Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss – Yes, There is a Difference!

When trying to slim down, many people track their progress by stepping on the scale. Maybe you were happy by the low number you saw or suddenly became depressed because the number was higher than usual. We’ve all been there at some point, so don’t beat yourself up about it. However, stepping on the scale can be detrimental to your goal. The number on the scale doesn’t tell you much about your health; all it tells you is your relationship with gravity. There is a vast difference between weight loss (to which most people look at) and fat loss, read on to learn why you should be more focused on fat loss than weight loss. 

What is Weight Loss?

  • Weight loss is a decrease in one’s overall body weight, which can include muscle, fat, and water. All in all, weight loss is simply a loss of body weight. 
  • When you lose weight, you are losing more than just fat; you are losing lean body mass and body water. When you only focus on losing weight, you do not get to control how much of each you lose, which can be detrimental. For example, when you lose lean body mass, it directly influences the size of your basal metabolic rate, AKA, your metabolism. 

What is Fat Loss?

  • Fat loss, on the other hand, is a reduction of solely body fat. Most people strive to reduce body fat. 
  • It is important to note that there are two different types of fat in the body. 
    • First, there is essential body fat, which we as humans need. Essential body fat is stored in small amounts in the body’s organs, muscles, bone marrow, and central nervous system. This fat is necessary for good health and to keep the body functioning efficiently. 
    • Second, there is non-essential body fat, (also called excess body fat), which is fat in the body that we do not need. This fat is stored in the adipose tissue, found under the skin, in small amounts in the muscle, and body cavity. Non-essential body fat is the fat we want to lose during fat loss

Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

  • It is important to note that muscle has a much higher density than fat, which means that muscle takes up less volume than an equal mass of fat. And this explains why you’re getting slimmer but not dropping in weight (another reason to nix the scale).
  • You’ve probably heard that a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat, but this is false because a pound is a pound. However, a pound of fat takes up four times the space of muscle tissue, which goes back to the notion that you can look and feel slimmer even though your weight remains the same. 
  • Two people may weigh the same but can look very different. For example, Person 1 may have a high percentage of fat, and Person 2 may have a high percentage of muscle. Twenty pounds of fat is going to give Person 1 a softer look while twenty pounds of muscle is going to give Person 2 a more firm and sculpted look. 

The Impact of Too Much Fat on the Body:

  • Research shows that having too much fat, particularly fat around your waist, can raise your risk of serious illness. Furthermore, people with a higher percentage of body fat have a higher overall death rate, regardless of their weight or BMI. 
  • However, if this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of all Americans are overweight, and roughly one-third are obese, creating an unhealthy epidemic in our country.
  • When you carry too much fat, the heart is the most obvious victim. Cholesterol builds up, blood pressure rises, and arteries get clogged. Then, blood loses its ability to clot, which puts people at an increased risk of having a stroke. 
  • Too much fat also triggers diabetes; when there is excess fat in the body, insulin (a hormone in the body) is affected, which can lead to heart disease.
  • Excess fat can increase your risk of many horrible illnesses. Even people that have a low body weight but a poor muscle-to-fat ratio are at risk for developing obesity-related conditions. Again, this is why it is super important to not just focus on weight loss but instead fat loss.

Best Ways to Lose Fat:

  • By now, you may be wondering how to focus on just losing fat. It’s important to note that losing fat is much more specific than losing weight. Your body needs fat, it is crucial for health and longevity and protects your body against starvation when you can’t access food. However, as they say, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. So excess fat can be detrimental to your overall health, for the reasons stated above. 
  • We have provided what we think are the best ways to go about losing fat vs. losing weight. 
  1. Healthy eating
    • Many people think that food is the enemy in the battle against fat. However, many nutritionists say, some foods increase your metabolism and boost the body’s ability to burn fat. So instead of focusing on the number of calories you’re consuming, it will be more beneficial to focus on the quality of foods your consuming.
    • Your diet should include foods such as:
      • Avocados – although high in fat, it is considered a “healthy fat” and will keep you full, so you are less likely to snack on processed foods later. 
      • Salmon – This fish is packed with more omega-3 fatty acids than any other food and is also low-glycemic, preventing insulin spikes and fat storage around the mid-section. 
      • Nuts – high in protein, low in simple carbs, and rich in healthy fats, nuts stimulate your body’s ability to burn excess fat.
      • Eggs – Studies show that egg-based breakfasts have been proven to reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness.
      • Leafy Greens – Kale, swiss chard, spinach, and a few others are loaded with fiber and will aid in the process of fat loss. 
    • The foods mentioned are just a few of the many foods that will help in the process of fat loss. Including these foods in your diet will have a significant effect on your overall health.
  •  High resistance workout
    • Fat loss cannot be achieved by diet alone. A high resistance workout will help you gain lean muscle mass, which will increase your metabolism and lead to fat loss.
    • It is essential to switch up the intensity of your workout and not to overdo it every single day. Aim to work out 3-4 times a week, with a mixture of weight training and cardio.
    • It is essential to build and maintain muscle so that our body can burn fat. 
  • CoolSculpting 
  • CoolSculpting, or cryolipolysis, is FDA-approved to eliminate unwanted fat on the body. 
  • CoolSculpting is 100% non-invasive and works by using freezing temperatures to break down fat cells and ultimately get rid of them. It is important to note that the cold temperature does not damage other cells in the way it does fat cells. 
  • CoolSculpting will not aid in weight loss but rather fat loss. This procedure helps sculpt the body in certain areas. Individuals will find that their clothes fit better and look better.  
  • This procedure is perfect for individuals looking to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat that they otherwise cannot with diet and exercise alone. 

If this sounds like something, you may be interested in or want to learn more about it, check out our site or come on in for your FREE body consultation. 


Headshot of Megan
Megan Condon

In 2019, Megan became the Social Media and Content Manager for BodySquad. She uses marketing techniques to creatively present the BodySquad brand and assists in supervising the daily maintenance of social media initiatives.