Myth: Weight loss and fat loss are the same thing.


Weight loss and fat loss are very different things.  

Obese with Measuring Tape
Obese with Measuring Tape

It is that time of the year and many of us have put on a few pounds during the winter and now we want to lose it for the summer.  Many of us use the term “weight loss” when we diet, but is that truly want we want to lose.  You don’t want to “lose weight”. “Losing weight” implies that you do not care what you actually lose because weight could be water, muscles, or fat.  This is a common faulty statement.  We really want to lose body fat and keep or increase muscle.  In fact, if you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight may end up unchanged or higher.  The best part about fat loss is that your waist will decrease no matter what your final weight is.    

If you lose fat, you will lose waist circumference which is a huge risk for heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.  Losing weight may end in too much muscle loss which will lower your metabolism.  If you want to be slim, you would be better off increasing your metabolism and increasing your muscle mass and thus weight.  Doing so, would increase your metabolism and decrease your waist as long as you did not also increase your body fat.     

The bottom line: Losing fat is what you need to do.  Increased waist circumference is a significant risk for heart disease and equivalents.  I recommend that you focus on waist circumference and not weight.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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