Seemingly addressing the same concern, many people use the terms fat loss and weight loss interchangeably. Unfortunately, you can lose weight and still have a high body fat percentage (what we in the industry sometimes refer to as skinny-fat). And, you can go the other direction – you can lose body fat while increasing the number on the scale. This can be due to increasing muscle mass, bone density or even blood flow. (Which is a good & healthy thing). No matter what, though, you should ditch the number on the scale as your sole way of determining your overall health.
Let’s talk about the difference for a second. Fat is the substance that your body uses to store excess calories found in all the foods you eat. When most people start on a weight loss journey, this is the excess weight they want to shed.
Typically, when you lose excess fat, you also lose weight. Sometimes, though, you can maintain or even gain weight. The truth is that you build up lean muscle through strength training while also helping you shed excess fat through aerobic exercise. The more muscle that you build, the more fat you can burn. This should be a no-brainer, then, your weight should go down, right? Not necessarily. Muscle is more dense than fat, so my advice to you is not to get fixated on a number on the scale. It is not an accurate measurement of your overall health.
Your ultimate goal should be to improve your overall body composition, increasing your lean tissue-to-fat ratio which indicates a more positive overall fitness level and optimal general health which is more important than the number on the scale. So, in reality, you don’t want to just lose weight – focus more on nutrition and strength training to eliminate excess fat stores.