Weight Loss is a negative change in the total weight of the human body.
Fat Loss is a negative change in the total volume of adipose tissue (fat) in the human body.
The differences between burning fat and losing weight are abundant. The various tissues, solids, and fluids that make up your weight can be either essential or nonessential. Your body carries muscle, fat, blood, water, food, urine, feces, mucous, and other substances at all times, all of which add to your total weight.
Fat, however, is the adipose tissue that your body has stored for situations in which food is unavailable and it needs a source of energy to continue to carry out its standard bodily processes. The body makes adipose tissue from various substances, and the chief duty of an adipocyte (animal fat cell) is to store triglycerides.
Because the two are such different processes, losing weight vs. losing fat can be two very different health goals. To fully understand the differences when comparing weight loss and fat loss, we’ll examine in-depth what each term means.
We experience weight loss through a number of processes. We can lose weight by sweating, urinating, dehydrating, dieting, exercising, or even just by putting on and taking off clothes.
However, most people refer to a semi-permanent reduction in weight when referring to weight loss. Some of the major ways we lose permanent weight are through muscle loss, water loss, and fat loss.
Muscle loss occurs largely as a result of atrophy. Atrophy is the degeneration of body or organ tissue. It happens when we fail to use our muscles to complete tasks.
Like most tissue in your body, muscle regenerates when micro-tears occur following use of the muscle. When the body repairs the tears, the muscle becomes denser. Activation of certain muscle tissue also becomes more responsive as we continue to use those muscles.
When we neglect the use of muscles, they no longer need energy from the body and our brain begins to degenerate them to save on energy costs. Degeneration is accelerated by malnutrition. When muscles do not receive the nutrition they need for maintenance or growth, their cells die.
Dieters who do not eat the right food in recommended amounts may suffer from malnutrition and lose muscle weight quickly. However, muscle loss is not a healthy form of weight loss.
Nearly all bodily processes use water. It is essential to all life, and keeping our hydration at normal levels helps us feel healthier, stronger, more alert, and more capable. Our bodies store water in different places throughout the body, which can contribute to our overall size and total weight.
Dehydration can shed pounds quickly, but compromises the body’s systems. When dehydrated, the body may be incapable of running any one or more of our regulatory systems, including the immune system, cardiovascular system, or nervous system.
Water loss may seem better than weight loss or fat loss in the short term, as you may be able to dehydrate quickly to lose an inch or two from your waist, but you’re compromising your health to do so. Additionally, you will eventually have to recover the water you have lost, which will return you to your standard size immediately.
Fat loss is the utilization of stored adipose tissue to reduce the amount of available fat in the body. Fat loss and weight loss are often related, but the two are not always inclusive.
Physicians typically recommend a combination of diet and exercise to engage fat loss. Each fat loss method has a unique effect that, when combined, can lead to fat loss, weight loss, increased energy, raised alertness, and an enhanced sense of well-being.
Fat Loss Through Diet
A diet rich in high-nutrient foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and low in sugar and carbohydrates forces your body to start burning fat to process the nutrients it receives. Once your body reaches a healthy body fat percentage, usually 10-22% in men and 20-32% in women, it begins to use the nutrition it receives to power your body and stops storing fat like it previously did.
However, extreme diets cause more than weight loss or fat loss. If your body isn’t receiving real nutrition, especially in cases in which dieters begin to starve themselves, your body will also eat away at organ and muscle tissue to sustain itself. To maintain health, dieters should stick to plans provided by nutritionists and healthcare professionals without deviation. Supervised weight loss programs are a great way to ensure safety and health during a diet – Diet Doc’s medical weight loss programs are perfect for dieters looking for a safe way to achieve real weight loss success.
Fat Loss Through Exercise
Exercises engage the body’s energy expenditure processes, including the use of stored adipose tissue. Even walking requires the body to spend surprising amounts of fuel, which it can only get from the food you’ve eaten and stored energy sources such as fat.
Working out or playing sports are especially effective fat loss methods because they work on two different levels. When actively exercising, your body draws energy from fat, which removes the adipose tissue from your body. As a bonus, when you engage in intense exercise, you also create micro-tears in your muscle that must be repaired. Your body must use calories from food and stored fat to fuel the repair process. When doing so, your body continues to use up adipose tissue well after you stop exercising.
However, some men and women may notice that their progress with weight loss does not change despite fat loss from exercising. That’s because disciplined exercise often replaces fat tissue with muscle tissue, which is denser and tends to weigh more. In these cases, the lack of weight change is not negative. Instead, it indicates a positive shift between stored fat and increased muscle.
Which Is Better, Weight Loss or Fat Loss?
In almost all cases, your goal should be fat loss over weight loss. However, losing weight is not inherently negative. If you are actively exercising, dieting properly, gaining muscle, feeling healthier, and still losing weight, then you are successfully improving your health and quality of life.
When it comes to weight loss vs. fat loss, make fat loss your goal, and enjoy weight loss if it results from fat loss efforts you made. If you’re not sure where to start or looking for a way to achieve reaching your goals without risking your health, get in touch with one of the medical weight loss doctors at Diet Doc. Our weight loss specialists can provide a no-obligation consultation and will build a personalized diet plan for you that is built around your weight loss goals.