The relationship between weight loss and overall health is a contentious one; in part because of the wide range of theories and concepts that are prevalent throughout the industry. Some say burning fat is the key, while others want you to focus on building muscle. Some want you in your fat burning zone more often, while others will claim this concept is more fiction than fact.
And while there will always be debate over the best way to reach your diet and fitness goals, most experts agree that the scale isn’t always an accurate depiction of your overall health. In fact, it may be completely misleading.
Three Types of Weight Loss
When you lose weight, there are three primary types of weight loss you can encounter.
- Muscle loss
- Fat loss, and
- Water loss
Muscle loss often occurs when someone is paying close attention to calorie restriction or boosting cardio workouts in an effort to lose weight. Water loss often occurs when someone is making an effort to cut carbohydrates from their diet, because carbs retain up to three times more water than other macronutrients. Then there is the coveted fat loss, which most people that aspire to lose weight want.
Muscle Is More Dense than Fat
You’ve likely heard that muscle weighs more than fat. And while a pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh exactly the same, muscle is much more dense. This means that the pound of muscle you packed on will take up less space, making your body look different. But despite the leaner look, the scale will give you the exact same number as when you had an extra pound of fat, which is misleading because you are healthier than you were before.
The Dangers of Visceral Fat
The same can be true on the other side of the equation. If you lose muscle weight, but are carrying a decent amount of visceral fat, your lower scale reading may tell you that you’re doing well when you are in fact jeopardizing your health. Visceral fat refers to fat that’s stored around the organs in your abdominal cavity. Several serious health issues have been associated with the storage of visceral fat, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, colorectal cancer and high blood pressure.
The Tanita Machine
One way to help determine what’s going on inside your body, and whether the scale is giving you an accurate reflection of your health, is with a Tanita machine. This piece of equipment is a multi-frequency segmental body composition analyzer that produces whole body composition measurements including overall weight, fat mass, muscle mass, body fat percentage, body mass index, visceral fat rating, bone mass, total body water, physique rating, basal metabolic rate and more.
With the Tanita machine, you can get an up to date, accurate report of how your weight is distributed, and will gain insight into the type of approach that will help you to shed any excess pounds and maximize your overall health.