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Weight loss vs. Fat loss: What’s the difference and why you should care (Part 2)

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Weight loss vs. Fat loss: What’s the difference and why you should care (Part 2)

Many of you know me as Coach Megan. The person who is always reminding you that weight loss isn’t what’s most important, the person reminding you why we care so much about fat loss, the person reminding you to eat enough and to drink your water. What you might not know about me is that I returned to Done Done in March of 2023 after a few years of struggling with my weight, body image, exercise routine, and mental health.


Yes, even though I had been a health coach myself for about a year at the time, I still struggled pretty significantly with my health. I’m human. 


I won’t give you a full health history but I will take you briefly back to 2022. 

In the beginning of 2022 I started to pursue an intentional health journey but I was hell bent on not making weight loss my whole focus. I did want to lose weight but I didn’t have a particular goal weight in mind and I didn’t let the scale dictate my mood. This was a huge shift for me. I started to understand more about nutrition from the sense of learning to eat more foods that love me back and less foods that don’t. This was a great step to meeting my nutritional needs, gut health, etc. Later in 2022 I also started to understand the importance of skeletal muscle. I decided I wanted to stop focusing on the scale and start relying on the Styku body scan data to tell me if my body was changing in ways that were favorable (ie. losing fat and gaining muscle) or not. 


At this point I was feeling frustrated because though my weight hadn’t changed much in the last 6 months, I had been steadily gaining fat and losing muscle. The exact opposite of what I wanted to do. But my nutrition was infinitely “better” than it had been and I started incorporating more movement every day. I was intentional about getting out and going for a walk almost every day. And if you asked me then, I would have told you I was incorporating strength training. I was incorporating strength training in my basement with my at-home videos but honestly looking back, I was lucky to be getting 2 of those sessions in each week and I wasn’t lifting anything half as heavy as I am today.


But I was making changes and they were feeling sustainable. I was really proud of myself! Until I got on the Styku again in February 2023 and saw that again I had gained fat and lost muscle and my body fat percentage continued to creep higher and higher. 


How could it be that I was “doing all the right things” but my body was responding opposite the way I thought it would? To say I was completely frustrated was an understatement. In February I got my hormones tested and confirmed some hormone imbalances that lead to…yup, you guessed it: increased body fat (among some other symptoms I was experiencing). I felt validated that there was a legitimate reason my body was behaving the way it was but still frustrated because I knew I was missing something. 


In March of 2023, I went to Done Done and met with Missy. During our first goal setting meeting she, of course, asked me about my goals. I told her that I did want to lose weight but I didn’t want to focus on that. I told her my goal was to build lean muscle and lose fat. She assured me that it could be done and I knew she was right. I had worked with Missy in the past and I knew I could trust her and her process. I jumped into her unlimited semi-private package with coaching immediately and went to work. 


Over the next few months we worked on dialing in my nutrition and habits like meal prep, mindset, stress management and more. I was lifting heavier in my strength sessions and I was getting faster in the DEKA training and in my 5Ks. I was seeing so much progress but the movement on the scale was slow to say the least.

Three months later, in June, I had lost “only” 5 lbs on the scale. For the most part I was OK with that but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have my days where I was totally frustrated watching people around me celebrate their weight loss. I had to remind myself that they were on a different journey and that my original goal was never to lose weight. I wanted to heal my underlying issues that were contributing to gaining fat and losing muscle. And looking at the Styku, I could see I was strictly losing fat and not sacrificing any muscle. This was a huge win and a sign I was moving in the right direction. 


The months continued on and the scale slowly creeped down along with my fat mass and body fat percentage. I also continued to get stronger and faster and began to compete more, something else that was incredibly important to me. 


In the fall of 2023 after about 6 months of working with Missy I went rogue on her. I switched from the plate it method that we use in the gym to a “cleaner” protocol that inadvertently put me in a significant calorie deficit. I finally broke past a plateau I had been stuck at and was honestly pretty pleased with myself! Until, of course, I got back on the Styku and saw that even though I had lost 10 pounds in 6 months, I had lost FIVE POUNDS OF MUSCLE! 50% of my total weight loss came from muscle mass. 


Ugh. For a moment it felt like I was back at square one. 


But after a quick conversation with Missy in November of 2023, I decided I was going to fully put weight loss on hold for a few months and focus on making sure I was eating at least at maintenance (if not a small surplus) calorie wise and continue to focus on getting stronger in the gym. 


The results are going to shock you!

It actually might not surprise you that I gained weight. I gained about 5 pounds between November and January. BUT I only gained a little over a pound of fat and nearly 4 pounds of muscle. And at this higher weight, my body fat percentage was slightly less than it was 5 pounds lighter because of my fat mass to muscle mass ratio. 


November 2023 Styku Scan

Weight: 149 lbs

Fat mass: 53.5 lbs

Lean Mass 91.1 lbs

Body fat %: 35.9% 

BMR: 1400

January 2024 Styku Scan

Weight: 154 lbs

Fat mass: 54.8 lbs

Lean Mass 94.7 lbs

Body fat %: 35.6% 

BMR: 1421


Lesson learned! Trust Missy. Trust the process. It works!


Some people might look at this on the surface and think, “it took you a year to only lose 10 pounds, that sounds like a lot of work for not a lot of results”. And they would be right if their only “result” was the number of pounds lost on the scale. 


To me, the fact that I was able to reverse the trend of continuing to add more fat while losing muscle as I progressed through 2023 was a huge win on it’s own. I also:

  • Increased Strength

  • Increased Endurance

  • Increased Speed

  • Increased Energy

  • Improved sleep

  • Better heart rate variability

  • Better recovery

  • Better mental health

  • Stopped taking antidepressants daily

  • Regulated hormones

  • Continued to improve my relationship with my body and with food


So much can change when we stop focusing so much on what we want to LOSE and start focusing on what we want to GAIN. 

What will you gain this year?

-Coach Megan

Personal Training and Fitness for All of Middletown

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