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How Do You Know You’re Burning Fat and Other Fat Loss FAQs Answered

how do you know you're burning fat

How do you know you’re burning fat?

That’s a question a lot of people new to the fitness world ask the most. There are plenty of ways to tell, but there are also a lot of variables involved. One day you may feel like you’re making progress, while the next day you feel “fatter” than when you started.

First of all, “fat” is not a feeling. Second of all, read this article to learn more about what affects weight loss, how to tell you’re making progress, and some tips on what triggers fat burning.

What Affects Weight Loss?

Whatever your reasoning for trying to lose weight, the key to staying motivated is seeing the results. Of course, it’s easier said than done—the time it takes for you or others to notice any weight loss varies from person to person. 

For most people who stick to a fitness and healthy meal plan, results are seen in as little as two weeks. However, it all depends on a few variables:

Your Starting Size

The first thing that determines when you will see results is your starting size. If your body weight tips the Body Mass Index (BMI) scales towards obesity, it’s more than possible to lose weight quickly. However, your weight loss may not be as noticeable at first—especially if you have a larger build.

If you’re starting off with a lower BMI and a smaller frame, not only will you have less weight to lose, but it’ll also come off much slower. At the same time, your weight loss will be much more noticeable. For example, a petite woman who loses 10 pounds is likely losing the equivalent to 10% of her total body weight, which is very noticeable compared to someone with a taller, athletic build.  

Your Diet Type

You can’t outrun a bad diet, period. What you’re eating will have the biggest impact on your weight loss. The goal is to make healthy choices that enable a calorie deficit so that you can burn off excess energy, aka, fat.  

There are specific diet programs that are designed to give you “quick results” by restricting certain foods for the first two weeks. The weight loss with these fad diets is often attributed to water loss—not fat loss.

If you stick to clean foods and well-balanced meals, your weight loss will be gradual at one to three pounds per week. Of course, if you continue to indulge in junk food and unhealthy meals, you’ll likely see little to no results.  

Your Carbohydrate Intake

To store carbohydrates properly, your body requires a certain amount of water. Once you begin restricting your carbohydrate intake, your body will expel any excess water. Expelling that excess water is what helps people to feel like their diet and exercise routine is working, although the amount of body fat they have hasn’t changed.

For some, that “water weight” is the difference between pants sizes. However, it’s not equivalent to fat loss. You should restrict your carbohydrate intake to the necessary amount your body needs, not cut them out completely. You should also focus on eating “clean carbs.”

How Do You Know You’re Burning Fat?

Since fat loss isn’t always noticeable, many people rely on the number on the scale to let them know that they’ve lost some weight. However, there are several signs that will let you know that your diet and exercise routine is paying off:

  • Your clothes will start to fit more loosely, especially around the waist area
  • Other people will notice that you look different. More often than not, they notice before you do
  • You’ll notice that your energy levels have increased—that goes for both physical and mental energy levels
  • You’ll feel happier overall (due to the increased energy levels)
  • You’ll be able to carry out more physical tasks with ease that may have been difficult prior to your fitness journey
  • Your endurance and strength during your fitness training will improve
  • You’ll notice a reduction in sugar cravings as well as your overall hunger

The two most popular ways that people use to determine fat loss are by measuring their body or by hopping on the scale.

You’ve Lost pounds

Seeing a lower number on the scale is an obvious sign that you’ve lost weight. It’s important to remember, however, that body weight fluctuates for a number of reasons. Additionally, fat weighs less than muscle, which can make the number on the scale misleading.

The amount of overall weight loss versus the fat that was actually lost depends entirely on your body composition. The leaner you are, the smaller the proportion of fat you’ve lost per pound. If you’re toning up and gaining muscle, you may not see a significant change in the number on the scale. 

You’ve Shed Inches

Since the scale is unreliable, many people resort to measuring their hips, waist, arms, thighs, etc. Taking measurements is a much better indicator of weight loss, especially if you’re trying to fit into a smaller pants size. 

It’s best to take measurements once a week to keep track of your progress. The rule of thumb is that a waist size over 40 inches for women and 35 inches for men puts you in the high-risk category for heart disease and chronic illness. If these are your starting inches, you’ll want to get yourself below that thresh hold to get into a healthier zone. 

How Do I Lower My Body Fat Percentage?

Your body fat percentage is the ratio of body fat you have in comparison to your organs, muscles, bones, tendons, and water. It has nothing to do with muscle mass, which means two people can have the same body fat percentage but look completely different.

It’s also important to think of fat as energy. After all, it’s measured in calories and calories are a unit of energy! We humans burn fat, sugars, small amounts of proteins as well as ketone bodies which enable us to perform physical activities throughout the day.

So, how do you lower your body fat percentage—or, lose weight? It’s simple:

Start Exercising 

The average amount of exercise needed is roughly 30 minutes a day for a minimum of three days per week. But you’ll have to do a bit more than that—eventually.

If you’re new to the fitness world, your best bet is to sign up for a personal trainer. They’ll be able to teach you all you need to know about fitness and proper form. They’ll be there guide you through your fitness routine and help you keep track of your goals.

If you can’t afford a gym membership or trainer, don’t worry. There are plenty of exercises you can do without fancy gym equipment from the comfort of your own home. Just make sure you’re incorporating both cardio and strength training.  

Clean Up Your Diet

We said it once and we’ll say it again: you cannot outrun a bad diet. Weight loss isn’t just about looking good, it’s about being healthy from the inside out. That means you’ll need to commit to a healthy lifestyle if you want to burn fat and keep it off.

Cleaning up your diet doesn’t mean you can never eat your favorite foods again either. You can, just in moderation. Focus on eating whole foods that nourish and fuel you—as well as stabilize your blood sugar levels. Try upping your lean protein intake, as well as your healthy fats. Stick to “clean carbs” that come from fruits and vegetables and whole grains.


There are plenty of studies out there that prove an association between sleep and successful weight loss. A lack of sleep can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers a fast insulin release. The result is intense sugar, fat, and salt cravings which in turn lead to weight gain.

You also need your eight hours for post-exercise recovery. If you don’t give your body the necessary rest it needs, you’ll feel sluggish and less likely to engage in physical activity the next day.

So, start limiting your screen time, your caffeine intake, and start going to bed earlier. 

Drink More Water

Hydration is the key to success. Not only is water a natural appetite suppressant, but studies show that it actually helps you burn calories. It’s also necessary for metabolizing carbohydrates and fat, as well as eliminating toxins from the body.

It’s especially necessary to stay hydrated during your workout, as water allows for connective tissues, joints, and muscles to move correctly. It also helps your vital organs function properly so that they can take care of you.

The amount of water you’ll need will depend on your body and activity level, but it’s recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. You can also increase your water intake by eating foods that have a high water content, such as fruits and vegetables.

Take Care of Your Body

How do you know you’re burning fat? Your body will show you. What’s more important is that you take care of it properly so that it can take care of you for as long as possible. 

Need help on your weight loss journey? Reach out to us. We may just have the supplements and vitamins you need for that extra boost.

Fat Loss, Weight Loss, Weight Management

These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

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