Losing weight might be easier than most people think. Spend more energy than you consume, and the body will translate the resulting energy “deficit” into weight loss.
How to lose body fat
If you want to focus on losing body fat, the overall guidelines are similar to those of weight loss. However, it’s important to understand what happens in the body when you lose fat, as opposed to losing weight in general.
Same but different: how weight loss differs from fat loss
What exactly do you “lose” when you lose weight? Body weight can decrease due to loss of water, muscle or fat, or all three combined.
Water normally accounts for 60-65% of body weight – or even more, if it’s abnormally retained in the body as a result of alcohol, a salty diet or certain medications or medical conditions. Muscle cells hold more water than fat cells. Whenever we lose muscle or fat, the amount of body water decreases accordingly. When we gain or lose weight rapidly, the changes often result from shifts in body water, not necessarily muscle or fat.
When we gain weight in the form of fat, fat cells initially swell until they reach their maximum size. New fat cells are made only after the existing cells have reached their oversized limit. When we lose weight, fat cells shrink in size but their number in the body stays the same. Therefore, once fat is gained and maintained it becomes difficult to lose. It’s a much better idea to prevent excessive fat gain to begin with!
Fat needs support in the form of muscle and bone. Thus, these lean supportive tissues make up nearly 30% of excess weight in obese people. Therefore, as you lose fat, you will inevitably lose some of the lean muscle that it is no longer needed to maintain the fat.
To avoid excessive loss of lean muscle while getting rid of body fat, lose weight at a gradual pace: 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week, and maintain a good exercise program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise and resistance training.