Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss

Greetings friends!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately you’re probably aware that obesity rates in America have increased in the last 20 years. In 2009 the CDC reported that state obesity rates were largely between 20%-30%. Only Colorado and the District of Columbia were less than 20% (they were a slim 18.6% and 19.7%, respectively).

If you’re like me and need to count on your fingers, this means that 1-2 people out of 5 in the United States are obese. Unfortunately, the trends for kids and young adults are the same.

With so much weight gained in the last twenty years, it’s no wonder America is obsessed with weight loss. But to transform your body properly we need to stay away from the hype and pay attention to the nuances of what works – like the difference between “weight loss” and “fat loss.” We need to work on losing the right kind of pounds.

I definitely didn’t do this during my bout with childhood obesity. But over eighteen years of successful trial and error, however, I’ve learned that to lose a few pounds, prevent obesity, or treat obesity we should work exclusively to lose fat – not weight. Keep in mind, “weight loss” refers to a total number of pounds lost; “fat loss” involves a more sophisticated body composition number (including fat, muscle, bone, tissue, etc.).

For example, I was 275 pounds at my heaviest and weighed in at 150 pounds after my transformation. Thus, I lost 125 pounds in total but also lost my shoulders, my neck, my arms, and my chest in the process – the butt stayed.  Seriously, though, about twenty pounds of my weight loss included lean muscle tissue. Had I understood and worked on fat loss, I would’ve transitioned from 275 pounds to a healthier 175 pounds. Make sense?

You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to understand and practice this technique. You do, however, need to be careful with certain diets and exercise plans so that you don’t lose your valuable lean muscle tissue or waste time trying to lose weight that won’t (or shouldn’t) go anywhere. You want to lose the fatty shell, not the beautiful body it covers up.  I was built like a runner under my fat suit.  What are you: dancer, swimmer, shot putter?

Here’s some tips:

1. Do regular cardio work within your fat burning zone (target heart rate)
2. Provide resistance for your muscles with weights or your body weight
3. Favor foods with protein and experiment taking in lower amounts of carbs

Try fat loss instead of weight loss and let me know if you need clarification.

Until next time,


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