Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss: Discover Why Your Scale May Be Your Worst Enemy

In your pursuit of a leaner body, you know doubt utilized a bathroom scale to chronicle your progress. However, you may have been doing yourself a grave disservice. As you know, a scale measures how much weight you have lost, but it will never tell you where this weight was lost from. This is where the problem lies. When dieting, your combined weight loss could potentially come from fat loss, water loss, or muscle loss. Obviously, the former is what we all want to achieve, and the latter two are what we need to try and avoid whenever dieting. Unfortunately, many of the fad diets claiming rapid weight loss are often achieving this at the expense of water loss and/or muscle loss. Generally speaking, if you are losing greater than two pounds per week you are likely losing muscle as well.

The best way to monitor your progress when embarking on a new diet is to measure your body fat percentage and your lean body mass. Lean body mass is your weight excluding fat. Lean body mass includes bone, muscle, and other fat free tissues with the majority of this being muscle. By measuring these two items, you will be able to determine how much fat you are losing and whether or not you are losing any muscle. The simplest way to measure your body fat percentage is through skinfold testing. If you know a personal trainer or other fitness professional in your area, they will likely be able to take these measurements for you. However, self skinfold testing is available with the use of the “Accu-Mesure”, which can by found easily online.

Once you have determined your body fat percentage, you are ready to calculate your fat weight and lean body mass. To calculate your fat weight, multiply your total weight by your body fat percentage. Remember to convert your body fat percentage to decimal form before multiplying. I.e. 11% body fat would be converted to .11 Once you have calculated your pounds of fat, subtract your pounds of fat from your total weight in pounds, which will give you your lean body mass.

Armed with these simple equations, you will be able to track your weight loss much more accurately than by simply using a scale alone. You will know exactly where your weight loss is coming from, so you can quickly make adjustments to your caloric intake to maximize your results. For example, if your lean body mass decreases and your body fat decreases, this should tell you there is to much of a calorie deficit and you should increase your daily calorie intake slightly to prevent the loss in lean body mass. Whenever you’re on a calorie restricted diet, some loss in lean body mass and therefore muscle is hard to avoid. However, this loss in lean body mass should be limited to a few tenths of a pound per week. Initially, when first starting a diet program, you will likely notice a larger drop in lean body mass due to water loss. Don’t get alarmed by this. An obvious downward trend in your lean body mass over time is definitely a concern.

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss proper nutrition and how to calculate daily caloric needs for weight loss; however, I will mention a simple formula that can be utilized to get you in the ballpark if you have average or better body fat percentages. To calculate your total daily calories needed for fat loss, multiply your total weight by 12-13. This will give you a good starting point. I will also mention that spreading your calories out over 5-6 meals per day with each meal consisting of approximately 55% complex carbohydrate, 30% lean protein, and 15% fat will give you the best chance of permanent fat loss. Obviously, these percentages may not work for everyone, but they are a great place to start. If you want to maintain your hard earned muscle, it is also imperative you maintain a weight lifting routine, while dieting.

I hope this information will help you achieve all your weight loss goals and help you understand exactly how your nutrition and diet program is affecting your body. There is certainly still a place for the bathroom scale, but unless you’re also measuring the items above, you will never fully realize the affect of your diet program and reaching your full potential may be difficult. I wish you the best of luck.
The 3 Week Diet

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Fat Loss Discipline

The 3 Week Diet
Why is it so hard to lose fat and keep it off? We have all heard that fat loss is just a matter of taking in less calories than we expend. That certainly sounds very logical, but is it really that simple? There are so many fat loss remedies to choose from that we are left confused.

For example, I had an intention of only eating fruits and vegetables for a day or two, to counteract the recent ‘junk’ food I had been enjoying. This was a solid plan that practically guaranteed a decrease in caloric intake. However, a solid plan doesn’t always mean an easy execution.

I figured I would be relatively safe making a trip to the health food store. So my guard against high fat foods was down. When I got to the store, my sensibilities were assailed by a well meaning clerk hawking some freshly made corned beef and cabbage. I could hardly resist the temptation. And that wasn’t the end of it. Once my armour was breached, the temptation of tasty, ‘health oriented’ cookie samples fought for my attention.

Once again, I capitulated. My normally strong will power seemed to crumble. And once weakened, it seemed reasonable to just continue. It’s like that first drink for the recovering alcoholic.

I am by no means overweight, but once in a while my diet gets out of hand and the fat around my midsection gets a little more sizable than I am comfortable with. Usually, times like these are a great opportunity to get a little detoxification in, so I like to focus on fruits and vegetables for a day or two.

This has the dual effect of decreasing my caloric intake. I was also sticking with the simple plan mentioned above. So where did things go wrong? Did I not have enough discipline? Did I lack willpower, or was it something else?

In retrospect, the problem appears to be a lack of preparation. I failed to use the power of why. Let me explain. When the chips were down, I didn’t seem to have enough reason to maintain discipline. Maybe you have had a similar experience? I rationalized with, “oh, a little won’t hurt me”. The truth is, once you start down that road, it can be hard to turn back.

What would the right preparation be in that case? What is this power of why that I am talking about? A great way to fortify will power with any strategy is to actually write out the reasons why sticking to your plan or achieving your goal is important. It is kind of like stockpiling ammunition. The weaponry, in this case, appears in the form of a list.

With a long list of reasons supporting the plan or the goal, I would have had a lot more reserves to draw on when my front line defenses were being stressed. When the well meaning clerk was pouncing, I should have had a ready list of whys to fall back on. As the clerk was just being nice and sounding really sensible, plus it was a free sample after all, my mind should have responded with my ready made list of why I should not vary from my plan.

That didn’t happen because I never made such a list. Whatever you are trying to accomplish in life, there are bound to be obstacles and obstructions that just leap into your path to stop or block you. These are the times that you need your list. The list is your power. No list, no power.

When anyone sits down to plan something or set a goal, they need a list to support them during weak times. The longer the list, the better. Even if one has to carry the list along in one’s pocket, it is worth it. A list of about 50 reasons, while hard to create, can pay off in a major way.

Imagine the clerk’s surprise, had I pulled out my handy list and read it off for him. My armour would not have been pierced and the clerk would have had to move on to more ready prey or risk having the spear of temptation blunted! No list, no power.

So, how long is your list?

This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to advise on diet or fat loss or on any health matters. If you have or think you have a health issue, including weight or diet issues, consult your primary care physician for proper diagnoses and treatment.
The 3 Week Diet

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