Mythbusting

what the fat

There are few subjects out there that are shrouded in more mystery, distorted with more bad information, and more coveted by the general public than body fat. Well today we are going to help you learn a little bit more about body fat, and maybe shed some light on a few really interesting – and life altering – facts about that porous, squishy, yellow tissue inside all of us.

Did you know??

We have the potential to develop an increasing number of fat cells into our early 20’s, but after that point we have the number of fat cells we will have for life.

Fat is essential for brain functioning, hormone production, and protection of our organs, however body fat over 25% for men and over 30% for women can become a health hazard! Especially when stored around our internal organs, excess body fat increases our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Did you know??

Obese children produce up to twice the number of fat cells as non-obese children. Obese 2 year-olds only have a 1 in 4 chance of NOT being obese by the time they reach the age of 35.

That means basically 25% of obese children will grow up to be obese! It’s vital that we introduce our children to healthy foods and the joy of movement when they are young. Go out and buy 1 new vegetable or fruit this week, one that even you have not tried before, and have the whole family try it! Make it exciting whatever way you can!

Did you know??

An abundance of fat cells directly leads to a deficiency of leptin – the hormone that tells our brain that we should stop eating because we are full!

As fat cells shrink, they produce less leptin which would make us tend to eat more because we are not being told as loudly that we are not hungry, making this a larger problem for people who were significantly overweight or obese as children and/or teenagers. Fat cells want to be filled with lipids. Help your body receive that “full” signal by eating whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals while being aware of physical hunger vs fullness cues. Sometimes when you body tells you it’s hungry, what it really is asking for is water! If you haven’t had any water for a little while try drinking an 8 oz glass and wait 10 minutes to see if you still want to eat.

Here’s what you need to know for your weight-loss goals:

It starts with the liver: The liver is used to store glycogen (sugar) for reserves. As we eat, our body fills those reserves. It’s when we eat too much (simple or complex sugars) and the liver is at capacity that the remaining glycogen floating around gets moved into our fat cells.

If you want to lose fat, don’t engage in extreme diets! Stay consistent with your healthy habits and make little changes that you will be able to maintain for the long term. Fad diets and quick fixes that yield 30 pounds weight loss in 30 days for instance almost always result in your body losing mostly water and muscle in the process. This is why you often “rebound” back to your original weight shortly after quitting the diet, and sometimes even end up gaining more than you lost because your body is not happy with the yo-yo trend!

What happens when we “lose fat”? Through a series of chemical reactions, fat leaves the body through sweat and urine, but fat primarily leaves the body through respiration (breathing)! Help lose and or maintain body fat percentages by incorporating non-exercise physical activity every day like parking in the furthest spot at the store or at work, taking the stairs, or just playing with your kids and grandkids more often!

Deflating fat cells CAN be done! Two quick hitters to get started are to exercise at least 5 hours per week and get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You might be one of those who think you only need 5 or 6 hours, and while that may be true for you to live and generally function, burning fat is hard work. Rest is key!

Diet Myth-Busting!

This week we are busting diet myths! First up, it’s…

EAT LESS, WEIGH LESS.”

While that CAN be true in some cases, usually people don’t want to lose weight – they want to lose fat! So, if you are comfortable depriving your body the nutrients it needs, feeling hungry all the time, and losing muscle, water and bone density – then this is the diet for you! In order to maintain muscle and proper body functioning (especially for people involved in strength training several times a week like our Ellipse members!) you need to eat at least a certain number of calories in the proper ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Now of course if an average person was eating 3,000 calories a day sure, cutting their calorie intake a little will probably help them lose some weight. For most of us however, when we “diet” we tend to cut out entire macronutrient categories (*cough cough* carbohydrates), and slash caloric intake below a baseline level needed to ensure your body doesn’t enter “starvation mode”.

LOW-FAT, LOW-CARB, SUGAR-FREE, DIET, LITE”

These are marketing terms dreamed up in a corporate office to sell cheap (in quality and ingredients, not always in price) products to the incredibly large market of people desperate to lose weight. We’ve discussed the downside to artificial sweeteners in the past, but products with these labels tend to be highly processed, and are often just junk food disguised as a guilt-free indulgence – however, they are anything but. Low or Fat-Free products often have added sugar to make it taste good enough to eat (see the classic example of fat-free frozen yogurt)

EAT SMALLER AMOUNTS FREQUENTLY TO BOOST METABOLISM.”

The truth is the number one way to boost your metabolism is by increasing the amount of muscle you have – that’s about it. Constant digestion has a negligible effect on your metabolism and might even do more harm than good for your teeth and intestines. Eating a healthy snack (think: Veggies and Hummus, Fruit and Greek Yogurt or Peanut Butter, etc) between meals however can help you to stay more satisfied during the day and prevent overeating at meal time.

EATING PROTEIN AND CARBS SEPARATELY AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS.”

This one is patently UN-true because in fact the best way to ensure efficient digestion of protein is to pair it with a high-fiber carbohydrate. Many of the healthiest protein options come pre-paired with carbohydrates already like beans, nuts, seeds etc.

EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT!”

This one is very important because many people striving for a healthy diet almost totally abstain from dietary fat, which is to their detriment because many vitamins (A, D, E and K) REQUIRE fat to be absorbed into the body. Also adding small amounts of healthy fat (EVOO, Coconut Oil, etc) to vegetables makes most people much more likely to eat them, and help you feel full! (Think: apple = still hungry vs. apple + peanut butter = energy + satisfaction)

DON’T EAT AFTER 8 PM!”

This might be good advice, but not because late night calories are really any worse than daytime calories. Most of the time late night snacks are our worst ones. High fat, high sugar snacks that don’t actually serve any purpose to sate hunger. Try not to go more than 5 hours without eating during the day to avoid being famished late at night, and try to contain your eating hours roughly within a 12-hour window – that alone might help you save a couple hundred calories per day!

Consider these myths BUSTED