Are You Losing Fat?

Energy in vs. Energy out!! Simple? No, not entirely!

To achieve weight loss we all know that we must tip the balance with either energy in, energy out or a mixture of both.

What happens to the body when we take less calories in. We lose weight and we know this because the scales say so. What you see on the scales though is a combination of water, muscle, fat and glycogen (stored energy). There is no way of knowing accurately from the scales what you have lost or in some instances gained or why the scales haven’t budged at all.

It could be a number of things but individual days of weight on the scale are mostly irrelevant as daily fluctuations can be huge especially for the changes that occur in the average females menstrual cycle. It might be beneficial to record your readings, take an average of your scale weight over time and include body measurements.

Example of weight loss from the scales

2lbs of water loss + 2lbs of fat loss = 4lbs scale weight loss.

2lbs retention in water + 2lb fat loss = No scale weight change.

We all know that an extreme caloric deficit is not a nice experience for the vast majority of us and evidence and experience tells us that it’s not sustainable in the long term either.

If you want to lose weight by just eating less. Yes, You might lose weight but you’ll also be losing muscle, water and glycogen stores. This can lead to a large majority of women eventually putting it all back on if it’s not maintained. Evidence and experience points us to this.

So what about Fat Loss the extra stored fat that the body could do without. Fat loss is exactly that, not muscle, not water and not glycogen. (although not entirely true a small amount of these can still be lost but not to the detriment of your metabolism).

How to achieve fat loss? 

Firstly be mindful of not restricting your energy requirements drastically (you do still need to be in a deficit to lose fat but the extremity and the nutritional choices you make as well as the behaviours surrounding your choices will determine the outcome). If you approach diet and exercise with extremes it won’t be sustainable.

You could Consider the following:

The types of foods you’re consuming.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recently published their position stand on protein and exercise.

For weight management your protein requirements may need to exceed the current RNI. It may be advantageous to consume a higher protein diet of 1.8g per kg of body weight throughout the day with a moderate calorie restriction of 500kcal.  Ensuring slow and steady weight loss whilst preserving lean muscle mass.

The type of physical activity you do.

Resistance training gradually included into your weekly activities and the inclusion of an increase in the amount of protein consumed is shown to be the most successful method. It’s important to note that the activities you perform would need to be progressive and sustainable for the long term.

Resistance training is any activity that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance this can be dumbbells, rubber bands, your own body weight, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract.

If you fuel the body with what it needs in terms of your health and having the energy to take part in physical activity over the long term, it becomes easier. You’ll start to establish new eating behaviours and patterns and by being flexible and realising that all foods can be incorporated into a fat loss or weight loss goal, it becomes easier to maintain.

The best approach to fat loss is to increase your activity levels wisely, include resistance training, higher protein, eat mindfully and reduce your calories moderately with inclusions of the foods you enjoy (a well balanced diet). This approach takes a little more care but you’ll be keeping your:

  • Blood sugar stable
  • Metabolism balanced
  • Hormones in check
  • Hunger limited
  • Energy raised
  • Cravings reduced
  • Fat stores can be lost and sustained
  • Lean muscle mass preserved or increased
  • Weight loss can be achieved and maintained

A healthier and Happier you!

Note – Fat loss can also achieve weight loss if that’s your goal. The first step is to realise that fat loss is a long term process.

If you need help or guidance, I’d love to hear from you or follow me!


ISSN Position Stand on Protein

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