- Your weight is sum total of muscle mass, fat mass, body water, bone mass
- Preserving your lean mass is the best way to reduce fat
- Consume sufficient protein to build up muscles
When it comes to achieving your ideal body weight through a weight loss regime, the focus should be on fat loss rather than weight loss as a whole. Confusing? Let's simplify it by understanding the basic difference between the two.
How is weight loss different from fat loss?
Your body weight is the sum total of muscle mass, fat mass, body water, and bone mass. Losing extra body weight is nothing short of an achievement for many, but losing weight can backfire sometimes. If done using crash dietary methods or other shortcuts you may lose out on muscle mass instead of fat which might show you surprising results in the beginning, but the weight will bounce back even faster. If you are not eating enough or not eating a well-balanced diet- you might lose out on muscle first instead of fat.
Adding muscle mass and preserving your lean mass is the best way to lose out on body fat. Some amount of fat is necessary for the body to perform critical functions like absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, cushioning of internal organs, and providing energy. Too much of body fat can make you store unwanted calories and such fat pound by pound can make you appear shapeless. The best way to lose out on fat mass is by creating a calorie deficit and being regular with a workout regime.
Signs that you are losing muscles not fat
- Your regular workouts feel harder instead of becoming smooth overtime
- You feel sluggish while performing regular activities
- Lower endurance and poor sense of balance
- Your weight is stuck
Tips to ensure you lose out on excess fat and mot muscle mass
1. Don't just rely on exercising: When you work out, small tears are created in your muscles, which is normal but for you to continue working out on a daily basis, these muscle tissues need to repair themselves. That is where the diet comes to play a key role. Without giving the necessary recovery time to your muscles, you might lose out on the strength and eventually muscle mass.
2. Protein-up: Make sure to consume some form of protein with every major meal of yours. Start by having a protein-rich breakfast. You may include eggs, lean meat, cottage cheese, nuts, seeds or a teaspoon of ghee in your breakfast preparations. Your muscle cells tend to shed protein every day so you need to do the replacement as well.
3. Don't drastically cut carbs: Carbs are often seen as the monsters and are frequently cut drastically in order to lose weight. However, the focus should not be on cutting carbs as a whole, rather refined and processed carbs should be completely avoided and whole grains like ragi, whole wheat, bajra, jowar, quinoa, and buckwheat must be included in the diet for a steady supply of energy.
4. Balancing cardio and strength training: Instead of long and monotonous cardio, focus on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that offer better result and increased muscle mass. Simultaneously include strength training or weight training in your regime to maintain existing muscle mass. Most importantly, keep one day of the week as a rest day in order to give your muscles and body the necessary time to rest and recover.
This crucial difference between muscle loss and fat loss is often overlooked making weight loss a vicious cycle overall. Excess body weight can give rise to a host of chronic diseases and the best way to lose it is under the guidance of healthcare experts.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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