It’s an age-old question: what’s the secret to weight loss? Clue: the answer doesn’t lie in detox tea (or ‘teatoxing’), detox pills, or fasting, nor does it lie in compensating for what you’ve eaten by doing a hard session in the gym.
It’s easy to get swept up in the misinformation around weight loss, with what to eat, what not to eat, and the latest fad diets all over the media. However, what many of these avenues fail to do is to educate and empower us on the topic of fat loss. Instead, many of the most popular diets all have one thing in common, regardless of the method: creating a calorie deficit. But are they safe?
Tom Rothwell, Healthcare & Wellbeing Propositions Executive at AXA Health, is here to explain the basic science behind losing weight safely, as well as highlighting exactly what a calorie deficit is.
Weight loss v fat loss
‘I want to lose weight’ is the goal we often set ourselves but, more often than not, we really mean ‘I want to lose fat’.
Our weight can fluctuate throughout the day; this can be due to many things, such as:
- acute food/water intake,
- carbohydrate intake,
- the previous day’s food intake
- and salt intake.
This is the reason why weight on the scales is not necessarily the best indicator of fat loss or gain. Considering around 60% of our body weight is water1, solely focusing on scale weight to look at fat loss or gain is pointless and potentially damaging in some cases if we then start to rely on and become obsessed with the numbers we see.
Better methods would be a body fat percentage test (if you have access) or invest in a tape measure if you wanted to track waist measurements for example.
Don’t forget that underwear sizes, clothes sizes, belt sizes, how your clothes feel on you and progress photos are all useful tools, too!