Wellness 2020: Fat Loss VS Weight Loss
Stepping on a scale can be a frightening experience. In fact, your day could be decided by a number you think is “good” or “bad.” But what if we skipped the scale and changed our entire outlook on why we’re working out? If we transform our thinking from weight loss and start thinking about fat loss, we’ll end up happier and healthier. And a number on the scale won’t hold us hostage.
What’s the Difference?
At first glance fat loss and weight loss seem like the same thing. Aren’t we dropping weight when we’re cutting calories and thereby losing fat? But being skinny and being healthy aren’t exactly the same. Think of it this way. Two people weigh 150 pounds but one has 40% body fat and the other has 10% body fat. The scale tells them they’re both 150 pounds but they are not equally healthy!
When you diet and just focus on weight loss, you are actually losing a combination of fat, muscle, and water. So, you don’t get a lot of the benefits of getting fitter and healthier. You will experience a decrease in fitness and strength, your metabolism will slow down and you’ll even see signs of early aging.
But when you train to lose your stored body fat, you are zeroing in on getting healthier and fitter. This in turn improves your health, reduces stress on the heart and will increase your metabolism. It will even fight aging in the process.
How to Get Fat Loss Focused
A scale is often our first and only tool when we start trying to get healthier. But instead of obsessing about numbers, ditch the scale (and the problematic BMI system). Instead try taking your measurements at your chest, waist, and thighs. Then, watch as those numbers shrink. Or snap a selfie before your workout each week or on the first of every month. You’ll be surprised by how much your body can transform without you realizing it.
Also, pay attention to what you are eating but don’t just count calories. For example, a gluten free diet may be best for your body. (Learn more about how the Whole 30 elimination diet can enhance your health here.)
In addition, keep track of your exercise and workouts in a journal and try to beat your best whether it’s running or sit ups. Also jot down how you feel each day and keep track of your mental wellness and see how it might be improving.
Keep Active, Not Reactive
By focusing on getting and staying active, you are keeping yourself from having to restart getting healthy over and over again. Try hitting 10,000 steps on your Fitbit or check out a Pilates class. This will keep your heart healthy.
As for your diet? Try to feed your body foods that fuel you (vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins) rather than the junk food that fuels illness. It’s this thinking that makes it fat loss as opposed to simply weight loss. And you’ll be well on your way to a leaner, healthier, happier you in 2020.