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Is Losing Weight The Same As Losing Fat?

Contrary to common belief, your weight is not really the indicator of a weight problem - the actual percentage of body fat is the true indicator. You need to know what percent of you is actually FAT. How are you going to monitor your weight loss if you do not know what percent of your body is fat, before you begin your program?

Let me give you an example on measuring body fat, this is important in understanding weight loss, or should I say FAT LOSS. This is actually what we are trying to lose, right? FAT!

Lets say someone weighs 200 pounds and when we measure their body fat we find out there body fat is 40%

This means that 40% of the members body is made of fat (80 lbs). The other 120 lbs is muscle, bones, organs, water, etc. (everything but fat).

Now any true weight loss program should include some form of strength training customized to their personal abilities (Another reason you need someone who truly understands the whole body and how it works). Because if you can gain some of that muscle mass that we lose with age, our bodies will burn more calories and therefore burn more FAT!

Now it's a few weeks into the program and this person steps on the scale and they now weigh 198 lbs. They are a little disappointed because they thought they were doing better. Their clothes fit better, they have more energy, and they are feeling better.

But they are still depressed because they only lost a lousy 2 pounds! Right? Are we sure???

We now check their body fat and it is now 36% not 40%. Let's do a little math.

200 lbs at 40% body fat means that 40% of them is fat, which equals 80 lbs of FAT, and 120 lbs are muscles and everything else (called the lean body mass).

198 lbs at 36% body fat means that 36% of them is fat which equals 71 lbs of FAT, and 125 lbs of lean body mass.

This person actually lost 9 pounds of FAT (the stuff we are trying to lose) and gained 5 pounds of lean body mass (mostly muscle mass, which is a good thing because this will allow their body to burn more calories!)

You need to measure and focus on PERCENT OF BODY FAT, AND NOT WEIGHT!

But don't worry, when your body fat goes down, as your body fat decreases so will the numbers on the scale!

Dr. Jeffrey Banas is a Chiropractic Sports Physician, practicing in Mesa; AZ. Dr. Banas personally lost 60 pounds in 2003 and now uses his experience to help others struggling with their weight problems. Dr. Banas can be reached at his office at 480-633-6837, or by visiting his web site at


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