Do you know the difference between losing weight and burning fat? Is the bathroom scale your only measure of your progress? We’ve been instructed to weigh ourselves for so long that many of us don’t realize that there is a lot more going on in our bodies than gaining and losing fat. Get to know more about your body composition and other ways to gauge your progress for a much more practical and accurate assessment of your success.
What Exactly is the Difference Between Losing Weight and Burning Fat?
Losing weight has to do with anything that will make your body score lower on the bathroom scale. It’s the mass of your organs, bones, fluids, and yes, fats. The standard scale cannot tell the difference between how much you weigh because of fat burning, water loss, or after a large meal. It can’t even tell if you’re just weighing a large package before you bring it to the post office. As a result, while it can be a helpful general tool, it shouldn’t be the one factor used to determine the success or failure of an effort to control your body mass index (BMI).
This is not to say that you should never use a scale to help you to know if you’re losing weight. That said, always remind yourself that it cannot measure if you are burning fat. It is only one of several ways for you to determine whether your efforts are working and whether you need to make any changes.
How is the Difference Between Weight Loss and Fat Burning Holding You Back?
The difference between weight loss and fat burning is something important to understand. There will be times during an effort to reduce body fat when it will seem that you have plateaued, gained, or are otherwise headed in the wrong direction. If you’ve been keeping up all your new healthy habits, this is naturally very confusing. However, when you take a look at more than just how much you weigh, you can gain a better understanding of whether things are working and if any changes are needed.
Typically speaking, when people say they want to lose weight, what they really mean is that they are hoping to burn away excess body fat. This may not always be the case, but in general that’s what the term suggests, even though that’s not actually what it means.
After all, it’s possible to see a smaller number on the scale after overcoming fluid retention or bloating from constipation! Moreover, weight gain can be a result of building muscle even when fat is burned away. Therefore, it’s important to separate the two concepts in your mind so that you won’t be too hard on yourself when your overall mass doesn’t change the way you want it to.
Your First Plateau is Usually a Learning Experience
Many people learn about the difference between weight loss and fat burning when they experience their first plateau and start researching it. Just because all progress has come to a halt on the bathroom scale, it doesn’t mean nothing is happening. It often means that many things are happening simultaneously.
Your body may still be burning fat on a steady basis, but you could also be gaining lean muscle mass. This is a great result that will only make it easier to keep control over your weight as you get stronger, feel better and even improve your balance. It could also be that you have simply eaten a lot of sodium or not consumed enough water, so your body is retaining fluids that can be flushed out by simply hydrating properly and keeping sodium intake reasonable.