Do You Want to Lose Fat or Lose Weight?

You call it: Heads or tails? Do you want to lose fat or weight? Should you focus your thoughts on losing pounds or losing fat?

What happens when you lose pounds? When you lose weight, you lose more than just fat. You lose water and more importantly you lose muscle, too. Losing muscle is the fastest way to slow down your metabolism which works counter to your goal of losing weight. Muscle loss is not the best approach for those who want to have a flat tummy. For that you need to build up your core muscles.

It’s easy to lose weight. In the extreme, you can cut off a limb or have lipo-suction to suck fat tissue and other cells out of the body. Outside of having fat phobia, most of us don't think about the weight of connective tissue, bones, cartilage, water, internal organs, our blood, capillaries, blood vessels, arteries and muscle tissue. Some people think about how many pounds their shoes weigh when they step onto a scale.

Losing weight for some people can be challenging. Most people are taught to eat less and burn more calories. Trying to eat less will increase the physiological load on your body and create a world of undernourishment: sweet cravings, frequent urination, headaches, overeating, depression, anxiety, no morning appetite, dinner as the biggest meal, urination in the middle of the night, being impatient, anxiety, mood swings, constipation, low sex drive, infertility, irritability, and pain in the neck, back, shoulder, knee, or lower leg.

You will help yourself the most if you stop trying to lose weight and put your weight scale in the rubbish bin. Instead, measure your progress by taking your body fat percentage with electrical impedance, skin calipers, or circumference measurements.

Because it is far healthier to focus on losing fat, fat loss and not weight loss should really be your goal. It would be more appropriate for your friends and your doctor to say “Congratulations on losing 17.6% body fat.” Then your revised mental image would be one of a “fat loss program” with success being measured as some participants losing as much as 32% of their body fat? Once you understand how to prevent muscle loss you will become a lean machine with time.

Don't stress yourself out. A stressful lifestyle weakens your immune system and causes a multitude of major health issues and diseases. Having any kind of stress in your life will make it very difficult to lose fat.

Do yourself a favor and start lifting weights. Be sure to incorporate variety in your exercise program. Don’t repeat the same routine day after day. Remember, as you feed your body well, it will be happier. When your gas tank is full, your car can go farther down the road. The same is true for you. The more you feed your body with nutritious food, the harder you can work out. The more energy you burn, the faster you become leaner. The more conditioned the muscles are, the more fuel is stored as muscle and the appetite naturally increases.

Secondly, after a great workout it is imperative that you eat within 2 hours to prevent muscle loss. You want the body to replenish itself from the food you eat after a workout, not deplete its own muscle tissue. The post workout meal or snack should include some protein, not processed or refined foods like sugar or white flour foods. Eating certified organic and minimally processed foods will also aid your efforts at fat loss. Processed foods have virtually no nutritional value and lots of additives, preservatives and chemicals. Your internal organs protect themselves by producing fat and sending these toxins to other parts of your body for storage (think your hips, your torso, and your butt).

“The obesity epidemic of the past century has mirrored the rise in consumption of processed, devitalized foods. Dr. Weston A. Price's non-industrialized people, however, did not have weight problems on their traditional diets.” To read more…

Lastly, make sure you rest and relax at least 2 consecutive days each week without workout activity. Excessive aerobic activities such as running on a treadmill or riding a bike at a consistent steady pace for more than 45 minutes creates a catabolic response in the body. Catabolic means “breakdown” so instead of building muscle, working out too much has the opposite effect. You actually build muscle when you are lying on the couch in your recovery mode which is an anabolic activity that leads to muscle repair and rebuilding.
You have to “rest to progress” so be sure to give your body sufficient time to recuperate at least once a week. Allowing time to repair and rebuild your muscles will keep you lean.

Good luck on your journey to fat loss. Remember your good health is more valuable than money. In that regard, it is your most important asset.

Copyright©2010 Thomas A. Williamson Jr.
Holistic Lifestyle Coach (HLC)
Medical Exercise Specialist (MES)
M.E.L.T Practitioner
C.H.E.K Practitioner
British American Football Assn. European National Champion
347-271-1911 by appointment only