Weight loss and Fat loss, what’ s the difference?

Although they may look the same at first glance Weight loss and fat loss are quite different!

You can lose weight without losing fat. And you can also lose fat without losing much weight.

But just because your doing one, doesn’t mean you’re doing the other. Let’s face it — most people are not that bothered about losing weight, what they really is to lose fat!


Your Body Weight

Your body weight is made up of your entire being, not just your body fat alone. How much you weigh has nothing to do with who you are as a person, your self-worth, or anything else outside of how much the scale reads out when you step on it.

You might use kilograms, pounds, stone, or some other method, but it’s all the same.

Therefore, your body weight is a mixture of the following:

  • Water
  • Muscle
  • Bone
  • Connective tissue
  • Nerve
  • Skin
  • Internal organs

So when looking at your body weight only, we can’t accurately assess your body composition.

Body composition is the proportion or percentage of fat and fat-free mass in the human body.

What Is Weight Loss?

Weight loss is a reduction in your body weight, regardless of the means of how you go about losing that weight.

Weight loss can come from any of the following bodily functions:

  • Sweating (it’s not uncommon to see people losing upwards of 10 pounds after a long run or workout where they sweat a lot)
  • Peeing (just like sweating, this is water loss)
  • Pooping (yes, your poop has weight)
  • Fat burning (more on this in a second)

Recap: Losing weight is not the same as losing fat. From the example, see how you can lose water weight through sweating or going to the toilet and recognise that this doesn’t mean you lose fat!


What Is Fat Loss?

Fat loss is as it sounds, losing the fat in and around your body. This predominantly happens through diet and exercise. Fat loss almost always happens in conjunction with weight loss due to the nature of how the body works in terms of energy balance and energy expenditure.

Fat loss happens through a reduction in calories ingested, either through eating less than you normally do, through exercise, or a combination of the two.

Fat loss is a product of what’s known as a calorie deficit. In short, everyone has a baseline level of calories that is required to maintain their body weight. This is known as your maintenance caloric intake.

In order to lose fat, you have to eat less than what it takes to maintain your body weight. This is the primary way fat loss happens.


Why Losing Weight Doesn’t Mean You’re Losing Fat

Often people will often confuse fat loss with weight loss. The vast majority of clients who come to me and say “I want to lose weight” almost universally mean to say that they want to lose fat and look leaner.

Losing weight alone is no guarantee you’ll lose body fat, there are many factors involved I fatloss, including your macronutrient intake.

In fact, there are a lot of people who lose weight relatively quickly and they’re convinced they’re losing a lot of fat when in reality, they’ve lost mostly water and muscle size because they’ve recently manipulated their water and carbohydrate intake.

Fat Loss Vs. Weight Loss FAQ’s

Here is a list a=of commonly asked questions I get asked regarding weight loss vs fat loss

Can you lose fat and not weight?

Yes this is possible and it all depends upon your current conditions, your training methods and macronutrient intake. Commonly people will lose weight as well as losing fat.

Does burning fat make you lose weight?

Yes, in most cases because body fat is a part of your body mass. When you burn body fat, you will almost always lose weight unless you happen to build muscle at the same time that you burn the body fat.

How much fat do you lose when you lose weight?

This is almost impossible to answer as when you lose body weight, you’re not only losing fat, but you’re also losing water that’s stored in the fat cells, and you’re depleting muscle glycogen, which also contains water.

How can I lose body fat instead of weight?

The only way to lose body fat instead of body weight is to build muscle at the same time. The best way to make this happen is to lift weights and to follow a progressive strength training program while putting yourself into a caloric deficit to lose body fat.

Why do I feel thinner but weigh the same?

It’s because you lost body fat but maintained or gained some muscle, so your body weight remained the same.

Why do I look thinner but weigh more?

This is because you’ve lost body fat and gained muscle. Muscle mass tends to be dense and hard-looking compared to how fat looks on the body. Fat is deposited on top of the muscle, and beneath the skin, so when you reduce your body fat, the muscles underneath are more defined and create a thinner look overall.

Is it better to lose inches or weight?

In general, it’s best to lose inches while losing body weight because this is a sure sign you’re losing body fat, not muscle mass.

Why does my weight fluctuate throughout the day?

Most people’s body weight will fluctuate throughout the day because we all drink water, other beverages, and eat food between the time we wake up and the time we go to sleep. When we go to sleep, we’re spending a period of time in a fasted state and most of the weight loss that happens overnight is from water loss. Every time we exhale, we’re losing a tiny bit of water vapor, which contributes to dehydration.