Body Shaping vs. Weight Loss: What’s the Difference?

Jun 02,2023


Did you ever confuse about body shaping and weight loss? Did you once take the two body management approaches as the same? Do you want to tell one from the other?

A common misconception about body sculpting and weight loss is that you mistake weight-loss methods with body shaping treatments or vice versa. You must keep one thing in mind: body shaping is not a solution for weight loss but for a sculpted, well-balanced physique, while weight loss aims to reduce one's total body weight.

This article will focus on the difference between body shaping and weight loss and share tips on finding the correct answer to your problem and combining the two for optimal body management results.

  1. Body Shaping

(1)   What is body shaping?

Body shaping is used to remove fat and shape certain body parts. To sculpt your body, you can choose either non-invasive methods, like CoolSculpting, or invasive ones, such as liposuction.

A body shaping procedure, surgical or non-surgical, is not a solution for weight loss. Its goal is to eliminate fat pockets from particular body areas, like your upper arms, buttocks, thighs, etc. It's a desirable choice for those who have reduced their weight to a reasonable level but still want to contour a body area and make it more curved.

If you want body-shaping procedures to come into play, keep your body mass index below 30 or, at best, 25. According to the NHS (National Health Service), BMI between 30 and 39.9 and above is regarded as obesity or severe obesity. That means obese people are not ideal candidates.

(2)   What are the types of body shaping?

Body-shaping treatments or procedures can be divided into two categories: nonsurgical and surgical ones.

Surgical therapies include liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift, and many others. Liposuction, the most popular in the industry, gives you a more symmetrical, sculpted body by removing excess fat from body parts like your belly, buttocks, upper arms, etc.

Several non-invasive methods also remove deep-seated fat from your body parts, including fat freezing, injection lipolysis, laser lipolysis, radiofrequency lipolysis, etc. Again, they are not for overweight adults.

Fat freezing or cryolipolysis, one of the most effective methods for a slimmer figure, uses cold temperatures to destroy fat cells while harming no surrounding tissues. Usually, people turn to these treatments to help body parts that do not react with dieting or workouts.

(3)   What are the pros and cons of body-contouring techniques?

Every coin has two sides. So is with these body-slimming methods. They can bring you a well-shaped figure but also unexpected side effects.

Surgical treatments are riskier than non-surgical ones. Take liposuction as an example. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction may bring severe complications, including swelling, wound infection, poor wound healing, abnormal contours, accumulation of fluid, etc. All these potential risks cannot be neglected.

However, liposuction delivers more evident and instant results than non-surgical procedures like fat freezing, which sometimes require multiple treatments that space out weeks or even months to see changes in your body.

Non-invasive therapies have their merits, especially in terms of body shaping cost. They are much cheaper. Per ASPS, on average, a patient in the US spends around $3,600 for liposuction per treatment area.

That said, non-surgical methods, like a body contouring machine, can also offer the results you enjoy in a beauty salon.

In short, whatever procedure you choose, you must determine the benefits and risks before taking the treatment to maximise your goals and objectives.

  1. Weight Loss

(1)   What is weight loss?

Weight loss refers to a reduction of one's overall body mass, including decreasing body fluid, fat, and muscle. You may experience weight reduction caused by lack of nutrition, certain diseases, calorie deficit (burn more calories than take in). etc.

We are in such a hurry to lose weight that we may misunderstand the concept because weight loss differs from fat loss. The former asks for a combination of actions and is more than fat loss, meaning you must also lessen the fluid inside your body and reduce lean mass.

Then who needs to reduce weight? It's not for everyone. Some people need body sculpting, while others need weight reduction. How to tell the line? It's simple: check your BMI.

Read more: 11 Proven Strategies for Sustainable Weight Loss

(2)   What are the three common but doable weight loss methods?

Want to lose weight without visiting a beauty salon? Here are three most-discussed but healthy weight loss ways: keep healthy eating habits, incorporate physical activities and exercises into your daily routine, and try some weight loss pills and supplements.

  •  Healthy eating habits

Developing healthy eating habits is vital in promoting weight loss. It's one of the "natural" approaches that works. Below are some tips for you to develop good eating habits.

Do not miss out on breakfast, which provides essential nutrition. And you'd better have your meals on time. Otherwise, you may eat more and absorb more calories in the day.

Do eat enough fruits and vegetables, which are high in dietary fiber and low in fat. These two essential ingredients make you less likely to eat. That is why you need to eat fiber-loaded food.

Drink more water and avoid drinks or beverages containing alcohol or other substances that hinder your weight loss plan.

Read more: 12 Surprising Foods That Can Help You Lose Weight

  •   Physical activity and exercise

Adding physical activities and exercises to good eating patterns boosts your weight loss drive. A healthy and balanced eating pattern lessens the intake of calories, and workouts burn them. Combining the two may yield twice the result with half the effort.

A study by the School of Public Health, Harvard University, shows that engaging in physical exercises or workouts can help people maintain healthy body weight or even reduce weight. And it also lowers the chance of having diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, etc.

Regarding the amount of exercise, please refer to this table.

Some medications or drugs, such as orlistat and topiramate, are said to make the weight loss drive simpler. Some of them can suppress your appetite and make you feel satiated longer, dramatically reducing the intake of calories. Some decrease fat absorption by your body system, lowering fat concentration in a specific body area. And Some work by promoting fat burning that creates a calorie gap. 

Please note that weight-loss pills and supplements are prescription drugs and may carry health risks. And some are approved by the FDA, and others are not. You must consult a health professional for safety reasons.

  1.  Body Contouring vs. Weight Loss: What Are the Differences?

As discussed, body contouring and weight loss are relevant but a bit different from each other. And the differences lie in the following aspects.

(1)   Goals and objectives

What is body contouring? Body contouring or shaping procedures are used to remove fat from and sculpt a specific area of the body. It aims for the overall aesthetics of the body by contouring body parts and toning up muscle.

Weight loss, on the other hand, is about reducing overall body weight and improving your health. To some extent, it's more than body sculpting.

Knowing your aims is a vital step in selecting your body management approach. The right solution accelerates your effort.

(2)   Techniques and approaches

We have surgical and non-surgical methods to achieve body shaping and weight loss. As mentioned above, one is for "reforming" a localized body area, while the other is for an overall body "renovation." Therefore, what applies to one may not be suitable for the other.

Liposuction is the most used surgical treatment for body shaping, which removes fat deposits from a body part to deliver a more sculpted and well-balanced shape.

Since invasive procedures are a bit riskier, non-surgical methods like ultrasonic cavitation, fat freezing, and laser lipolysis are preferred. These treatments are safer but can deliver the same results when you have the treatment at home.

Weight loss, however, is for overall body transformation. Therefore, the procedure you use for body shaping may not be workable.

Keeping a healthy and balanced diet, participating in physical activities, and taking some FDA-approved drugs are the most used non-invasive methods for weight loss.

Surgical procedures, such as using a gastric band or having gastric bypass, to lose weight involve "resizing" your stomach or small intestine. With a smaller stomach, you may consume less food, making burning more calories possible.

However, these surgeries are not suitable for everyone. You can try surgical weight loss methods when non-invasive ones are not working, but you are desperate for overall weight reduction.

Read more: Non-Surgical Fat Removal Treatments

(3)   Results and outcomes

Again, body shaping is all about making a specific body area more proportionate, while weight loss reduces your total body weight to a reasonable level. That is why you may still feel upset when you can fit into clothes you can't put on before but are not losing weight. Or the opposite is true. The results vary.

When you turn to body shaping, you may get these outcomes: increased muscle tone, a more balanced and defined body shape, and, above all, boosted self-confidence. In a word, what it brings to you is a more sculpted and visually appealing appearance.

Weight loss can give you something different. You may expect, first, a decrease in your total body weight. That means your body mass index will be lowered under 25. And a reduced body mass may also improve your health, such as decreased risk of obesity-related health conditions, enhanced cardiovascular function, improved sleep quality, and many more.

The bottom line is keeping a healthy body weight when discussing body shaping and weight loss. Without it, it's hard for us to get the desired results for body shaping, which is built on proper body weight.

 Choosing the Right Solution for Your Needs

In the above, we have discussed the differences between the two approaches. That lays the foundation for deciding which procedure suits your needs better. Here you need to consider two factors to make a better choice.

(1)   Assessing individual goals and expectations

Do you know what you want to achieve with body management? Do you understand that you cannot see changes overnight?

If you care more about a particular body part, such as getting more lifted and tightened buttocks, you need to choose body shaping treatments like vacuum therapy. In this case, it may not assist you in losing several pounds of weight. Conversely, you may lower your body mass index below 25, but nothing happens to specific body areas.

More importantly, these "miracles" take a while, sometimes weeks and even months, to occur. That is why it's clever of you to set realistic goals and expectations. Doing this can make your body management "campaign" sustainable.

(2)   Considering health factors and risks

You have a clear objective, and your expectation for the results is acceptable. Does that mean you can choose whatever procedure you like? The answer is no. You must take health conditions into account. The treatment solving the same problem that applies to others may not suit you.

Take non-invasive fat freezing as an example. Some contraindications may prevent you from taking a coolsculpting treatment: your targeted area has skin lesions like varicose veins or dermatitis or is extremely sensitive to coldness. Other health conditions include nerve disorders and inflammatory skin disorders.

Medical conditions like underactive thyroids (do not produce enough thyroid hormones), polycystic ovarian syndrome (causes a person to have irregular periods), and Cushing's disease (susceptible to high cortisol levels for an extended period) may impede your weight loss effort.

To promote body management, "cause" means you should know your body well. A wise move is to consult a medical professional to ensure safety.

 Combining Body Shaping and Weight Loss Efforts

It's not wise enough to rely on one approach while abandoning the other. These two strategies can precisely help you solve your problems. But it's not necessary to sever the ties during your pursuit. We need to adopt an integrated approach toward body management.

A common case is that we wish to make some body parts more sculpted and curved once we reach our weight-loss goals. Integrating healthy eating and exercise with body-shaping treatments is a smart move to help you walk closer to that target.

And it's important to approach weight loss and body shaping with realistic expectations. Do not overdo your weight loss and body-shaping goals, which should be set in a healthy manner that suits your needs and conditions. Setting your goals too high or low is detrimental to your overall happiness, discouraging you from taking more action to lose weight and contour your body.

 Final Thought

We have extensively researched body shaping and weight loss, particularly their differences. That builds the foundation for us to find the right solution for body shaping and weight loss goals. This article also highlights the importance of integrating the two approaches for better body management outcomes.

To sculpt or to lose, that is a question. When facing weight management issues, you should make the right decision per your goals and needs rather than following in someone's footsteps. With this knowledge, acting appropriately to the situation is a piece of cake. And once you find the antidote, stick to it until you see the tree blossom and yield fruits. 

Frequently Ask Questions About Body Shaping vs Weight Loss

Q: What is body shaping?

A: It's about contouring and toning up a specific area. The aim is to improve your body's shape and proportions.

Q: Does body shaping massage work?

A: Yes. Massage after a body shaping treatment relieves side effects, such as swelling caused by procedures like fat freezing, and boosts blood circulation.

Q: How long does it take to do body shaping?

A: Invasive procedures like liposuction for body shaping take at least one hour, while non-invasive body sculpting procedures, such as fat freezing, take 30 minutes to one hour. It depends on the treatment you take.

Q: How long do body contouring results last?

A: The results are long-lasting whether you use surgical or non-surgical procedures for body contouring. The key is to incorporate a healthy and balanced diet and exercise for the pursuit. And have regular follow-up sessions for body shaping in place to maintain and extend its outcomes.

Q: How many calories to lose 2 pounds a week?

A: Two pounds is equal to 7,000 calories. That means you need to burn an extra 1,000 calories than you take every day. It's a challenging task.

Q: How long does it take to see weight loss results?

A: Several factors affect the rate of weight loss: the food you eat, the amount of exercise you take, how your metabolism functions, and your starting body size, among others. Usually, it takes around 4 to 8 weeks to see changes in your body when you are in the first phase of weight loss.

Q: What is the fastest way to lose weight?

A: There is no so-called " fastest way" to reduce weight. However, following some tips can help you lose weight quickly and sustainably. First, lessen your intake of refined carbohydrates. Second, eat quality protein, healthy fat, fruits, and vegetables. Third, get your body moved to burn more calories than you absorb.