Talks of diets and shedding the pounds are almost an American way of life.
We obsess over our carb counts in the fall and winter in an effort to prepare our bodies for the summer swimsuit season.
But, many who are setting dietary goals as New Year resolutions are falling off the wagon within just a few weeks.
The truth is, people want to be healthier, but we struggle to really pursue better health for a wide variety of reasons.
According to a 2019 study from Cleveland:
“While most Americans (88 percent) understand that there is a connection between a healthy heart and a healthy weight, most aren't doing enough -- or anything -- to combat their own weight issues. The survey found 65 percent are worried about getting heart disease due to extra pounds, yet less than half (43 percent) of Americans have tried to make dietary changes to lose weight.”
Is Body Fat Loss and Weight Loss the Same Thing?
To be very blunt, it is not the same at all.
When we want to be healthier or drop a few sizes, we tend to look at the scale to measure our progress.
But, the scale can be a tricky thing.
Too often we rely on it far too much to mark our success or failure.
There are many things that affect your weight, including sodium levels, hormones, water, sleep, muscle mass and more.
Plus, your diet won’t impact your body makeup immediately.
So, it is important to understand that the scale isn’t the only thing you should be using to measure success.
Weight loss and fat loss can both make the scale shift to a lower number, but they are not the same thing.
Weight loss: Losing the heaviness of your body. Strictly defined by the number on the scale and not taking actual health into account at all.
Fat loss: Shifting your body percentage towards a better balance of muscle. May not show on a scale, but often drops your clothing sizes and improves health.
Things that Impact the Number on the Scale
So, let’s take a look at some things that will impact this number.
It may help you see that your weight could go up even though you are doing everything right with your diet.
When you eat or drink things high in sodium, the sodium molecules attach to the water molecules in the body.
This causes you to “hold more body water” (also known as water weight).
It is the reason why eating a meal at a restaurant instead of what you normally cook at home causes your weight to climb the next day—the restaurant uses a lot of sodium and you hold more water weight.
This is a temporary flux in weight and will lower when your sodium level goes back down.
Water is really good for cleansing and hydrating the body, but you may notice a flux in weight as you consume more.
However, when you do not drink a lot of water or become dehydrated, your body can hold on to body water which can cause the scale to go up.
Seems counterintuitive right?
This is the body’s way of ensuring that you have enough H2O for all of its processes.
Drinking more water and staying hydrated can cause the scale to go down over time.
And, having a hydrated system has numerous other benefits as well!
In the fitness industry it's common for people to go on “low-carb diets” for the instant gratification of dramatic weight loss.
Low-carb diets are so popular because removing carbs from the body will cause you to instantly lose weight.
However, this does not mean you are losing fat and it does not make the diet healthy for your body.
Carb molecules are actually attached to water molecules in the body which can cause the scale to go down drastically when you strip the body of carb sources.
Also, when you are eating low carb, the volume of food you are eating also goes down.
Less volume leads to less weight on the scale.
Don’t fall for this common misconception.
You can reduce your portion sizes and cut out the simple carbs and sugars that are really causing a buildup in fat without jumping on a fad diet that is hard to maintain.
When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your weight can go up.
Sleep gives your body the time it needs to recover and process food from the night before.
Women can gain weight during their cycle—but this is bloating and it does not mean we are gaining fat.
When estrogen is elevated, we tend to retain more water than usual.
As you can see the above can all affect the ability of the body to lose or gain WEIGHT.
Fat loss on the other hand happens at a much slower rate and is an actual change in BODY COMPOSITION.
How to Reduce Body Fat for Better Health
So, the goal needs to be on your physical health and not a number on the scale.
Measuring your health can be trickier.
How much cardio is the right amount for a strong heart and what size should you be to be your healthiest self?
Good health is a very individualized term that won’t be a one-size-fits-all answer.
There are ways you can improve your healthy eating habits and lower your excess fat levels.
Lowering body fat occurs most consistently when you are doing two things:
- Reducing the calories you intake
- Eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods that keep the body in balance, nourished and detoxifying!
Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, it definitely can be!
The key is to follow sound nutritional advice and choose a program that is focused on personalisation and getting to the bottom of your individual needs.
If you are ready to make a change and join a program that offers a long term solution to the weight problem (actually, we promise you will be able to delete the word ‘diet’ from your vocabulary forever), check out our 30 DAY CHALLENGE!