The first official day of spring is March 20th. Mother Nature attempted to fool us into thinking that spring was already here a couple weeks ago when we had almost a week straight of 70 degree days. During that week, people were out walking, running, playing sports, and spending time being active with their families. We were all brought back to reality by Winter Storm Quid and the 9 inches of snow that came with it. While it is true that we have a few weeks left of winter, there are some things that we can discuss in the meantime to help us be our physical best when spring arrives.
There is a big difference between losing weight and losing fat. Your goals should not be focused around losing weight, but losing fat. Weight loss simply refers to a number on a scale. Regular readers of my column know my feelings about scales. They should be picked up (using good posture of course) and thrown in the garbage. Weight scales are not capable of discerning the difference between fat reduction, muscle atrophy, or water weight lost. Weight loss is often a result of crash dieting and improper physical training.
Decreasing the amount of body fat (not measured in pounds) is the goal. Lowering your body fat percentage from 25% to 20% is a feat worth celebrating. Improved nutritional practices and proper physical training can help you lower your body fat percentage. Lowering your body fat percentage leads to improved fitness, greater strength, delayed aging, and reduced risk of diseases.
Losing fat percentage instead of body weight may seem difficult to ascertain, but next week I will provide you with a few tips and tricks to put you on the right path and clear up any confusion.
Brad Averill, M.Ed., Extension Educator- Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of Nebraska – Lincoln