Weight loss vs fat loss - what's the difference? Are they the same? Well, not exactly! When someone says "I want to lose weight", what they likely mean is "I want to lose some body fat", right? But not all weight lost is 100% pure body fat. Let's dive into this a bit more...
Our total body weight has several components - body fat, lean body tissue, skeletal muscle, water, blood, etc. - so many elements make up how much we weigh. It's safe to say when someone begins dieting and exercising with the intention of losing weight, their primary goal is losing body fat. However, the weight we lose when we diet doesn't JUST come from body fat. Depending on several factors - like our protein intake, our training regimen, our age, our nutrition compliance, how steep of a calorie deficit we are in, etc. - it's very likely that we will lose weight in the form of water, lean body tissue in addition to body fat. So wait, can we increase our likelihood of losing as much body fat as possible, while minimizing the risk of losing lean body mass in the process? I'm glad you asked ;)
SHORT ANSWER YES, HERE'S HOW:
As we just talked about, it's very likely that when we diet, we lose weight in the form of water, lean body mass and body fat. When we diet, our protein requirements increase in order to help protect the loss of lean body tissue in the process of weight loss. Those additional protein requirements need to be met with protein compliance consumption (meaning if your protein goal is 140g/day while you're in a diet/fat loss phase, it's important for you to consistently adhere to consuming 140g/day) to minimize lean body mass loss. In general, I recommend consuming 0.73-1.0g protein per pound of bodyweight, though you can scale your target according to your profile and activity levels.
Another factor that determines the overall distribution of weight loss is your actual rate of loss. Losing weight too fast is a real thing; a not-so-great thing at that. Beginning a fat loss phase on such low calories will not only leave you feeling lethargic, hungry, grumpy and just plain miserable, but the immediate drastic slash of calories can also increase the likelihood of losing lean body mass - which again, we don't want. Start with a conservative calorie deficit - you can always slowly decrease from there when your weight loss stalls.
One important factor that is sometimes overlooked when you're wanting to lose weight, is your exercise regimen. While you can absolutely lose weight without exercise by just eating in a calorie deficit, if your goal is to lose as much body fat relative to overall weight loss, then you should absolutely be incorporating a strength training or resistance training program. By incorporating resistance training, you not only strengthen your bones and begin to feel strong, you will be far more likely to retain and possibly even build muscle, instead of losing some of it when you diet.
If you'd like more detailed and specific dieting advice, I recommend checking out my personalized macro calculation or my hands-on coaching and training program, the Forever Fit Formula. If you're looking for an accountability group full of like-minded women to help support you & motivate you, I'd love to invite you to our women's only private community, which you can join right here!