Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weight loss Vs. Fat loss

Weight loss is not fat loss!!

This is the #1 mistake people make. Your weight is the number that pops up on the scales, your fat is how much you can pinch!! Your weight is everything; bones, muscle, organs, blood etc. Literally everything that makes you!! Therefore, weight loss can come from anything. However, fat loss is just that; a decrease in body fat and nothing else. It's that simple.

The HUGE mistake people make is they become obsessed with weight loss when what they are really interested in is fat loss. As basic as this may sound I've no doubt that you're guilty of this mistake too...if you've ever used a scales to judge the success of a diet you're guilty!!! Weight loss is simple, and can happen in a matter of hours. Go to the bathroom, then sit in a sauna and hey presto you've lost 5 pounds of body weight!! (However, not a gram of this came from your body fat).

Fat loss, however, is different. It is not as simply and takes time. There are no magic potions that will decrease body fat, but there are for "weight loss". These need to be avoided at all costs as all they do is make your body retain less water which will in turn slow down the amount of fat your body naturally burns...resulting in, yes you guessed it, long term fat gain!

There are also some magic potions that claim to increase fat loss. These also don't work. Here's why; In order to get fat to the place where it gets burned (mitochondria) it needs carnitine. So these fat loss magic potions have carnitine in them in order to try and get more fat into the mitochondria. In theory it makes sense...BUT...your body naturally has carnitine and giving it more through supplementation doesn't make a difference. As Alwyn Cosgrove described, supplementing carnitine is like giving you 5 passports to get through customs, it's absolutely pointless as all you need is 1. So don't waste your money on supplements that do absolutely nothing!!

Quite simply in order for long term successful fat loss to occur you need 3 things.
1. Proper Diet
2. Exercise
3. Proper hormonal balance

Finally the last point I feel that is extremely important to make is that muscle is more dense than fat (i.e. 1 pound of muscle takes up far less space than 1 pound of fat). Again something that doesn't seem that important initially but in reality it's hugely important that people know this. Why? Well because if you start a program of diet and exercise you are likely to maintain body weight. The reason for this is because your are putting on lean muscle and decreasing body fat.

Just to illustrate this, here are the results for a study done by Bemlin et al. (2000). They had 3 groups in the study. In terms of weight loss group A lost 5.5 lbs, group B lost 4.8 lbs and group C lost 6.6 all in all if you were using a weighing scales to measure progress all 3 groups lost approximately the same.

However, taking a closer look at the results group A lost 5.5 lbs of fat and maintained muscle mass, group B lost 9.2 lbs of fat and gained 4.4 lbs of muscle mass and group C lost 15.4 lbs of fat and gained 8.8 lbs of muscle mass.

As I hope you can clearly see weight loss is not the same as fat loss!!

Cian Lanigan

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