Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss: What Is The Difference?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.


People who are overweight always strive to reach their weight loss goals but what they are actually trying to lose is not weight but fat. You must always look for fat loss, and build muscle. You can weigh more than before with bulk muscle and less fat but this healthy weight.

Simply weighing yourself on a scale won’t help you. You have to measure the fat content in your body along with muscle growth.

What is the difference between weight loss and fat loss?

Weight loss is a drop in your overall body weight which can be accomplished by losing wither muscle, water, fat from your body. But fat loss is just the reduction of fat from body.

Reduction of fat can be achieved through change of diet, but to maintain that consistency you need to build muscle.

Weight loss can be measured on a scale and it doesn’t necessarily mean whether it is healthy or not. To measure fat loss there are devices that can give you accurate levels of fat and muscle in different areas of your body.

Types of fat

There are 2 types of fat in your body and not both of them are useless or harmful:

  1. Essential: This is required for normal and optimal function of the body.
  2. Non-Essential: Fat stored in adipose tissue, this is what anyone wants to lose.

Weight loss can be achieved by either losing muscle, water or fat from your body and losing all of them will not leave your body with a healthy composition. With proper diet and exercise regimen, you can achieve fat loss and keep muscle that will maintain that consistency in your body.

What is muscle loss?

Muscle needs your attention through strength training. If you are too much focused on fixing your diet and increasing your cardio, then you are doing it at the expense of muscle mass.

If you are restricting yourself too much on calories, then you’ll lose muscle mass because calorie restriction means cutting down on macro-nutrients. Without enough protein intake, you cannot grow muscle even if you are strength training.

By the way, muscle acts as a factor weight loss. But how? The amount of muscle will reflect your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The rate at which your body burns fat during workout and at rest.

Less muscle implies that your BMR is low and your calorie burn is low throughout the day.

What is water loss?

Water loss is experienced when someone cuts down carbs from their diet. Carbohydrates retain three times more water than any other macro-nutrients. When you cut carbs, your body won’t retain much water as it does before.

Losing water doesn’t seem like a problem initially but your muscles are 70% water. If there is a drop in the intramuscular water, your muscles will adapt to dehydration, they will shrink and atrophy.

This will cause damage to the muscle structure and cause serious problem by destabilizing your BMR and Insulin-Sensitivity.

Your carbs are the source of fuel for your body and completely shutting your carbs intake can cause serious health issues. You need to consume at least 0.5 grams per pound of body weight for a low-carb diet. This will promote fat loss without any loss of intramuscular water.

What is fat loss?

This is the most desired goal for everybody but often confused with the above two. Let’s understand what it is and how it works.

Shedding fat happens through a process called lipolysis. It is a biological process of breaking down fat lipids and triglycerides in either the food you eat or already stored in various locations of your body.

You should look for achieving maximum lipolysis.

This happens in the mitochondria of muscles and this is why the more muscles you have, the more fat you can burn.

Exercise will help in up-regulating the lipolytic enzymes and mitochondria function which is why working out helps shedding fat.

This can bust your belief about doing simple cardio can keep you slim and fit, because while cardio can have its own benefits along with promoting fat loss. The amount of muscle mass in your body will determine for how long you can stay consistent with that.

What are the methods to lose fat?

Weight loss is a drop in overall body weight which may or may not include muscle loss, fat loss, water loss. Fat loss is a decrease in weight from burning fat, it is more healthful goal.

To lose fat, you need to follow these rules and we are going to discuss about them in detail below:

  1. Increase your protein intake
  2. Workout consistently
  3. Include Nutrient-dense foods which can also put you in slight calorie-deficit

  • Is it good enough to lose fat alone?

No, losing fat by itself might pose as a satisfying result. But in order to maintain that slim figure you need something else.

Fat loss, if achieved only by changing your diet and increasing your cardio will come at the expense of muscle.

It is very important to build muscle to achieve fat loss goals and more importantly to maintain what physique you have gained.

Why building muscle helps in shedding fat?

The amount of muscle mass can determine your metabolic rate. The higher muscle mass indicated higher metabolic rate ( which by the during workout and at rest as well).

If you lose fat by building muscle, the muscle mass will help your body maintain that fat percentage. Muscles occupy less space than fat, which brings your body into better shape and fit.

How to lose fat and maintain muscle?

Increase the amount of protein in your diet and reduce the carbs intake, this will help in preserving the muscle.

Exercise consistently and this will build your muscle. Include nutrient-dense foods in your diet which will keep you healthy and also provide necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep performing your vital functions of the body going healthy.

It is important to include cardio as well in your workouts. Read here about how to do cardio workouts.

Maintain calorie-deficit in your diet, and by the way don’t just cut everything . Try to moderately reduce 500-600 calories per day. This will help in reducing weight gradually.

How to know you are losing more than just fat?

This is a very important step as it will determine how your body is going to react to by what your losing.

Weight loss has to be tracked and if you are losing more than 2 pounds of body weight per week, you are losing more than fat.

Rapid weight loss can bring some serious health issues like diabetes and heart diseases.

When you start cutting calories and increasing workouts, you can see fat loss pretty quickly but never at a rapid rate.

The threshold is losing 2 pounds per week.


Fat loss and weight loss terms have been carried around making it seem like they both are actually same terms but the difference exists on various levels, which we have carefully distilled in this article.

Aim for fat loss and stay healthy. Remember, Consistency is the key to achieve any goals.

I hope this article has helped you with good information.