Did you know that there's a difference between losing fat and losing weight? If you're trying to shed a few pounds to reduce your risk of chronic disease, then you need to be concerned with losing fat, not just bodyweight.
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss - What's the Difference?
When you lose weight, you lose a little bit of water, body fat, and muscle. If the scale says you are losing weight, but your love handles still don’t look any smaller, then the chances are that you are just becoming a smaller version of yourself, with no apparent change in the shape of your physique.
Your objective for dieting and training should be to lose as much body fat as possible, without burning away precious muscle mass.
Check your BMI score below then look at some tips you can use to make sure that you're losing fat and preserving your muscle mass to lower your risk for chronic disease.
You'll find out where you are on the scale of having extra body weight and risk level for developing a chronic disease or other illness. When you're done take a look below the calculator to get the skinny on 8 ways to track your weight loss and fat loss.
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Eight Ways to Track and Record Your Progress
Dropping body fat requires you to keep a keen eye on your progress. Tracking the progress of your fat loss will keep you motivated to push through another week until you meet your goals.
Here are nine methods you can use to record your fat loss experience and provide you with the feedback you need to make adjustments to your diet and training where necessary.
A picture says a thousand words. Take a photo of yourself every morning when you wake, after every training session, and before bedtime.
Photos will help you keep a visual log of your progress, instead of relying on numbers and measurements alone.
Tanita Weighing Scale
The scale is the best tool in your arsenal to let you know that your diet is on track. However, a scale will not be able to tell you about your current body fat percentage.
The Tanita weighing scale will solve this problem by reading your body fat percentage as well. Track your weight in a journal every morning after you wake up and every night before bed.
The Measuring Tape
A cheap haberdashery measuring tape is a useful tool to help you manage the numbers. Take your measurements around your bust, waist, hips, triceps, and thighs every week.
Log them in your transformation journal alongside your daily weight readings.
If your clothes seem to fit loosely, then it’s a good sign that you are losing weight, but it will not be an accurate indicator of body fat percentage.
Body Fat Calipers
Using calipers is an effective means of accurately gauging your body fat. If you have never used calipers before, ask a trainer to show you how.
Take caliper readings from at least seven sites on your body including the love handles, lower back, triceps, belly button, upper thighs, calves, and chest.
You can use the Jackson-Pollock formula to get the result of your overall body fat percentage. Complete this exercise at least once a week after you have taken your measurements and record your results in the transformation journal.
DEXA stands for “Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry." This scan is one of two advanced methods of calculating body fat percentage. This scan involves a specialist kind of x-ray used to measure bone mineral density.
The BodPod is a device used to calculate even the slightest changes in body fat and lean body mass. Patients enter the BodPod and sit still for three minutes while the machine completes its analysis.
The results from a BodPod scan are incredibly accurate, but the cost of regularly running this type of scan can be expensive.
Work with Professionals
If you struggle with completing your assessments and tracking your progress, consider hiring a professional trainer to assist you in achieving your fat loss goals.
This strategy will suit someone that has never dieted before or failed on a previous diet attempt.
A trainer will accurately measure your body fat percentage, as well as provide you with a meal plan and training regimen to follow for optimal results.
Trainers have an added benefit of keeping you motivated and inspired to reach your ideal physique.
What is a Healthy Rate of Weight/Fat Loss?
It is possible to lose too much bodyweight too quickly. Your bodyweight will experience a 2 - 5% fluctuation throughout the day, and this is entirely normal.
On a fat loss diet, you should aim to achieve a fat loss rate of not more than 1% of your total body mass or between 1 and 2 pounds per week in total.
A rapid loss of body weight can lower the efficiency of the immune system, exposing your body to infection and disease, not to mention causing metabolic damage which can harm your body beyond your diet.
If you lose too much weight too quickly, adjust your diet to slow your weight loss to avoid any adverse effects.
What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Men and Women?
Maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is essential for good health. People with lower levels of body fat experience a heightened state of well-being.
Less fatigue, better mobility, improved health markers, and enhanced immune function are just some of the many benefits of a healthy body fat percentage
What is a healthy body fat percentage? For men aged 20-39 years old, it’s between 8% to 20%, and as men age the optimal body fat percentage slips to between 11% to 22%.
Women require a higher body fat percentage for hormone production and childbearing. The optimal body fat percentage for women aged 20-39 years old is between 21% and 33%.
Women over 40 require an optimal body fat percentage of between 23% to 36%.
A body fat reading of over 40% is considered to be obese.
Losing body fat the right way requires determination, dedication, and commitment to achieving your ideal physique.
Your journey to a lean and toned body will help you understand how your body works and give you the understanding you need to make smarter food choices and better lifestyle decisions.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your results, do all you can to improve your knowledge on training and nutrition or hire someone that can help you structure a plan that will work for you.