing: make you lose weight. While it is common for people to notice some results early on, most cases ultimately leave the frustrated dieter back where they started -disappointed, discouraged, and sometimes even heavier than before!
This struggle is indicative of one of the most prominent misunderstandings about achieving life-changing health and fitness. This article will explain the important difference between weight loss and fat loss.
What is Weight Loss?
If you have ever gone on a flash diet, lost weight only to gain it right back, or starved yourself to get results you are one of the many frustrated dieters in the weight loss category. The first important thing to understand about weight loss is a break down of the words. Weight really refers to the mass of your entire body; your bones, your organs and your fluids all count as weight that your body is carrying. Knowing this, it is pretty easy to deduce how diet programs make you lose weight.
Most diets operate by significantly reducing or eliminating your intake of carbohydrates, which, by design, are used by your body to store and hold water. Remember, roughly 60% of your body weight is just water. So, when your water-storage is depleted, the water has nowhere to go but out of your body and you lose weight. That doesn't sound like a very reliable weight loss plan does it? It raises too many questions about dehydration and other potentially harmful symptoms. And most of the time the water weight you lose isn't all that significant; maybe 10-15 pounds maximum and it's only a matter of time before it comes right back.
What is Fat Loss?
Now we know what weight is, and most of us have a pretty good idea of what fat is already, so let's elaborate on what we know. Excess fat, whether it's on our bellies, legs or arms is a nuisance and can be a significant threat to our health. In other words, it's fat that overweight people want to lose more than just any kind of weight.
The best way to gauge our fat is through determining our body fat percentage. For women, a healthy range is between 20-35% and for men it's between 8-22% depending on age. It's a valuable tool because it helps you understand where you are and where you need to go to achieve real and lasting fat loss. Losing fat mass is what makes you leaner and more athletic. Further, losing fat improves virtually all aspects of your general health, especially your metabolism, which makes it harder for the weight you've lost to return!
Let's conclude with a revision of the key points
- Weight Loss and Fat Loss are two different things
- Losing water weight actually makes your weight problem worse in the long and short term. It leaves you hungrier and more likely to go back to poor eating habits that make you gain weight.
- Reducing your body fat percentage will yield the physical improvements you seek and improve your overall health.