Fat Loss vs Weight Loss – The Difference Explained

Weight loss and Fat loss is NOT the same thing! The main goal as always should be to lose fat and reduce excess body fat. Many people confuse the two things, often believing that they mean the same, when in fact weight loss and fat loss are very different from each other.

Are you confused as I am about fat loss and weight loss? I will try to break down what the difference is between the two, and how this can help you better understand the implications on the body.

Fat Loss

Fat loss is about losing the excess body fat that the body is carrying i.e. the percentage of your total body weight made up of fat.

Fat Loss = Reducing  body fat

The main focus for fat loss is based on exercising smartly and eating intelligently in a way that maintains muscle mass and reduces the stored fat.

Let’s Focus on fitness…

Remember losing weight does not mean you are fit. The muscle you have now, will not be there forever. If you don’t use it, feed it, YOU WILL LOSE IT!

What you need is proper plans in place with the right amount of cardio, a balanced nutritional plan, and resistance training, only then will you achieve your fat loss goals. If you are thinking that by exercising alone it will melt the stored fat then you are mistaken. Exercise boosts the burning process, what you need to do is create a deficit and do not consume more than you have to burn only then will you see the results you are looking for. Fat loss is about finding the right balance between cutting your calories and feeding the muscles.

The main aspect of fat loss is to maintain the muscle mass and keep the metabolic rate high. Fat loss will transform your body composition. You will see the changes!

Fat Loss is a lifestyle change, where you provide the environment without shocking it, depriving it or starving it, but by giving it what it needs. Only then will you see the changes but it does take time.

Now when you lose fat and maintain the muscle you will not see any difference on the weighing scale, it will show only a minimal change in weight. I know what you are thinking all that work and no progress!

The difference is the body composition changes, that you will not see but others will. Simply put fat tissue is loose and not dense it occupies a lot of space on the body, whereas muscle is much denser and heavier and denser occupying a smaller space on the body. Therefore when you lose fat and maintain muscle mass the body looks more toned, lean and shapely.

Remember what was said, losing weight does not always mean you are fit. A fitter body has lower levels of fat percentage. The average healthy percentile for men is 10% to 15% and 15% to 20% for women. Your fat percentage is the true measurement of how fit you are and what shape your body is in.

Weight Loss

It is quite simple really, weight loss is the sum loss of your total weight. The sum of total weight is made up of the weight of your muscles, your bones, your organs, a bit of fat and the amount of water your body retains.

Weight Loss =  Water Loss + Fat Loss + Muscle Loss

Do know your muscle matters? Loss of muscle affects your health and your overall appearance.

Generally, when you lose weight quickly by dieting you also lose muscle mass. This is because the body cannot maintain the muscle as it is not getting the right amount of calories so, therefore, starts to metabolise the muscle and reserve the incoming calories for its survival. A defence mechanism within the body is triggered I call it Survival Mode! Now what happens is that it starts to protect the fat stores and uses the muscle to keep the body functioning i.e. brain, heart, kidneys and liver.

When the body starts losing more muscle mass the metabolic rate decreases. The metabolic rate is determined by the amount of muscle and fat ratio to be put simply. The more muscles you have the higher the metabolic rate, therefore the fewer muscles you have the lower the metabolic rate.

Weight loss works in the short run to make you smaller but is temporary, almost everyone rebounds and regains the weight. This forces you to find another diet, and another one, and then another one – because eventually, they will all fail!


What you need to remember is that fat loss should be the main focus of your goals and maintaining a lean muscle mass.

The ultimate goal of successful weight loss is maintaining as much muscle as possible, or even gaining some, while at the same time losing as much body fat as possible. Your body fat percentage (%) is a key indicator of your success, not the scale. Two people could both weigh the same, however one might have 30% body fat, while the other might have 15% body fat. To the scale, they are both the same. A scale can’t tell the difference between a 140lb person or a 140lb sack of flour even though I personally think they look a little different.

Once you start losing muscle you are fighting an uphill battle to lose fat. Since muscle burns calories, when you lose some you slow your metabolism, which results in you ending up having to cut calories further in order to keep a sufficient calorie deficit. This starts a downward spiral of calorie cuts leading to more and more muscle loss. Please read the article: How To Lose Fat and Gain Muscle – Nothing is Impossible!

Don’t worry so much about your weight. If you’re looking and feeling better about yourself your weight doesn’t matter. Progress is not just measured in pounds.



10 thoughts on “Fat Loss vs Weight Loss – The Difference Explained

  1. Timssnakes

    Hey there, Loved your page. great layout and content. You have a very engaging writing style!
    I was also recently looking up what exactly the difference is between the two and what strategies there are out there. Your content was really helpful and informative, thanks for cleaning that up for me:)

    1. Khayyam

      Thank You Tim, This subject matter also had me at points until I came across a lot of research differentiating between the two. You know its not possible to effectively target weight and fat loss without some compromise. I am glad you got the information from my post and found it useful.

  2. Marques Pizarro

    I am so glad I came across this article! I can tell you put a lot of thought and effort into this article about weight loss because there is so much content. As a young bodybuilder, nutrition is super critical for my physique. And I agree, we as humans are made to move, and if we do not use it and fuel them, we will lose it! I am in the cutting stages before summer, and I was wondering if you have any advice in general about how to cut? Hope to read your response, thanks!

    1. Khayyam

      Hi Marques,

      I am grateful that you have enjoyed my post and it has helped you in some way. Cutting is a bit tricky this has to be done properly so you do not lose all the gains you have made. Personally I think if you are aiming for a body fat % that will show all the muscles, your diet has to be on point. When cutting you need to reduce the amount of carbs to a level where the body can function and maintain recovery, don’t forget to keep the protein up, as this will keep your lean mass. I have just mentioned a couple of points here, but I will post something on this in the near future… Keep a look out!

  3. asmithxu

    This is really great information and really important for anyone who wants to lose weight. It is vital that people lose weight in a reasonable and healthy way so that they don’t harm their bodies. If you are losing a lot of muscle, imagine how that affects your heart (which is basically a giant muscle) as well as other organs which rely on the action of smooth muscle.

    Knowledge is vital when it comes to getting fit. I hope to read more from you.

    1. Khayyam

      Thank you Eva, I believe that when you are trying to lose weight and fat, it is best to concentrate on the fat loss. As you can get sidetracked with the scales…You know what I mean! Its a double edged sword.  Fat loss will show changes in body composition not weight. The overall effect will be a leaner YOU!.

  4. Ann & Alex

    Hi Khayyam,

    I never really thought of weight loss this way. I always said I want to lose weight, but ideally, I want to lose fat.

    I have been working out and the scale never seems to move even though I feel like I have lost weight. So I guess I am losing fat and not weight really.

    Thanks for explaining this so clearly and helping me think a different way.

    Great information


  5. Alejandra

    Hi Khayyam,
    I’m glad I came to read this article about fat loss vs weight loss the difference explained,
    I’m working on get rid of some weight and my nutritionist told me not to do exercise, to go just with the diet.
    It’s good to read the reasons about why is important to do some exercise, I will talk with my nutritionist about it.
    I will read your article about how to lose fat.

    1. Khayyam

      Hi Alejandra,

      Thank you for reading the article. I am happy that it has given you more information on how to lose fat. Keep reading as I have more to share in the near future.

      Khayyam (Fat Loss Goals)

  6. Awesome article Khayyam, It is important for people to understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss. I see so many people doing crash diets and losing a done of weight and then gaining it all back when they get back to their normal eating habits.

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