Let’s Focus On Fat Loss, Not Weight Loss.
Oftentimes, people use the terms weight loss and fat loss interchangeably. However, they have decidedly different effects on the body and health. Weight loss is a drop in your overall poundage, which includes weight from muscle, water, and fat. Fat loss, on the other hand, is just a drop in body fat.
Losing fat is more beneficial than losing water or muscle, so it is helpful to know why we should care about body composition and how it affects weight loss and one’s overall health.
To better understand the difference between the two, let’s have a quick review about body composition. In essence, our bodies are made up of a few major components:
Having too much fat in proportion to lean muscle tissue contributes to obesity and ups your risk for chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Body fat percentage recommendations vary based on age, sex, and activity level. According to the American Council on Exercise, healthy body fat levels range from 14 to 31 percent for females and 6 to 24 percent for males — but only athletes should be at the low ends of those ranges.
Most of the time, when we talk about wanting to lose weight, we’re really talking about wanting to lose fat. This is not only because excess fat is potentially dangerous but also because you don’t want to get rid of muscle tissue.
Losing muscle can be detrimental, as muscle is a crucial component of your overall health. Muscle tissue gives you strength and actually helps your body burn more calories.
Additionally, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. This is the main reason why men generally have higher calorie needs than women.
In summary, emphasizing fat loss not only leads to overall weight loss, but it can also help decrease the risk of several chronic diseases, reduce the risk of age-related muscle loss, and reduce fat regain.
It’s common practice to track your weight loss progress using a scale. While this can be helpful, most scales don’t differentiate between fat loss and muscle loss. For that reason, tracking only your weight isn’t a reliable way to determine whether you’re losing fat or muscle and in what amounts.
A more accurate way to track your weight loss progress would be through a body composition scan using DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry). DXA scan – widely considered the gold standard procedure for body composition analysis – uses the latest high end technology to measure body fat, muscle, and minerals in the bones. The scan provides a detailed analysis of the body’s different tissue types, allowing individuals to see where weight loss is coming from (e.g., fat, muscle, or bone) and make adjustments to their diet and exercise routine as needed.
Contact DexaCan now to request an appointment and get closer to your healthier weight loss goals.