Obesity and over-weight are two major health concerns across the globe. It is also established that losing just five to 10 percent of your excess weight can pull you back from the health issues that further snowballs into chronic metabolic syndrome affecting your life, family and the community overall. With the busy urban lifestyles, we can see a huge change in our eating pattern. The habit of exercising regularly has also decreased. As a result, we started putting on weight, which as a result is driving a thriving business community – all trying to provide quick and easy solution to lose extra kilos. This brings the question – is just losing weight enough or do we need to lose fat as well? Does losing fat translate into weight loss? What is different and why can we not do both together? To understand it all, we need to first know the science behind it.
Understanding Weight Management:
Weight is the sum total of all within the human body. It is measured in kg or pounds. WHO and other scientific communities have, based on population studies, recommended weight for height.
As the scientific evidence pointed to the fact that overweight and obesity were a major contributor to various diseases, they developed a Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a ratio of weight to height squared. BMI helps classify various stages from over weight to obesity to morbid obesity. This is at the best a guideline to the weight range healthy for your height.
Normal BMI: 18.0-22.9 kg/m2, Overweight: 23.0-24.9 kg/m2, Obesity: >25 kg/m2
Further scientific evidence pointed to an increased risk to health depending on your body shape. So, waist / hip ratio was defined as a marker for intervention.
Less than 1.0 in men and less than 0.85 in women indicates abnormal fat accumulation
It was also found that overall body fat was an important marker for increased incidence of chronic health issues like diabetes, insulin resistance and heart diseases. So, Body Composition Analysis (BCA) was found to be of critical importance in planning the health journey.
To put it simply, our body is made of fat, protein, minerals and water. BMI takes all into consideration, while BCA calculates each individually.
Age wise: 20-39-year age group should be 8-19% for men and 21-32% for women
40-59-year age group should be 11-21% for men and 23-33% for women
60-79-year age group should be 13-24%, and for women should be 24-35%
Understanding Weight Loss:
Losing weight, that is total weight, has been the focus of most individuals. The basic premise is that when you control the food intake to a level where in a negative calorie balance is achieved, weight will come down. The formula used here is that a daily negative balance of 500 Kcal translates to 3500 Kcal/ week, which is the amount needed to lose 0.5 kg/ week a healthy weight loss. This negative balance can be created by reducing 200-300 Kcal from your food and another 200-300 through exercise.
Advantage Of Weight Loss:
This is a gentle weight loss, which is sustainable and it focuses on a balanced diet from all food groups, eliminating empty calories. It focuses on overall healthy life style and has many benefits.
Disadvantage Of Weight Loss:
In addition to overall weight loss, there may be healthy muscle loss too, if the macro nutrients are not well planned. Negative energy balance diets do not focus on fat loss.
Understanding Fat Loss:
Fat is an essential part of body composition. It is present as essential fat, which is present in bones, liver, kidneys, intestines and muscle and is critical for the functioning of the body. The other type of fat is storage fat, which is found in the adipose tissue. It surrounds the organs and provides cushion to them. It also insulates the body, maintaining temperature. Excess food intake results in the body converting it to stored fat. Diet that focuses on fat loss focuses on overall calories with emphasis on the correct amount of Macros, especially proteins, moderate healthy carbs and fats, and timing of each of these.
Advantage Of Fat Loss:
It is well established in terms of improved insulin resistance, lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and improved overall health.
Disadvantage Of Fat Loss:
It needs constant monitoring and focus. Losing fat can be tedious and the regaining of weight and fat is a reality on deviation.
Weight is a health issue, but losing fat is definitely more advantageous for health. However, overall weight loss is also good. So first get all your body composition numbers, consult a qualified nutritionist, plan and set your goals and follow them judiciously.
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