If you are planning to burn fat, it's important to know that weight loss and fat loss are not exactly the same thing. In fact, there is a vital and essential difference between the two.
Weight loss is all of the weight that you lose when you begin a weight loss program. It includes fat, muscle tissue, and fluids. The fluids will return as your body becomes accustomed to the new regimen. The muscle tissue will not, and you can continue to lose muscle tissue as long as your caloric intake is below a certain level. This, of course, is not desirable.
Fat loss is just that, the loss of excess body fat as a result of proper nutrition and exercise. This difference is one reason why you shouldn't try to lose weight without learning all that you can about the process. Also note that our knowledge of healthy weight loss has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, and many of the concepts of the early and mid nineties have been found to be faulty. Back then, the prevailing theory was to cut calories, and fat grams, to the bare minimum that you could survive on. This was wrong on several levels. We now know that when you cut your calories drastically, your metabolism slows down, and your body goes into starvation mode where it tries to store fat and use lean muscle tissue for energy! The modern theory now is basically to eat foods that will help maintain muscle mass, and burn off fat through exercise. (Yeah, I can hear the groans.)
You will have to determine your total daily energy expenditure, which equals the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. To burn fat, cut your daily caloric intake by no more than 20% of that number. If you lose more than 2 to 2-1/2 pounds per week you are losing muscle as well as fat. You may be able to lose more fat than that per week if you are extremely obese, but 2 pounds is the general guideline.
We also now know that some fats are necessary in order to maintain a healthy body. In particular, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are known to have a multitude of health benefits. A good book on weight loss will supply you with the information necessary to set your caloric intake where it needs to be in order to burn fat without losing muscle. It will also tell how much fat you should consume each day, and what the sources are for the essential fats.
Armed with the right information, you have to ability to change the way that you eat permanently. This will permit you to keep the weight off after you lose it, but more importantly, you will feel better, have more energy, and get sick a lot less.
In summary, the difference between weight loss and fat loss is muscle, which you want to keep. The difference between healthy and unhealthy weight loss is knowledge,
which be obtained at any bookstore, library, or online.
To Your Health!