Weight Loss vs. Body Fat Loss

The Scale Lies

Weight Loss vs. Body Fat Loss


What is body fat?

Body fat is the amount of essential fat and stored fat on a body. Essential body fat is fat needed for proper function and survival. Other fat is fat stored on the body that is not necessary for survival but is usually the body’s way of storing excess calories that we have taken in thru excess nutrient consumption.

Body fat is stored in three general areas:

  1. Under the skin (subcutaneous)
  2. Around internal organs (internal fat)
  3. Inside muscle tissue (intramuscular fat)

The more body fat a person has, the more it will add to their overall body weight.

Whenever someone wants to go on a diet, how often does the statement “I need to lose some weight go hand and hand with that diet. Is losing weight what people are really after though? How many people lose weight but are still not satisfied with the way that they look? The problem may be in the fact that people always aim to lose weight but hardly ever focus on the important thing to loose body fat. Reducing body fat is actually what changes a person’s physical appearance. Simply put the less body fat a person has the better their appearance.

What is weight?

Weight is the total overall weight of a mass. When referring to people, weight includes everything that makes up total mass. This includes bones, organs, bodily fluids, muscle, fat, or anything that makes up for the mass once it is weighed. If a person steps on a scale with two extra shirts and a jacket on, their weight may have changed but dietary wise nothing has changed. Because weighing an object only tells if its total mass has changed the scale is not a good indicator of measuring dietary changes.

Understanding body fat percent-

Now that we have a better understanding of the difference between body fat and weight, let’s talk a little about body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is the amount of body fat a person carries in comparison to the amount of lean tissue they carry. Let’s take a 190 pound person for example. If that person has 171 pounds of lean mass and 19 pounds of fat, their body fat percentage would be 10 percent. Body fat percent is total body weight divided by fat weight. 190 pounds total weight/19 pounds of fat= 10 percent body fat. Body fat percentage is important because the lower a body fat percentage the healthier a person tends to be because they are carrying less overall fat on their bodies. When aiming to get in better shape a person should aim to reduce body fat percentage over reducing weight. Two people can have exactly the same body weight but with different levels of body fat they can look completely different.


When striving to improve one’s health, a person should not fixate on the sole idea of losing weight to achieve a healthier self. Weight loss is not a true indicator if a person is becoming healthier or not. A better indicator would be body fat loss and measuring body fat percentage. Body fat percentage can give a better indication of muscle to fat in the body. Body fat percentage is better because two people can have the same weight and height but look completely different based on body fat percentage. A lower body fat percentage also is an indicator or more lean muscle mass which can be an indicator of better overall health.

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