Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

Posted: Feb 22 in Weight loss by

Most people I work with have a single focus – to lose as much weight as possible. However, sometimes people forget that weight loss and fat loss are not always the same thing.

Exercise – Cardio vs. Resistance

Like many people, when the pandemic started, I stopped going to the gym. And I haven’t gone back. Instead, we set up a gym in our basement – I exercise hard an hour every day, alternating between biking, elliptical machine and running. Back when I went to the gym, I also did full-body weights about twice a week, usually for about 30 minutes each time.

Weight Loss – good or bad?

I’ve been proud of myself that through the pandemic, I’ve actually lost a little bit of weight – about 5 pounds. But, even though I own a very fancy body composition scale, I hadn’t stood on it in about a year.

Well, last week, I found the courage to face the SECA scale. And I was astonished at the results. Let me walk you through them below.

Weight Loss lowers Body Mass Index (BMI)

The first section shows my body mass index – you can see that this has improved, dropping about a point from March of 2021 (6.03.21) to now (February 2022 – dot before 18.05.22):


Does Weight Loss = Fat Loss?

However, the news isn’t actually that great. If you look at the next section, you can see there was no fat loss, and the loss was in fat-free mass:

fat and fat free mass

Visceral Fat and Skeletal Muscle

It goes downhill from here. Looking at the next section, you can see there is an increase in visceral fat (organ fat) and a decrease in skeletal muscle:

visceral fat skeletal muscle

Even though weight was lost, body composition got worse!

Finally, in the body composition chart, I’ve labeled where I started, how my composition improved with resistance training, and how it got worse without it. It starts off in the bottom left quadrant (low muscle / low fat), then with resistance training moves to the right (showing pure muscle gained), then through covid, moves back to the left (muscle lost). If this were a change in fat weight, the dot would be moving up and down:

body composition chart

Now as it turns out, I did injure both shoulders doing weights, and needed each injected right before Covid started. So I need to be careful with how I do my resistance training.

So, take home message?

Lighter is not always healthier! Be sure to keep an eye on your SECA body composition to help guide your progress. You can request a report that looks like this one any time – just ask for your Cumulative report (called a Comp report).

Oh yeah, and it’s time for me to start doing resistance again – just bought a weight bench and a set of hand weights 🙂


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