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Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Woman weighs herself on a scale
Your weight doesn't tell the whole story.

Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss: Is There a Difference?

Most of my clients come to our team to lose weight. But we must differentiate weight loss from fat loss. Your mindset around this topic will determine the overall outcome of your health goals. 

When discussing health, it’s essential, to be honest and educated. Weight loss has so many aspects to it, so it’s vital to understand the terms used and how they impact your goals. 

Let’s dig in!

Why Losing Weight is so Hard

Let’s be honest. It’s hard to lose the extra weight! The University of Utah explained it bluntly when it said: “For most overweight people, their body tries to prevent permanent weight loss.” 

If you’ve tried losing weight in the past, and you’re here now looking for answers, then you’ve probably experienced firsthand how your body seems to grip that extra weight. But why does it feel like your body is working against you? 

It goes back to the basic function of your metabolism. Your body holds on to fat because it is trying to keep you safe and alive. 

Think about what you tell your body about your environment with your daily habits. If you’re constantly dieting (especially eating infrequently or over-restricting calories), your body interprets that you live in a time of famine. You’re telling it that food is scarce, and you don’t know when your next meal will be. 

Your body responds by storing every bit of fat and slowing your metabolism (including your thyroid!), so it won’t burn your safety stores too quickly. 

It makes sense why losing weight and keeping it off is hard for many. 

Additionally, losing weight doesn’t just mean losing excess fat, so if you’re strictly going by the scale, you’re in for a rude awakening. 

There are many types of weight you could lose, including: 

Water Weight

Water weight occurs when you are dehydrated, live a sedentary lifestyle, have a mineral deficiency, or during hormone fluctuations such as during menstruation or pregnancy. 

Essentially, your body is holding on to the fluid rather than using it. Focusing on hydration, daily movement, and hormone balance can do wonders for ditching bloat and swollen extremities that come with water retention. 

Brain Weight

The average weight of a human brain can be up to 3 pounds! Generally, you don’t lose brain mass when you go on a weight loss journey, but this emphasizes the importance of not focusing on the scale. 

Bone Weight

Although losing bone weight can happen to anyone, older adults trying to lose weight are at risk of losing bone mass density if they are not careful. This is especially true of women. So we need to emphasize fat loss over weight loss.

Muscle Weight

This might surprise you, but muscle weighs more than fat! The reason for this is that muscle mass is denser than fat. So when you work out and eat right but gain weight, you’re actually gaining muscle mass!  

Interestingly though, losing weight in the manners mentioned above are NOT examples of fat loss. 

What is Fat Loss? 

Fat loss refers to weight loss aimed at removing excess, unhealthy fat. 

But what is fat? The National Library of Medicine explains: “Fats are a type of nutrient that you get from your diet. Fats you eat give your body the energy that it needs to work properly.” 

 It turns out there are different kinds of fats! Some of them are: 

  • monounsaturated fats

  • polyunsaturated fats

  • saturated fats

In the last 30 years or so, fat-free and low-fat diets have been all the craze. Saturated fats (those coming from animal fats such as dairy products, tallow, and lard) have been especially demonized. They have resulted in a push towards incorporating more polyunsaturated fats into diets. 

Unfortunately, the number of those suffering from obesity and chronic diseases, including thyroid disease, has only increased since this campaign. 

Society is now on a new swing. Diets are becoming increasingly higher in fat, and the trend is more low-carb. 

Both approaches are extreme and cause long-term stress on the body. 

You NEED fat in your diet, especially fats that are easier for our bodies to process, like those saturated animal fats or monounsaturated fats like those found in avocados. 

But these fats also need to be eaten with protein and carbohydrates. You can learn more about finding that balance by checking out our Custom Macro service. 

Weight Loss VS Fat Loss: Why it Matters

Knowing the difference between weight loss and fat loss is very important! Depending on what you choose to target, whether that be weight or fat, will affect the outcome you want. What's the difference, though?

Weight loss means a decrease in your body weight, whether muscle, water, or fat.

Fat loss, on the other hand, refers to weight loss from fat. Most people talking about wanting to lose weight actually mean fat loss. 

The number on the scale is much less important, and to get those long-term results you want, focusing on healthy habits over weight loss will ensure that you’re going about your fat loss journey the right way. 

How to Lose Fat

Are you trying to lose weight but don’t know how to go about it in a healthy and sustainable matter? Here are some tips that can help you in your fat loss journey! 


Exercising is an essential part of the process of losing fat and keeping that extra fat off. It’s important to note that weight loss won’t be sustainable without a healthy and doable exercise routine. 

How can you create a maintainable and enjoyable exercise routine? 

Create workouts that are challenging but attainable. As you progress in your workouts, you can try out new routines that may be harder than before. 

Remember to make your workouts enjoyable! Put on some of your favorite tunes, wear clothing that makes you confident, and treat yourself after with a healthy snack! 

The most important thing to keep in mind is to create achievable plans

Did you know? 

Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, whereas fat is not. This means that even when you are at rest, your muscle burns calories and uses the energy you give it through food. So focusing on building muscle through strength training will help boost your metabolism and lose that extra fat faster! 

Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss: Mental Health

Mental health plays a bigger role in your weight loss journey than you may think. Mental health can affect you physically.

If you’re struggling with mental health, it likely makes it more challenging to have the energy to stay active, prep healthy meals, and practice self-care, and not surprisingly, diet, exercise, and self-care improve mental health. 

How can you do this? Make sure your reasons for wanting to lose weight are healthy. Plan your weight loss journey. Self-love and care are crucial, so be kind to yourself. Remember not to measure health by the scale! 

You can see how easy it could be to get caught in a vicious cycle. That’s why having an accountability partner is so important. And in some cases, working with a mental health professional may be necessary to get you started. 


You probably notice that you gain weight right before your period, and after, you feel lighter, even skinnier. This can be due to bloating during your menstrual cycle, but it can also occur when other hormones, such as cortisol, are imbalanced. 

When the stress hormone cortisol is high, your body holds on to fat. A sedentary lifestyle, diets high in processed foods, and infrequent eating can raise cortisol. 

Eating Habits

Meals are a vital part of the day. We’re here to help! Our custom macros are simple to create meals you’ll like! Our customized guides will help you get to where you want to go. 

Eating styles are also vital to targeting fat loss. You want to eat in a way that nourishes your body first and foremost, making it feel “safe,” eventually leading to excess fat loss. 

This means eating food that healthily reduces stress. Such foods contain many nutrients, are digestible, and are energy packed. It also means eating regularly and not skipping meals. 

Eating in this manner allows for a healthy and happy thyroid, which can also significantly affect your weight. 

Weight Loss the Right Way

Focusing on fat loss rather than weight loss will ensure a more successful long-term health journey. 

Targeting fat loss looks different for each person. So remember that your fat loss journey will be unique to you. 

No matter what that journey looks like for you, here at TeamArodFitness, we are committed to making your weight loss journey easy, enjoyable, and personalized! That’s why we offer many different levels of support. Whether that be our custom strength programs, our gut support guides, or our custom macros, we’ve got you covered! 


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