Can your body composition change without losing any weight? Can you tone up while maintaining your current weight? ABSOLUTELY! So what if I told you that fat loss beats weight loss?
Let me ask you this: do you ever feel like you get a little tunnel vision during your weight loss journey and only see the number on the scale…not budging? Unfortunately, that tunnel vision could be preventing you from actually making progress!
Oftentimes when we tend to try harder to change the scale and end up getting more and more frustrated…we tend to think about all the things we have to take away. We restrict further. Work harder. But what if we focused on progress that wasn’t just the number on the scale?
Fat loss differs from weight loss. You can see weight loss on the scale, but the scale may not reflect fat loss (and muscle gain!)
What’s the difference between fat loss and weight loss? Fat loss or body recomposition can be achieved with more calories, less cardio, and less stress. The number on the scale may not go down, but you lose inches, gain muscle, and feel pretty awesome. Weight loss on the other hand, may lead to some muscle and water loss in addition to fat loss. Weight loss requires a calorie deficit, and may not always lead to the outcomes you actually want to achieve.
What tends to trip women up is thinking the physical results they want to see are connected to a certain smaller number on the scale, but I’m here to tell you: fat loss beats weight loss because muscle takes up less space than fat! In addition, seeing a lower number on the scale does not mean that your body and metabolism are healthy!
If you’re just starting your weight loss journey, a calorie deficit is key. I teach my clients that a small, gradual calorie deficit is the KEY to weight loss from fat. BUT what happens when you’ve been in a deficit for too long or your body just doesn’t seem to be changing? We can fuel your body for fat loss by working on MAINTENANCE calories!
When to shift gears in your weight loss journey
Quite honestly, sometimes your body just doesn’t seem to want to lose any more weight, but this doesn’t mean throw in the towel! By tuning in to your body and listening to its clues, we can see if you are in a healthy state for continued weight loss. This is something I assess with my clients. And if we aren’t? This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals!
A calorie deficit may not be for you if:
- You’re feeling worn down or burned out
- you’re not sleeping well and haven’t for a long time
- you have intense physical or mental stress
- you’ve been dieting for a year or more
- you’re already in a calorie deficit and haven’t seen weight loss progress
- your hormones are out of whack
Focusing on quick weight loss and fad dieting can lead to restriction and a depleted metabolism over time. There are major health concerns with being in too strict of a calorie deficit or being in a calorie deficit too long.
If your body is in need of some metabolic recovery due to long-term dieting for weight loss, it’s possible that we can work on recovery AND re-composition at the same time. We can do this by focusing on increasing muscle mass and improving conditions for fat loss.
You might need an increase in calories first
So, you may be wondering… how do you still make progress through fat loss or changes in our body composition if you aren’t in a calorie deficit anymore? Well, we have to be strategic! Fat loss isn’t just achieved from a calorie deficit. We have to make sure that your body has enough energy to maintain a healthy metabolism before we can prioritize fat loss or weight loss.
When your body is stressed out, it’s less likely to be okay with shedding fat, and much more likely to keep its fat stores for protection by lowering your metabolism.
One way to achieve progress with fat loss is a gradual and strategic increase in calories to help your body return to a healthy and optimal place of functioning. By adding in calories gradually, your body will be able to use your calories more efficiently to actually help you change your body composition. When this happens, your body is in a healthy state to actually prioritize fat loss, by allowing your metabolism to let go of that fat!
What you NEED for fat loss
Since fat loss is accomplished through LESS stress on the body, we don’t want to do anything crazy for fat loss! We’re focused on improving the health of your metabolism here! A few things you want to consider for fat loss are:
- Hormone balance: when you’ve been in a calorie deficit or yo-yo dieting for too long, it can throw our hormones off! Some signs that hormone balance is off is change in menstrual cycle or feeling run down. A loss of a regular cycle can be a key indicator that something is going on with your health and weight loss is a bad idea! Consistently eating enough calories with all our macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) can help us balance our hormones.
- Stress management: when we are physically and mentally stressed, we tend to have high levels of the hormone cortisol. This can happen when we are stressed from over-exercising, from too little calories for too long, from going without sleep, or high levels of anxiety! High levels of cortisol can actually cause us to retain fat for protection. Practicing stress management techniques and ensuring your body is getting optimal calories can help it return to a more optimal state for fat loss.
- Strength training: cardio isn’t the only exercise to focus on with fat loss! Strength training is not only super important, but crucial for achieving that toned, fit look. Strength training helps us to build lean muscle… which helps your body burn more calories at rest and decrease body fat. Not too mention, some of my clients that have been spending hours on cardio for years say strength training feels so much better to them!
- Quality of nutrients: our nutrition quality is one of the most important factors to fat loss! Though we may hit our calorie goals, we want to prioritize nutrients that are going to provide us the most bang for our buck or the most nutrients that are beneficial to our goals. This includes high quality lean proteins, lots of fruits and veggies, fiber and even hitting our hydration! Fat loss is fueled by high quality food choices, not just hitting your calorie goal with any food each day. High quality nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals and our macronutrients, give your metabolism all the tools it needs to perform its best!
So what next?
With healthy weight loss and fat loss both, we have to make sure that we are prioritizing our health and our metabolism first. Focusing on weight loss by any means necessary does not equal health! By focusing on fat loss and lean muscle mass gain, we may experience not only progress, but also that toned look and lifestyle factors such as a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes that comes with a healthy lifestyle. And THAT is why fat loss beats weight loss.
Does this sound like it may be the strategy for you? Are you wondering how you can achieve fat loss progress even when you aren’t seeing numbers change on the scale? Apply for a FREE strategy call here! The ladies in the Busy Gal Nutrition coaching program are seeing healthy, sustainable fat loss by keeping their health and metabolism at its optimal rate of functioning!
And if you’re wondering how fat loss can still be progress, know that fat loss is not just about a continuation of great habits, but about sustainability too! That’s why in my nutrition coaching program we learn how to lose weight that prioritizes fat loss AND learn how to keep it off for good!