I have been overweight most of my life, ever since my teen days. I have tried it all – the cabbage diet, the so-called Un-diet, calorie counting, keto diets, LCHF, the Chrono regime, you name it.
They all seem to work, but only up to a certain point.
What I have always noticed is that I gain fat very easily, but I had to try really, really hard to lose it. My peers used to just cut on sugary treats and bread and they would be dropping pounds in no time.
Also, the pounds would return much quicker than it took me to shred these scoundrels.
As soon as I started to eat regularly, keeping fat at bay was a struggle.
I am sure that many of you reading these lines can relate and that you are, like I was, frustrated with your own body and its metabolism.
For years and years, I thought there was something wrong with me. I did various blood tests and everything seemed to be fine, but I felt like I was in a sort of fat vortex I couldn’t get out of.
All of this changed when I came across a video that really transformed my perception and my understanding of fat and obesity. Suddenly it all made so much sense.
After reading what I have found thanks to Dr. Sylvia Tara, you will gain a new appreciation for fat and its amazing role in your body.
1. Fat Is Tissue
Wrong – fat is actually an organ! And an extremely important one! How about that? This information knocked my socks off.
Fat in its entirety acts like an organ and it produces hormones that our body depends on. It is more than just a reserve of calories.
One of the most important fat-produced hormones is called leptin, a satiety hormone. It is vital for bone health, reproductive health and even maturing. The immune system relies on this hormone as well.
When we lose fat we also lose an amount of leptin. Since our body is highly sensitive to losing this hormone it overreacts to fat loss. This is why our appetite skyrockets when dieting.
I had such a moment of clarity when finding out this fact. I was not weak, I didn’t lack discipline or willpower. It was just that my body reacted in a way to make me eat more to get leptin back.
Ravenous cravings I had were my body’s natural responses to not sensing as much leptin as before.
I also gained new appreciation after learning that this hormone has an important role in maintaining brain mass. If you don’t have enough body fat your brain actually starts shrinking. Scary, right?
Also, our bones can become more porous if we lack this hormone.
2. Fat Is Bad for You
Right and wrong – the percentage of body fat is what’s crucial.
Fat builds cell membranes that hold every cell in our body together. Our nerves have fat around them, also known as myelin that helps them work properly.
Fat also produces hormones like already mentioned leptin and estrogen. With age, as ovaries stop producing estrogen, women depend on fat for this vital hormone.
Excess fat is not good, especially if it’s stored underneath your stomach wall. There are ways to accurately measure your own body fat to ensure you have a healthy amount.
Although I have extra pounds after doing some measuring I found out I have a safe percentage of visceral fat which can be harmful in excess volume.
It is crucial to know where your fat is mostly located, besides mere fat percentage.
A normal amount of body fat in our arms and legs and underneath our skin is healthy.
3. All Fat Is the Same
Wrong – there are different types of fat.
First of all, there is subcutaneous fat – the one right under your skin, and visceral fat, stored under your stomach wall. The latter can be very unhealthy since it can get close to your vital organs like the pancreas and cause inflammation.
There is also one more type – brown fat. This is a good fat to have since it burns energy to produce heat. Swimming in cold water and exposure to cold can help you get more brown fat.
With building up knowledge about fat, my relationship with my body started to change. I stopped seeing my excess weight as something bad or something to be ashamed of.
I finally understood that fat is an irreplaceable part of any person’s body, doing amazing things for us.
It’s keeping us warm, helping our brains function optimally and our immune systems fight off disease, among many other things.
4. Storing Fat Is Bad
I am going to be completely honest – I used to resent my belly fat rolls and often self-mock when socializing as a sort of defense mechanism. I saw my body fat as an enemy.
And then I found out that if our body didn’t put away excess glucose from the blood or too much glycogen in fat tissue, these would build up in places they shouldn’t be and damage your liver or your heart.
This is potentially very dangerous so I became thankful my fat is keeping my blood and vital organs healthier.
All of these newly found facts made me realize what a vital role our fat has and how our bodies are brilliantly designed to work efficiently.
5. You Cannot Be Fat and Fit at the Same Time
Not true – you can actually be fat and fit if you mostly have subcutaneous fat. Health looks different on different bodies.
Take sumo wrestlers – they don’t have visceral fat.
All of their fat is located underneath the skin.
They tend to exercise for hours every single day, and it turns out exercise is linked to higher levels of a hormone called adiponectin that controls how much visceral or subcutaneous fat you get.
In this image-obsessed society, it is so easy to lose confidence and fall into self-loathing when you are chubby.
“The Secret Life of Fat ” helped me gain respect for my fat and realize how valuable and important it is. It also contributed to a better understanding of the urges and feelings I had as well as how our fat functions.
The knowledge I obtained encouraged me to ditch harsh self-criticism and build a healthier relationship with my body.
It is such an incredible and efficient machine and I finally realized the fat is a critical bolt in that marvelous system and not an enemy.
This really helped me embrace my body and make a shift towards health goals instead of pursuing certain idealized images.
Nina Simons is a lifestyle blogger, yoga aficionado and travel enthusiast with a distinctive taste for home decor. She’s passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. In her free time, she loves to design clothes and furniture. If you wanna see what she’s up to you can find her on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Cody Black.