Like many people, you may have begun exercising regularly and strength training in order to lose weight, create a slimmer body contour, and become healthier. You may have stepped on the scale and decided to make some changes. And as you began to lose weight, you have found that there are stubborn areas of your body that just won’t change. How can this be when the number on the scale gets lower and lower?
The terms weight loss and fat loss are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. Weight loss refers to a decrease in your body weight, while fat loss refers to a change in your body composition.
Body composition refers to the make-up of your body, including fat and fat-free mass such as water, muscle tissue, and bone. While you may be using the number on the scale to track your progress, gaining muscle and losing body fat will help you get a fit and healthy look as well as improve the contours or shape of your body.
You’ve probably heard “muscle weighs more than fat” over and over on your weight loss journey. And while this is true – a pound weighs a pound no matter what the substance is – this doesn’t mean that your weight is the main measure of your body composition, health, and fitness. And it may not even be the best way to determine your progress.
When it comes to body composition, a pound of muscle is much denser than a pound of fat. So, while they weigh the same, they may look very different on your body. This is why the scale may stay the same or even go up a little, but you’ll notice that your clothes fit better and you look slimmer.
There are many reasons to be mindful of your body composition, but in terms of weight loss and health, muscle is critical to success in losing fat. Muscles are fat-burning engines in your body, reducing your body fat percentage and gaining muscle can create fat burn that helps you lose weight. You are also healthier overall if you have a healthier body fat percentage.
There’s no doubt that part of the desire to lose weight involves a desire to reshape or change the contours of your body. One of the most frustrating things about exercising regularly, strength training, and losing weight is that there always seems to be an area or two that stubbornly refuses to get smaller. Or it does get smaller but remains out of proportion to the rest of your weight loss.
The stubborn areas are resistant to weight loss because your body is predisposed to storing fat in those areas. The places your body tends to store fat are established early and are governed by factors such as gender, genetics, calorie intake, and physical exercise. The first two factors you have no control over, but the last two you do. But, this doesn’t help in stubborn areas that are resistant to fat loss.
These stubborn areas, such as muffin tops and love handles, are examples of areas of unwanted and hard-to-lose fat. Body contouring differs from weight loss in that it targets specific areas rather than reducing fat throughout the entire body. It is generally used when all other methods have been unable to shift these stubborn fat pockets. While this may cause some weight loss, it is not appropriate as a weight-loss method.
There is a specific amount of fat cells in your body. When you gain weight, these cells get larger as they store fat. So, when you lose weight, you are not losing fat cells, they just get smaller. Fat sculpting procedures change the shape of your body by targeting specific areas and removing the fat that stubbornly remains in those areas, thus reducing the body’s circumference.
By reducing the fat cells in specific areas of your body, such as stubborn fat pockets that won’t budge with diet and exercise, fat sculpting makes your body look thinner. This is not because of any significant weight loss but because the fat cells are smaller.
With a body contouring procedure such as laser fat removal, the fat cells in your body shrink, and your body’s natural processes remove the fat inside them. Because the procedure removes the fat but not the cells themselves, they begin to act as healthy fat cells, providing your brain with the correct messages. They can cause additional fat cells around them to shrink and release the fat they contain and also behave as healthy fat cells.
In order to maintain these results, it is important to maintain a healthy diet that includes grains, lean protein, and healthy fats and exercise regularly.