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Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss

weight loss vs fat loss

Curious to know the difference between “caloric weight loss” and “hormonal fat loss”?

Caloric Weight Loss:

The weight you lose and calories you burn may or may not be fat. Sure, if you eat like a bird and run for miles you’ll lose weight, but you won’t change your shape. Instead of being a tight toned athletic shape, if you are a pear shape, you will simply become a smaller pear shape. And a more mushier one too (loss of muscle means loss of tone).

Following the “eat less, exercise more model” is playing the weight loss game. Not only does it not produce the desired shape change people are after, but it has an insidious side effect: weight gain rebound. There is a reason the term “yo-yo diet” is so well known.

weight loss vs fat lossWe now know that losing muscle during standard dieting makes it far more likely you will not only regain the weight you lost, but end up fatter than you were before. This fact, combined with the insatiable hunger, relentless cravings, and inconsistent energy produced by this approach, almost guarantees a return to our bigger, fatter selves. (see references 1-7 below for more)

Research tells us the long term success rate of this approach is less than 5%. Research also tells us that 66% of individuals who take this approach end up fatter within 2 years after their diet.

Caloric weight loss may work in the short run to make you smaller, but even that won’t last as almost everyone rebounds and regains the weight. Here is a critical distinction the weight loss world seems to miss: a plan that works well in the short term but is impossible to maintain in the long-run, is not a plan that works.

For those who can keep the weight off, it is an exhausting and continuous battle against their willpower. All of that work for a body that is softer and not as shapely as they had likely hoped.

The caloric weight loss game is not a smart lifestyle approach to a permanent body change.

Hormonal Fat Loss:

The fat loss way is a hormone centered approach. It is not just about calories, it also pays particular attention to hormones. I know not everyone is a biochemist, and that the idea of “hormonal fat loss” versus “caloric weight loss” is a novel concept. So, allow me to make it simple for you.

Forget all the complex science. You don’t need it to tell you if your hormones are balanced for fat loss. All you need is to know your HEC (pronounced heck). When you’re in a fat burning state, your HEC will be in check!

What do I mean by HEC? HEC stands for hunger, energy and cravings, and when your hormonal metabolism is balanced, these three biofeedback tools will also be balanced. When the metabolism is functioning optimally, hunger will be reduced, energy will be balanced, and cravings will be almost absent.

By putting an emphasis on the hormonal impacts of diet, exercise, and lifestyle, you have the ability to regulate calories naturally without as much effort. You can’t just indiscriminately eat less and move more. This sends your HEC out of balance and will eventually result in compensatory eating, low motivation for exercise, cravings, and yo-yo weight regain.

The right approach for fat loss is to exercise smarter and eat intelligently in a way that maintains muscle and focuses on fat loss exclusively. This approach takes great care to balance hormones so that hunger is lessened, energy is raised, cravings are reduced, and fat is lost.

With fat loss, you keep your muscle, your metabolic rate is just as high as it was when you were bigger, AND you don’t have to fight a constant battle against willpower because HEC is balanced. When HEC is balanced and you are losing fat, you know you have found a lifestyle you can live forever.


  1. Benedict FG, (1907) The Influence of Inanition on Metabolism. Carnegie Institute of Washingtion Publication No. 77. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institute of Washington.
  2. Benedict FG, Miles WR, Roth P et al. (1919) Human Vitality and Efficiency under Prolonged restricted Diet. Carnegie Institute of Washington Publication 280. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institute of Washington.
  3. Fleisch A (1947) Ernahungsprobleme in Mangelzeiten (Nutrition Problems During Food Rationing) Basel: Benno Schwabe & Co.
  4. Keys A, Brozek J, Henschel A et al. (1950) The Biology of Human Starvation. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.
  5. Nindl BC, Friedl KE, Frykman PN et al. (1997) Physical performance and metabolic recovery among lean healthy men following a prolonged energy deficit. Int J Sports Med 18, 317-324.
  6. Young AJ, Castellani JW O’Brien C et al. (1998) Exertional fatigue, sleep loss, and negative energy balance increase susceptibility to hypothermia. J Appl Physiol 85, 1212-1217.
  7. Friedl KE, Moore RJ, Hoyt RW et al. (2000) Endocrine markers of semistarvation on healthy lean men in a multi-stressor environment. J Appl Physiol 88, 1820-1830.

Want to learn more about the Fat Loss Lifestyle? The Metabolic Effect Diet Program offers all the tools, resources, and accountability necessary to lose fat, maintain that loss, and never look back.