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.

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. No one should ever aim to lose muscle. So that leaves fat.

Yet, more often than not, I am told that “I want to lose weight” instead of “I want to lose fat”. What they really mean is the opposite. They really want to lose FAT.

Now that we’ve established that fat loss is the goal, how do we measure this?

Fitness professionals tend to take skin fold measurements with calipers. These do give quite accurate measurements but require knowledge in how to use correctly.

Here is a simpler way.

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 but it does show physical change and is better motivation than a needle on a scale.

Instead of scales, use one of these.

Before and after photo’s show you the visible results instead of a 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.

We want to lose the fat and keep the muscle. Like some of the excellent transformations below.

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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 vs fat

Until next time, “Strength for Life”


Davie McConnachie, creator of DMC Fitness and Dynamic Mind Conditioning, is an expert health and wellness coach, multi-award winning motivational speaker, award-winning gym owner, writer, and published poet.

Athletically, Davie has competed nationally in MMA, Boxing and Thai Boxing, and internationally in kettlebell sport. Davie enjoyed the London Marathon, several half marathons and is a regular mountain trekker.