Body Fat: Your Guide To What It Is & How To Lose It
I HAVE SO MUCH BODY FAT.
THERE’S A JIGGLE IN MY WIGGLE.
I HATE MY STOMACH.
WHY DO MY LEGS LOOK HUGE?
I JUST DON’T LIKE HOW I LOOK ANYMORE.
EVERYTHING IS FAT!
Sound familiar? First, let’s quit all the self-subtracting thoughts about our bodies and start to focus on what is really going on. Body fat, feeling fat, and thinking you are fat DOES NOT DEFINE WHO YOU ARE. Instead, let’s start to think more about how we can proactively change the way we see ourselves and how we can find a better balance in our health and wellbeing, not just from the outside, but from the inside too.
I know many of you have been subjected to what your “shape” or “type” is. Apple, triangle, square, hourglass, pear, circle, inverted triangle, round. Wait, round? Round isn’t even a “shape”. Yes, these different categories may help us to identify where our body fat most commonly lies, but I’m going to be totally honest, I really don’t like being referred to as a rounded-square-inverted triangle. What does that even mean? I just want to be Aubree who is focused on a healthier body composition.
Healthier. It’s not a linear term and it can’t be described as the same for every person. We have all heard it, just because someone looks healthy externally does not mean they are healthy internally. Whether that be related to underlying morbidity, genetic predisposition, or unhealthy lifestyle factors, internal health should be a top priority.
We often refer to fat just as fat, but there are actually six types found within our bodies that have a different purpose or reason for being there.
Essential Body Fat
- A very good type of fat that is required for optimal health
- Regulates body temperature, vitamin absorption, and hormones
- Located throughout the body but is not always visible
- Not a target fat for weight loss, females require 10-12% body fat while men range around 2-4%; if you are below these “healthy” ranges, you may be in an extreme or very unhealthy exercise/diet routine
- A good fat
- Primarily responsible for maintaining the body’s core temperature
- Is not a storage fat, so it burns off quicker
- Maintaining essential fat helps support healthy brown fat levels
- A good fat
- Created under exercise stress (turns white fat into a beige hue)
- Assists in the changeover and elimination of bad fat as thermal energy used to maintain the body’s core temperature
- 75 minutes or more of vigorous exercise each week, including H.I.I.T, increases the hormone irisin which prompts the beiging of white fat
- A so-so fat; kinda bad but kinda good
- Serves as the largest energy storage system
- Produces the hormone adiponectin
- Essential for insulin management and healthy blood sugar balance
- Produces the hormone leptin
- Manages growth hormones and cortisol (stress hormone)
- At high levels, may cause insulin resistance and increase weight gain
- A more stubborn fat to get rid of when at high levels
- Targeting exercise toward strength training will help reduce higher levels
- Eating more consistently (i.e. not overeating/undereating) encourages white fat to change into brown fat
- A so-so fat; kinda bad but kinda good
- Accounts for 90% of overall body fat percentage
- Lies just under the skin
- Acts as a protective cushion between muscle and skin tissue
- Responsible for the sex hormone, estrogen
- Females tend to have higher levels because of the fertility-estrogen relationship
- Essential but in moderate-low levels
- Is stored in the abdominal region as a backup due to caloric deprivation/starvation
- A good target for weight loss through a well-balanced diet that incorporates whole foods
- The bad fat
- Found in the abdominal area between organs
- Accumulates and secretes retinol-binding protein no.4, known for insulin resistance
- High levels of visceral fat are linked to cancer, dementia, stroke, and Alzheimer’s
- Commonly increases with age as the metabolism naturally slows down
- To reduce visceral fat, it is suggested to focus on a diet rich in whole foods, minimally processed foods, increased amounts of lean protein sources, healthy fat sources, whole grains, and proper daily fiber intake
Aubree, how do I lose this stubborn fat?
This is one of the most common questions I receive during my nutrition consultations and client check-ins and by far one of the most challenging questions to answer. At the end of the day, my education and experience go beyond a simple-generic answer because no two bodies have identical internal to external makeups, and that means no two dietary-exercise programs should ever be the same. Your metabolism and your body are extremely unique!
…no two bodies have identical internal to external makeups, and that means no two dietary-exercise programs should ever be the same.
To work on body fat reduction and building a healthier more sustainable lifestyle around diet and exercise requires a combination of four key factors:
- Work on a diet that supports your body’s needs and provides…
- Customized intake goals
- Individualized attention to any medical conditions, food can heal!
- Specific food sourcing guidelines
- Meal structure that adheres to your lifestyle and works with you
- Focus on a better mindset and self-practice filled with…
- Positivity and optimism
- Self-compassion and self-trust
- Consistency in your choices and actions
- Set goals that are realistic and appropriate for you
- Focus on attainable short-term and long-term milestones
- Don’t base your goals on someone else’s results
- Create a plan that leads you toward success, not failure — be honest with yourself!
- Don’t overlook the power of movement
- Exercise is different for everyone – what works for one may not work for another
- Movement should embody what makes you feel good, what you enjoy, and what you feel passionate about
- You don’t need to sweat your butt off or be sore to have a good, effective workout
Did you know our InBody570 machine measures and provides a full body composition analysis? This includes body fat percent, total body fat mass, visceral fat level, and more. To schedule your scan with a virtual one-on-one results review, or to find out more about the InBody570 click here.
I also want you to know that if you struggle with dietary and exercise goals, my team and I are here to help support and guide you. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com to learn more about our facility, nutrition program, personal training services, and more. YOUR GOALS, OUR PURPOSE.
Aubree “Aubs” Shofner
Fitness & Nutrition Professional