5 things you should know about your body fat

Here are 5 things you should know about your fat.

They are actual and fatual … er… factual!

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1. The fat on your body is good and it needs to be there.

Body fat isn’t put on your body to make you ugly, disgust people who think that body fat is unsightly, or in any way wreck your life. Your body fat is both good and necessary. It’s not, as some would have us believe, a necessary evil, nor should it be your worst nightmare. Body fat is not a sign of poor character, laziness, lack of discipline, or any of the other negative stereotypes some judgemental, moralistic and completely clueless people associate with body fat. Don’t hate yourself, your body or your fat. If you must hate something, hate prejudice, cruelness and injustice

2. If you were able to diet and exercise away all of the fat on your body you would die.

That’s right, body fat is essential to life. Georgie Fear, R.D, says, “A body fat percentage below 5 percent is regarded as a warning sign of poor health, even in elite athletes.”  Body fat is integral to keeping your entire body healthy. Your cardiovascular, endocrine, reproductive, skeletal, and central nervous systems all require fat on your body to perform their normal, healthy functions. If you didn’t have enough body fat, they all go out of whack. Here are ways your body would malfunction if your body fat dropped and stayed too low. 

  • Prone to serious heart problems including low heart rate and cardiac arrhythmias and even death from cardiac arrest.
  • No energy – none!
  • Always cold
  • Muscles don’t recover after physical activity
  • Constantly hungry
  • Males testosterone levels drop / females estrogen levels drop
  • Muscles become weaker
  • You get sick a lot
  • Bones become brittle
  • You’re always in a bad mood
  • Your brain becomes foggy

3. You think body fat is unsightly, but there’s nothing attractive about a body with too little fat.

This slim body with 0% written on it is reflecting a real body fat percentage of about 21% - 33%

This slim body with 0% written on it is not 0% body fat, but actually a healthy body fat percentage of about 21% – 33%

4. Your body fat isn’t because you eat the wrong foods.

Good health is the product of a balanced diet with adequate nutrients and calories balanced to your body’s energy needs. Although some foods, due to their macronutrient composition are more easily stored as fat by your body, the difference isn’t great enough to make some foods fattening and others not. It’s mostly a matter of the sum of all calories from all food sources and how well they’re matched to your body’s energy needs. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet will make you look and feel your best. There is no reason, though, to cut out any foods or food groups because you’ve been convinced by junk science that they’re the foods that make and store fat on your belly, butt, thighs or any other spot you see as a trouble area.

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5. It’s not the food, it’s your mama (or your papa).

The one thing that influences your body fat more than anything else is your genes. I’m not writing that to discourage you. I’m sharing the fact because if you start with a realistic goal and build a realistic plan to achieve it, you will be rewarded with success. Genes influence a lot, including appetite, predisposition to gain easily, and where your body stores its fat.

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The good news is that with monitoring of your food and exercise you have some power to prevent your genes from expressing  (or at least fully expressing) themselves. Notice the words, “some power.” You cannot totally override your genes, but you don’t have to let them run your show completely.

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.