Should I lose Weight or Fat?

Should I lose Weight or Fat?

How often do we hear people saying “I need to lose weight!”? There are even generic tables showing the right weight for your height that is commonly used by doctors as well. We all believe that we will be healthier, happier, feeling well and to be better looking once we reach the right weight.

Does Weight matter?

But in reality, weight doesn’t have a big meaning, except when we are competing in a sport that requires us to be in a certain weight category. Weight doesn’t say anything about shape, fitness, health or happiness. Two people with the same height and weight can look completely different, one well trained with visible muscles and a flat stomach, the other with a big belly and soft tissue and serious health issues.

When we weigh ourselves, we just see a number on the scale which basically shows the earth’s gravity which is pulling us down. The number is not differentiating the quality of the weight, whether it comes from muscles, fat, water, bones, organs etc. Being 10 kg “overweight“ from fat or from muscle looks completely different. Just judging by weight can lead to two unwanted consequences (it happens regularly where weight is used as the only measure): you can categorize a fit person with a good amount of muscles as overweight, and on the other end of the spectrum you might judge a person as healthy and fit who is light and appears slim but has a lot of harmful fat in between organs, less muscle mass and is completely unfit.

Your scale is lying

Muscles are 12% heavier compared to the same volume of fat.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

The scale even might “lie“ when you start an exercise program. Your pants are getting looser and you feel great but you don’t lose weight at all. The assumption that the exercise program is not working is a reason to quit for many people who don’t know that losing fat and gaining muscle might mean you aren’t losing weight at first. Even worse, you could gain weight on a short term because trained muscles tend to store some water (=weight). When you build muscle over a longer period of time (this doesn’t happen overnight unfortunately), you may appear slimmer, but you probably just lose a couple of kg on your scale, because muscles are 12% heavier compared to the same volume of fat (e.g. 1 Liter). Being impatient in not a good idea regarding training or weight loss success since progress is gradual and we can’t see it at the beginning.

How to measure progress?

So how can we measure our progress and what is the aspect we should look for? Rather than focusing on our weight, we should track body fat, circumferences and appearance.

There are some good body fat scales out there that do a mixture of measuring and calculating your body fat percentage. This can help us see where your weight loss journey is going and how you are progressing.

Taking pictures in underwear from front, side and back helps you recognize changes in detail as well. Try to keep lighting, background and distance from your camera the same to make the pictures comparable.

Measuring your waist shows much better if you lost body fat compared to the weight on your scale.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

At home it is easier to use a pair of tight pants, a belt or measuring tape to track progress. Measure your waist at your belly button, so you can easily use the same spot again as the reference. Don’t tuck your tummy or hold your breath, just breathe normally and measure not too tight around your waist. Write the result down to track the progress.

You need to consider, that there are some areas you want to lose some inches (waist, butt) but an increase in chest or biceps circumference looks great. If you use a belt or pants to measure your frame, they shouldn’t stretch, because this means you can gain or lose 10 pounds and they still feel the same. Maybe you have some pants you want to fit in? Track your progress once a month, because the weekly difference might be too small to recognize.

Stick to your workout regime, incorporate some healthy eating habits and enjoy the process of losing body fat!

Stay tuned for my FREE talk at AlphaFit SG at Saturday May 26th from 11:30 am to 12:15 pm about “5 simple steps to get in shape”.

If you want to know more about how Weight Loss Coaching can help you to feel better and lose unwanted body fat, book your FREE 20 min consultation with me at City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy (Bukit Timah Clinic).

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