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Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

What’s the Difference?

When I talk to potential clients about what they would like to achieve, one of the most common answers is, “I want to lose weight”.

Although this is what they say, it isn’t actually what they want.


Stick with me and you won’t be.

First thing we need to understand is…

What is weight?

Weight /weɪt/

a body’s relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it, giving rise to a downward force; the heaviness of a person or thing. “he was at least fifteen stone in weight

So your body weight is basically your mass in relation to gravity. We typically measure this using a set of scales.

Scales an Measuring tape
Don’t measure your success by this

Now that we know what weight is and how to measure it, we must look at what your body is made up of.

In simple terms these are organs, bones, muscle and fat. All of which have mass (or weight).

By examining these it is clear that the two areas we have control over are muscle and fat. Unless built like Arnie or Sly, your average person should never aim to lose muscle, as it will leave them feeling weaker and more tired. So that leaves fat.

Yet, more often than not, I am told that “I want to lose weight”. What they really mean is that they really want to, or even need to lose FAT.

Now that we’ve established that fat loss is the desired outcome, then how do we measure this beyond a needle on a scale?

Fitness professionals tend to take skin fold measurements with calipers. These do give quite accurate measurements but require knowledge in how to use correctly, so they aren’t accessible to most of us.

How about a simpler way that we all can try.

To see a change in your fat percentage over time, just take a photo at the beginning of your fat loss journey and periodically thereafter. It doesn’t give you a body fat percentage, or facts and figures but it does show physical change that can help fuel you emotionally.

Instead of scales, use one of these.

Before and after photo’s show you the visible results that you can feel instead of some arbitrary number with little relation to how you look and feel.

How to achieve fat loss

So now that we’ve established what we really want to achieve and how to measure it, let’s talk about the correct approach.

Yes, if we eat less food and increase our movement, most of us will start to lose weight. Some of which will be fat but some can also be muscle. Not a great solution.

We should be aiming to lose the fat and keep the muscle. Like some of the excellent transformations below.

Emma Cameron before and after
Ian Malarkey before and after
Julie McConnachie before and after
Pablo Jareno before and after
Stuart Cameron before and after
Wendy before and after
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The goal of successful weight loss is to preserve muscle, or possibly even gain some, while at the same time lose as much body fat as possible (within safe limits). This is best achieved by:

  1. Eating nutrient-dense whole foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds.
  2. Eating enough energy aka calories to support your body size and activity level.
  3. Eating enough carbohydrates to support your activity level.
  4. Eating enough protein to facilitate muscle growth. It’s suggested that you eat 1-1.5g per pound of bodyweight. High-protein foods include, chicken, fish, eggs.
  5. Eating enough essential fatty acids to support your activity levels. Found in eggs, fish and nuts.
  6. Finally, Make sure you exercise regularly. Force your body to grow muscle by giving it consistent stimulation with resistance-based training. Some examples of resistance-based training in the video below.   

If all this dietary and exercise information is confusing the app My Fitness Pal is a great resource and works all of this out for you in great detail. Also, check out our blog on nutrition.

DMC Fitness is here to help too. If you are in or around Glasgow and need any help with your weight loss or fitness training then please book your 1-to-1 Success Session with us and we can guide you on your weight/fat loss journey.

It’s completely FREE and our expert personal trainers have over 30 years of combined industry experience.

We have the know-how to achieve lasting weight loss because we’ve all done it ourselves.

We have helped hundreds of our students achieve amazing results, some of which are in the video below.

To finish with here is a little reminder of the benefits that fat loss has over weight loss.

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

Until next time, “Strength for Life”



Davie McConnachie

Davie McConnachie is Scotland’s leading health and wellness coach, multi-award-winning gym owner, motivational speaker and the founder of DMC Fitness, a fitness education facility known as the premier choice for 1-2-1 personal training. He has inspired thousands of people to fall in love with fitness – his true purpose and mission in life.

Diving into the world of fitness and wellness has helped Davie to deal with his own trauma and inner demons. He, overcame many dark times using his own unique methods to continue his cycle of healing.