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The Different Stages of Losing Weight: Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

<p>The Different Stages of Losing Weight: Weight Loss vs Fat Loss</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

When it comes to losing weight, it's important to understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different processes and outcomes. Here are the different stages of losing weight:

Caloric Deficit: In order to lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. This can be achieved through a combination of dietary changes and increased physical activity.

Weight Loss: Initially, when you start losing weight, you may notice a decrease in your overall body weight, which includes both fat and muscle tissue. This is because your body is burning stored energy (calories) from both fat and muscle tissue in order to meet its energy needs.

Fat Loss: As you continue to create a caloric deficit and lose weight, your body will start to burn more fat for energy. This is where fat loss occurs. In this stage, you may notice a decrease in body fat percentage and an increase in muscle tone.

Plateaus: It's important to note that weight loss is not always a linear process. At times, your progress may plateau, where you may not see any changes in your weight or body composition for several weeks or even months. This can be frustrating, but it's important to stay consistent with your healthy habits and trust the process.

Maintenance: Once you have achieved your desired level of fat loss, it's important to shift your focus to weight maintenance. This involves finding a sustainable way to maintain your new weight and body composition through healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

Weight loss refers to the overall reduction in body weight, which includes both fat and muscle tissue. This can be achieved through a caloric deficit, where you burn more calories than you consume. However, weight loss alone does not necessarily indicate an improvement in body composition, as you may be losing muscle tissue along with fat.

Fat loss, on the other hand, refers specifically to the reduction in body fat percentage. This is achieved by creating a caloric deficit and engaging in activities that promote fat burning, such as strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Fat loss is generally considered to be a more desirable outcome than weight loss alone, as it leads to a leaner, more toned physique and improved health markers.

In summary, weight loss involves a reduction in overall body weight, while fat loss specifically targets the reduction of body fat percentage. While both are important for improving health and physical appearance, fat loss is generally considered to be a more desirable outcome.


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.