There’s one universal chant on almost everyone’s lips these days – I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!!
Are you one of the religious chanters? Do you know what exactly you’re getting yourself into? Because weight loss is much more than just a drop in that number. If done right, it can accentuate your wellbeing but if done wrongly, it can harm in multiple ways. Today, let’s look into what actually healthy weight loss is.
What is weight loss?
In simple terms, weight is a reduction of number on your weighing scale. But a closer look will tell you if that drop is because of fat loss, muscle mass loss or body fluid loss. That’s right – weight loss can happen as a result of any of these loses.
*Weight loss = Muscle loss + Fat loss + Water loss
You need to balance this to experience healthy weight loss that doesn’t bounce back.
- Muscle loss causes weakness in the body and it also slows down your metabolism drastically which means your body fat increases and so does your weight.
- Fluid loss can mean you’re severely dehydrated and such type of weight comes back almost immediately. So this too cannot be considered as true weight loss.
- Fat loss is the main area where the real weight loss happens and that is what you must majorly focus on. A healthy lean body has lower levels of fat percentage, 10% to 15% for men and 15% to 20% for women. Your fat percentage is the true measurement of how fit and in which shape you are.
This doesn’t mean you should not lose overall weight. In some cases, where people are overweight, an overall reduction is required. It is best to consult your doctor and a professional trainer to help you decide the path of your weight loss journey.
So let’s focus on the star of weight loss – FAT LOSS.
What happens in Fat Loss?
Fat loss means reducing your body-fat percentage – the amount of fat you carry. It means burning the fats (stored as triglycerides) and turning them into energy to be used by the body. Fat loss happens when you burn and use more fat than the intake amount. And to pace up or increase the fat loss, your body needs to start using fatty acids as its primary source of energy.
What happens to the fat when you lose weight?
Your body converts fat to usable energy for your muscles and other tissues through a series of complex metabolic processes. This causes your fat cells to shrink.
These metabolic activities also generate heat, which helps maintain your body temperature, and waste products. These waste products — water and carbon dioxide — are excreted in your urine and sweat or exhaled from your lungs.
How does Fat Loss Happen?
Presently, the primary source of energy for your body is glycogen (found majorly in carbs, sugar). Because glycogen is easier for your body to use as energy, it’s used before fat. So if your glycogen stores are full, your body doesn’t burn fat. To start burning fat, you need to diminish your glycogen stores so your body has no other choice than to use stored fat for energy.
Glycogen depletion happens when we run out of glycogen stores because of lack of food (rich in carbs and sugar) or intense exercise. Glycogen in the muscles can only be used by that muscle. Glycogen stored in the liver can be used throughout the body. So it’s important to monitor closely what you eat. When following a low-carb diet, your body needs time to adjust to a new fuel source.
*Low-carb and ketogenic diets, as well as strenuous exercise, deplete glycogen stores, causing the body to burn fat for energy, hence making you lose fat faster. And since you’re losing fat faster, you’ll also need to refill the stock with good fat.
Some good fat choices include:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Nuts and seeds (in moderation)
To maintain a low body fat and/or lower body fat:
- Exercise at least 5 hours per week
- Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues
- Sleep 7-9 hours per night
- Don’t engage in extreme diets
- Stay consistent with your habits
- Incorporate non-exercise physical activity
- Ignore food advertising
Remember, people with same height and weight can look different and that could because of fat percentage! So understand your body thoroughly before embarking on this journey and make sure you lose the right kind of weight. If you have any more questions, drop a comment below and I will be happy to help you out.