What is the difference?
I love this conversation so much. When people understand the two differences I often get to see their light bulb light up as they are finally able to understand what it is they really want. I find that the more time I spend as a fitness professional the more I see how this could be difficult to understand for people. I definitely remember the time when this was super confusing for me. The health and fitness industry doesn’t make this very clear in their marketing campaigns for people.
It is important to understand the “weight-loss” aka Losing weight, is very different from “fat-loss” aka losing body fat.
Do you get “smaller from both? Yes you do. Do you get “more skinny” from both practices? Well, yes you do. However when people understand the differences they often find that they want one more than the other.
Weight-loss is a practice of simply getting off weight at all costs with no regard of preserving muscle. I often find that this type of set up is accompanied by crash diets, Cleanses, and for the most part diet practices that are mostly unsustainable.
Fat-loss is a practice of losing as much body fat as possible while preserving that precious muscle (aka tone) that people want to have so badly. This type of set up is accomplished by sustainable means more often than not. Through great coaching practices, education, and healthy means achieving fat loss is a much better approach.
When you focus on weight loss solely you typically get weaker, lose energy, feel lethargic, and simply feel run down. I find through talking with my clients that what the want 99% of the time is to cut body fat, get toned, and gain more energy. So for me, focusing on losing body fat is the route we go with them. Best part of that is through focusing on that mindset and view of the process we are getting weight loss anyway!
Different ways to use nutrition
Your nutrition plays a huge role in the process of the two. For weight loss alone, most people focus solely on counting their calories or some sort of other food restriction with no regard to macros. While this does help you to lose weight most of the time it does not help you gain muscle and get “tone” during the process.
On the contrary, when trying to achieve fat loss it’s important to count your macro nutrients. Macro nutrients play a huge role in certain parts in your fat loss journey.
When focusing on counting macros and taking in proper protein, carbohydrate, and fat amounts you are able to fuel your workouts, recover and feed those precious muscles, and regulate hormones to keep you feeling great. Through counting macros you are also counting calories anyway.
What are your goals?
It is important to clearly establish your goals and see where you currently are sitting mentally and physically. If you are ill and need to get weight off immediately then either practice will work best for you. If you want to be smaller “no matter what” then just pick one and go with it.
However if you want to be toned, maintain muscle mass, or maybe even gain some muscle, then focusing on fat loss is best for you. Your goal is yours alone and nobody else’s. Only you can make that decision and establishing that is the best place to start.
No matter what in conversations I always focus on the goal first. When we focus on the goal first we can reverse engineer the rest. I think of it like a map. Select where you are first and then where you want to go. Then simply draw the line from beginning to end. I make it sound so simple and thinking like that it is. A start and a finish point gives clarity and a vision of what to do. The spot that often is the hard part is the Action required to get there.
Ultimately it is up to you. What do you want to do? Do you want to lose weight? Or, does fat loss sound like something you want to do? Does losing weight alone sound more important than taking the time to cut body fat? Finding a Coach to talk through this with you can provide some clarity.
As a Coach I will always think about the long term plan I have for my clients. It is important for people to think that way to. There is a statistic that says that 90% of people that achieve weight loss will gain the weight back. I believe that statistic probably reflects focusing on weight loss alone. If you focus on fat loss, sustainable habits, and the long term effects you can keep of the weight and continue heading to the body you always dreamed of!