Muscle Loss
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How To Lose Fat While Minimizing Muscle Loss

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How To Lose Fat While Minimizing Muscle Loss

Understanding the balance between fat reduction and muscle preservation

Words by Lima Fazaa, Nutritional Consultant for Allurion | Chief of Nutrition at AIG Clinics & Part-time Clinical Dietitian at Dubai London Hospital

Embarking on a weight loss journey often brings a series of complex challenges, each requiring careful and consistent effort to ensure that the process is healthy and sustainable. At the heart of these challenges is the critical goal of maximizing fat loss while preserving lean body mass (LBM).

LBM is the weight of everything in the human body except for fat, and preserving it is vital to healthy weight loss and the long-term maintenance of a healthy weight. It plays a crucial role in maintaining your basal metabolic rate, supporting overall health, and maximizing fat loss. Unfortunately, some weight loss methods may inadvertently lead to muscle and bone loss, which can be counterproductive in the long run. This is where the Allurion Program stands out, offering a comprehensive approach that prioritizes losing fat while preserving and optimizing muscle mass.

So why is LBM so important for losing fat and weight loss? When you lose weight through an energy deficit by dieting or eating less and exercising, the weight loss will come from both fat and fat-free mass ie. your lean body mass. Ensuring you’re losing fat mass effectively while preserving your lean body mass (LBM) is vital for better overall health and achieving your short- and long-term weight loss goals.

Lean body mass plays a pivotal role in setting your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the number of calories your body requires to perform essential functions while at rest, and your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). RMR is a little higher than BMR as it accounts for additional low-effort daily activities such as eating, walking, using the toilet, etc. Many people use the two terms interchangeably.

A higher LBM contributes to a higher BMR, thereby enhancing the body’s ability to burn calories and lose weight effectively. In fact, your lean body mass contributes to about 70% of the variability in your RMR. So, you can imagine how changes in your lean body mass can impact your initial weight loss and weight loss maintenance down the road. LBM loss also results in reduced muscle strength, poorer cardiovascular health, increased fatigue, diminished neuromuscular function, and a higher risk of injury. All of these impact your ability to exercise, making it more challenging to lose weight and significantly increasing the likelihood of weight regain. 

Another way in which LBM affects your weight loss is its effects on appetite. A deficit in LBM is thought to drive energy intake5, triggering changes in appetite that could lead to weight regain. This is why it is crucial to approach weight loss with a strategy that prioritizes the preservation of lean body mass, ensuring that the weight lost primarily comes from fat stores rather than vital muscle and bone tissue.

This is especially important as we get older – aging is associated with progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, which may further impact your progress.

The Allurion Program addresses this challenge by integrating strategies to ensure that the weight loss is primarily from fat stores. The program combines the use of a temporary gastric balloon to help you feel full while eating less and a comprehensive behavioral change program that includes personalized nutrition coaching and digital monitoring. As the balloon kickstarts your weight loss, the Allurion approach integrates two proven tactics: adequate protein intake and resistance-type exercise training.

Resistance Training

When you’re on a journey to shed those extra pounds, physical activity is key to preserving your lean body mass, and resistance or strength training exercises help you preserve but also build muscle mass, which in turn leads to a higher calorie burn compared to fat. Strength training, such as bodyweight exercises (squats, lunges, and push-ups), weightlifting, classes like circuits, strength, CrossFit, and resistance band exercises, create tension in the muscles, prompting them to adapt and grow stronger over time. Moreover, engaging in resistance-type exercises has shown effective results in preventing or even reversing the natural decline in muscle strength associated with aging.

When incorporating resistance training into your fitness routine, here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Aim for at least two to three sessions per week, targeting all major muscle groups
  • Include a mix of compound exercises, which work multiple muscle groups at once (squats, deadlifts, bench presses, etc), and isolation exercises, which target specific muscles (bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg curls, and calf raises)
  • Progressively increase your weight or resistance over time to continually challenge your muscles and promote growth. This is known as progressive overload and a key principle in strength training
  • Vary your workout routine every four to six weeks to help prevent plateaus in muscle growth and keep your workouts engaging and effective
  • Always prioritize proper form and technique to prevent injuries and maximize the benefits of each exercise.

Protein Intake

Protein plays a vital role in muscle repair and growth. Protein is one of the essential macronutrients in the diet and helps you feel more satisfied (both during and between meals) than other macronutrients. Consuming sufficient amounts of protein can help preserve muscle mass while you are in a caloric deficit for weight loss. In fact, increasing your protein intake (at levels exceeding the RDA of 0.8g/protein per kg body weight) has been proven to help preserve lean body mass during weight loss. The bottom line is you’ll need more protein than normal, and while you’re losing weight and adapting the type and volume of your food choices, this means that you need to have high-protein meals and snacks every day.

These tactics are effective individually but, when combined with the Allurion Balloon, create a powerful synergy that drives fat loss while safeguarding your LBM. Furthermore, the program’s digital tools, such as the Allurion App and Connected Scale, are instrumental in monitoring your body composition changes, thereby allowing for a tailored approach to your weight loss journey.

The Allurion Program offers a unique and effective way to lose fat while minimizing muscle loss. It combines innovative medical technology with practical lifestyle changes, ensuring that your weight loss journey is successful and sustainable in the long term.

For more information, please visit allurion.com.

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