When women sign up to my programme, there is often a reoccurring theme. They are addicted to standing on the scale. Some even do it every single day. As I try telling them, this is something they need to stop, and instead, concentrate on their overall health and fat loss as being the most important for things for body change. So, look monthly at your measurements, not the number shown on the scale. Look at how your clothes fit you and how you look in the mirror. These things show overall body change, fat loss, and whether or not you are leaning out and tightening up.
As you have probably guessed, weight loss and fat loss are very different. Weight loss is based on calories, whereas there is a lot more to fat loss. Weight loss is simply about eating fewer calories and exercising more for the number on the scale to come down. In contrast, not exercising and eating lots of calories will surely make your weight on the scale go up. All of this is very true.
However, to maintain a good, healthy physique and to prevent yo-yo dieting forever, your body actually needs enough good food to support it in everyday activities as well as the added exercise you may put it through. Therefore, the number on the scale is unimportant and you should be focusing on losing fat from your body instead to achieve maximum health.
A 65 kg female who exercises and eats healthily will look lean and small, whereas a 65 kg female who just diets, constantly starving herself with no exercise, will look bigger as she will have less lean muscle and more body fat. Obviously, the premise of diets work and reducing your calories will eventually enable you to lose weight. However, if not done properly, then this weight will be mainly water and muscle loss, not fat loss. It is very important to maintain muscle mass, as the more muscle you have on your body, the more efficient your metabolism works, so the more calories you will burn.
Every time you diet by severely reducing calorie intake, your body goes into starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism and forcing your body to store fat as energy. Dieting and starving your body in order to lose weight is not sustainable, thus the reason people tend to yo-yo diet forever.
As I have discussed previously, it is important to overhaul your whole life in terms of stress, sleep, food, exercise, hormones and lots more. “Quick fix” diets will give you instant amazing results, but leave you hungry, with low energy and cravings, which will lead to binging on salty, sweet, sugary and fatty foods.
Most diets work in the short term as they are a big change to your current eating pattern. The challenge is making sure the weight stays off long term for a healthy, lean, fit body. If this is what you’re looking for, then it’s fat loss that you should aim to achieve. The problem with diets is when you stop them, either due to boredom or failing willpower, even after reaching your target. The majority of dieters’ weight end up back coming back very quickly, and a lot of times they end up with more weight than they started!
Eating for fat loss is based on eating more of the right foods more frequently such as lean protein, vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Be aware of “diet” products which are usually very misleading too. When something is low in calories, there is a good chance that other ingredients are used to create a nice taste and these ingredients are usually in the form of sugar. Long hours of aerobic exercise again have the same effect as dieting. You will lose weight on the scale, but a lot of muscle too, and as I explained earlier, for a lean fat-free body, muscle is very important.
Years of research has now proved that short exercise sessions incorporating weight lifting is the best for fat loss.