Many wonders if there’s a difference between weight loss and bodybuilding. The difference is actually very small. In fact, it all depends on the person. Let’s look at these two terms just to make sure.
What is weight loss? The point where unexplained weight loss suddenly becomes a concern is actually not precise. However, most physicians agree that a proper medical examination is needed if you drop more than five percent of your normal weight in a year, particularly if you are an older adult with a slow metabolism. For instance, a five percent weight loss from someone who is 160 lbs (72 kg) would be 8 pounds (three kilograms).
What is weight loss from eating less? A lot of people mistakenly think that they are losing weight by simply cutting back on their diet or even fasting. That’s certainly one way to lose some weight, but most dieters will tell you that it doesn’t work long-term. To get long-term weight loss, you’ll need to eat a healthy, balanced diet. If you do that, then most experts will say you’ve lost weight through dieting.
So, what about intentional or unexplained weight loss? There are actually two different types, unintentional and intentional. With unintentional weight loss, your body knows that you don’t need the calories it is consuming, so it burns the calories faster than it could consume them. This is why you often see overweight people who eat everything in sight but still manage to lose weight: Their bodies were programmed to have this effect. The main culprit in this type of weight loss is a mental disorder.
Intentional weight loss includes the bulimia diet, low-carb dieting, and some other diets that claim to help you lose weight faster by increasing your metabolism. There may be some truth to these diets, but if you intend to gain lean muscle mass instead of fat, then you won’t experience the same results. In fact, some of these programs may even lead to malnutrition.
An important point to note here: When you are intentionally burning calories, you are still going to have to burn some as well. Your body isn’t going to “burn calories” until you eat some. Therefore, you still have to burn some calories to nourish your muscles and build endurance. Some experts believe that increasing your metabolism enough to burn calories all by itself is unhealthy.
Is there hope for those who fall into the second category – the occasional, or “mild,” over-weight person? You can follow the advice of moderate weight loss program experts such as the American Council on Exercise, and work with them. Moderate weight loss programs recommend small, gradual increases in your calorie intake (within a balanced diet) to bring about a modest weight loss. This approach is much different from “magical” weight loss programs that promise you will lose a certain amount of weight very quickly and with no maintenance afterward. A “mild” over-weight should aim to maintain healthy body weight by keeping a reasonable level of activity. These programs are often used by professional athletes, people who don’t have time to commit to a rigorous daily weight loss program, and people who are obese and unhealthy.
The bottom line is this: There is no magic solution for weight loss. You must learn to change your eating habits. As stated above, you cannot just “will” your way to the results you want. However, by making small changes to your eating habits – by eating the right foods and exercising moderately – you can start on the road to weight loss, and once you reach your goals, you can continue to use these methods to keep yourself there!