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5 Clear Signs You're Burning Fat [NOT Muscle]

If you're on a weight loss journey and looking to decrease body fat, there are a few clear signs you can look out for that will signal whether or not you're burning fat as fuel.

Knowing these signs will help you make meal and exercise choices that better support a sustainable weight loss goal.

Scroll down for the signs!

signs you're burning fat not muscle

1: Your Clothes Fit Different

You might have heard the saying that muscle "weighs more" than fat. Although this isn't technically true, what the saying actually means is that fat takes up more space per pound than muscle. When you lose body fat, you lose more "mass" than if you lost muscle. This means your clothes will start to feel much more loose, especially in the legs, hips and shoulders.

2: You're Not As Hungry

In order to burn fat without burning muscle mass, we need to be eating enough protein. Protein prevents the body from losing muscle during the weight loss process. Because protein is so satiating, when you eat enough protein you tend to not feel hungry between meals.

If you're having trouble sneaking more protein into your diet, you can try adding 1-2 scoops of my DELISH zero sugar, pasture-raised protein powder into your smoothies, yogurt, chia pudding or grain-free oatmeal.

Or you can try making protein waffles for a delicious way to get 26 grams (or more) of complete protein.

weight loss measurements

3: Your Measurements Are Decreasing

Taking measurements is a more accurate way of determining if you're burning fat than a regular scale. You can take measurements with a tape measurer or test out a more advanced method, such as the InBody or DEXA scan.

Using a tape measurer is a great, inexpensive option that can be done at home without any training. Common places to take measurements include the waist, hips, arms, chest and neck. Because body fat takes up more "space", as your measurements go down, you can safely assume it's mostly coming from body fat. One caveat with the tape measurer method is that it doesn't indicate how much muscle you've lost or gained.

This takes us to my favorite method of measurement, the InBody. The InBody measures how much muscle mass and fat is in the body so that you can see if the overall weight you've lost is from muscle or fat. This is a very expensive system but you can often find it at gyms to either use for free (included in your membership) or for a fee (at my local gym, they charge $19 per scan). I usually recommend getting this form of measurement done once every 4-6 weeks.

DEXA scan is one of the most accurate methods for determining body fat, however it's very expensive and time consuming so I rarely recommend it.

4: You're Getting Stronger

In order to maintain muscle mass while losing body fat, you need to be eating enough protein and preferably doing some form of resistance training. So if you're noticing that you're getting stronger with every workout then you're probably not losing muscle mass. However, if you feel progressively weaker after every workout, then this could be a big red flag that your body is using muscle for energy.

5: You're Noticing Muscle Definition

This isn't a necessity in order to determine if you're burning fat, but if you do start to notice muscle definition, then it's a fairly clear sign that you are. Muscle can be "hidden" by body fat, but as you start to lose body fat that muscle can be "revealed".

End Note...

When looking to achieve a weight loss goal, the emphasis should be on losing body fat while maintaining muscle mass. This combination helps you to achieve your weight loss goals without lowering your metabolism or increasing your risk of osteoporosis and weight gain.

Pssst... looking for a zero sugar protein powder to help get your protein intake up?

My Zero Sugar, Pasture-Raised Protein Powder is absolutely DELICIOUS in smoothies, greek yogurt, chia pudding and protein waffles!😋

You can find my zero sugar protein powder HERE.

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Autumn Elle Nutrition

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