Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
When people say their goal is to lose weight, they think they just want to see that number on the scale go down, but what they really want is to lose fat. Individuals tend to use the two terms interchangeably (fat loss and weight loss), but they are NOT the same thing.
Sure, if you lose fat you may also lose weight, but you may not. You can lose fat without losing weight on the scale, and you can lose weight on the scale without losing fat. If you lose a pound of fat, but simultaneously gain a pound of lean mass (lean mass being everything in your body that is not fat), then your weight on the scale won’t change, but your body fat percentage will go down, and your body composition will change. This means that your clothes will begin to fit better, and you may even more energy during the day and sleep better at night.
Your weight on the scale can be skewed by so different factors. Water retention, bloating, pee, poop, dehydration, menstrual cycle, muscle gain/loss, undigested food, and water will all impact your lean mass, and ultimately your weight.
Is it possible for you to lose ten pounds by tomorrow? It is, but those ten pounds are not fat, those ten pounds are WATER WEIGHT. So yes, if you stepped on the scale, you would be ten pounds lighter, but your clothes wouldn’t fit any differently, and you are just going to gain the weight right back when you drink water again. This is why “quick fixes” don’t work. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
The most goal is to picture an image of what you want to look like, not a weight on the scale. A 130-pound woman with 20% body fat is going to look way different than a 130-pound woman with 35% body fat.
Fat loss is not consistent. One week you could be down two pounds, the next week up one pound, then the week after down four. Consistency in your diet is a key component of fat loss, and under-eating can be just bad as overeating. You want to make sure you are providing your body with enough food (fuel) to function properly, which is why all three macronutrients are very important. For instance, because carbs are your body’s number one source of energy, if you are not consuming enough carbs, your body will need to find another source of energy that is nonessential to your body, muscle being one of those options. Consistency allows your body to easily shed body fat, rather than have your body go into a survival mode and hang on to that fat.
All in all, fat loss and weight loss are not the same thing. Although the scale is an easy tool to assess progress, it is not by any means the best tool to use. We need to get away from the idea that we want to lose weight, because upon taking many different factors into consideration, we realize how much our weight on a scale can be skewed. When it comes down to it, fitting into your favorite pair of jeans again is a much better victory than dropping ten quick pounds of water weight.