Sometimes the wording we use makes a problem harder to solve. Everyone says they want to lose weight. However, losing weight won’t necessarily get you where you want to be. Losing fat will. Understanding the distinction & acting on it will all the difference.
Why Losing Weight Isn’t the Answer
Even health care professionals like doctors and nutritionists send us the wrong message by using the wrong words. They talk about losing weigh when they should be talking about getting fit and reducing your body fat. This example will show you what I mean.
You and your identical twin go to the doctor for a physical. The doctor tells you that you’re both overweight and need to lose 20 pounds. Your twin decides to do exactly that, and starts on one of the popular weight loss diets.
You on the other hand, know that there’s a big difference between losing weight and losing fat. So you decide to follow a different path. Instead of concentrating on losing weight, you start eating healthier, more nutritious meals. You also get serious about that workout program you’ve been saying you were going to start, and begin lifting weights and running regularly. Since you know the difference between losing weight and losing fat, you’ve decided to concentrate on reducing your body fat percentage, rather than freaking out over your exact weight.
After six months, the two of you go back for another physical. They weigh you and give you all the usual tests, then sit you down to talk about the results. Your twin is smug, having lost even more than the 20 pounds the doctor suggested. You’ve only lost a few pounds, so your twin seems to have something to be smug about. However, the news the doctor gives you seems surprising. The doctor congratulates your twin on losing the desired amount of weight, but tells them that they still need to lose another 10 pounds. The doctor points out that you didn’t lose the 20 you were supposed to, but your test results are now excellent and you don’t need to lose anything more. How can that make any sense?
Fat Loss, Not Weight Loss, Is What Matters
Your twin followed the doctor’s literal advice to lose weight, while you concentrated on what’s important: getting fit and losing body fat. Just looking at your twin illustrates why weight loss isn’t what you should be after. They’re skinnier than they used to be. But they’re not toned, and are still looking kind of flabby. And you’ve also noticed that they have less energy than they used to, and honestly, they don’t look as healthy as they used to.
In their quest to lose a lot of weight fast, they succeeded in losing some fat. But they also lost some water weight and a lot of muscle mass too. As a result, the ratio of fat to lean tissue on their body (their body fat percentage) hasn’t changed much. It might even have gotten worse, leaving them with a higher body fat percentage than when they started losing weight.
Your situation is totally different. Sure, you didn’t lose the amount of weight the doctor recommended. But all the exercise and good eating you’ve been doing has given you more muscle and left you in much better condition. And even though the number on the scale hasn’t changed much, you can somehow fit into those old jeans that were too tight just a few months ago. And you don’t look flabby anymore.
Now look at you. You’ve only lost a few pounds. But you’ve added some muscle to your frame and lost a good bit of body fat. Your body fat percentage has improved a lot. You also don’t look flabby anymore. You look toned and fit. Plus you’re full of energy.
Get The Difference Right
It should now be clear why just focusing on losing weight is a bad idea. This focus is a huge part of the reason why so many people are fat and unhappy with themselves. If everyone were to concentrate on getting fit and losing fat, instead of watching some number on their bathroom scale, we would all be a lot fitter. But at least you know what you need to do. Just find yourself a quality fitness program and follow the instructions. The program will cause you to start eating better and exercising properly. Soon you’ll be burning off your excess body fat and getting fitter by the day.