When I was younger, I thought that there was a correlation between fat we eat and the unwanted fats that sprout out in our bodies. Eventually, I found out that it was all about energy balance: a classic case of calories in vs calories out.
What is body fat?
Fat is a form of body tissue composed of cells which primarily store fatty acids and compounds.
These cells are embedded in a matrix of connective tissue.
Remember girls, FAT cannot become muscle, and muscle cannot become fat. They are two entirely different types of tissues.
Fat builds up in your body depending upon whether you are a man or woman. Men tend to carry fat around the abdomen, chest and behind, while us women are more prone to fat in their hips, breasts and waist as well as the behind.
Fat has many purposes: insulation, cushioning, and estrogen production. Contrary to what you might think, your body does not have fat because it’s trying to ruin your life. Rather, your body has fat because it’s trying to keep you alive as long as possible. Because of its composition, fat is an excellent and energy-efficient fuel source.
In general, we have a certain number of fat cells which remain more or less constant throughout our adult lives. Fat cells are like little balloons that can be inflated or deflated. When fat is “lost”, the little balloons just deflate, but they’re still there
Do you have any idea how actual fat looks like?
If I place one pound of muscle on a scale and one pound of fat on a scale, they will both weigh one pound. The difference is in total volume.
One pound of muscle may appear to be the size of baseball; one pound of fat will be three times the size and look like a squiggly bowl of Jell-O.
As you can see, muscle is a denser tissue and thus takes up less room than an equal weight of fat. Having more muscle means you have a more desirable body composition, or fat-to-muscle ratio.
That’s why it’s possible to lose inches but show no changes in scale weight – You may still weigh the same, but your body will look different: smaller, tigher and sexier.
That my friend, is the beauty of exercise.
However, there is no such thing as spot reduction.
Performing abdominal crunches will not help you lose fat in and around just your stomach. Fat from all over the body will be used to fuel your exercise.
Moreover, the way fat is shed is different from person to person. It tends to go from the most recent place it appeared. If your tummy started gaining first – this will be the very last place for the fat to disappear from. First in, Last out.
Weight loss does not equal body fat loss, and vice versa. If being leaner is our goal, we must focus on body fat loss, not on numeric weight. Body fat is generally measured and expressed as a percentage.
So, if we have a 200 lb. person with 20% body fat, then we know that 40 lbs. of that person is body fat, and the rest is the good stuff: bones, organs, and most importantly muscle. The non-fat-stuff is commonly called lean body mass, or LBM. Our aforementioned person thus has 160 lbs. of LBM.
Ideally body fat should have no more positive or negative associations than other indicators of health and fitness.
It is irrefutable that higher levels of body fat are clearly correlated with health problems.
Excess body weight can put mechanical stress on tissues, and is directly responsible for some medical conditions. But body fat in and of itself does not necessarily cause all the health problems; rather, poor nutrition and lifestyle habits, and lack of adequate exercise are also major culprits.
You are not a prisoner of your body fat. Fat has no inherent value other than what we attach to it. Understand it as something which is important to have in the right quantities.
You have power over body fat and it’s up to you to control it, monitor it and conquer it and work towards good health – for as we all know, health is indeed the best wealth we can have.