By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
Fat seems to have a bad reputation among many people, even though life really wouldn’t be the same without it.
If you’re working on losing weight and getting back in shape, I’m sure it’s easy to break the habit of avoiding fatty foods like the plague. However, not all fat is bad; having a little fat in your body is extremely important to be able to function normally.
Because it plays such a crucial role in a person’s life, here are some important facts you would want to know about fat that will keep you informed and ensure you don’t make any unhealthy decisions.
Too much, too little; a recipe for trouble
Before we start, it’s important that you know all this isn’t an excuse. Having too much fat and too little fat in your body will completely throw the chemical balances within yourself off-kilter.
Because each person’s body is built differently, it’s hard to define how much fat a person should have to be healthy. Thanks to modern medicine, you can take measurements of your body mass, height and weight in order to determine the optimum of body fat you should have as a percentage. This will help you to determine what next step you must take, whether you need more fat, or start burning off what you do.
Having more body fat than you need not only means that you’re not hitting that perfect physique you want, you’ll also be at risk of health complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and stroke. For pregnant mothers, being obese increases the likely- hood of complications for both mother and child.
However, having too little body fat has its own complications as well. A lot of vital bodily functions that keep you alive depend on having certain fatty acids and lipids at ready. Too little fat in your body and you’ll experience vitamin deficiencies, mood swings, and be subject to heart disease as well.
Not having healthy levels of body fat could lead to infertility (for both male and female), lowered immunity, hair loss, loss of strength and energy as well as slowed muscle recovery.
You’ll also struggle in colder environments because body-fat helps regulate your body’s temperature as well as protecting internal organs from being damaged if an accident happens.
Superstar bod? Truth or fiction
If you’re chasing after the physique of a fitness model in an exercise video or even that of your favourite moviestar on screen, you might have to think again. While there’s no argument that they are physically fit and healthy, they undergo a lot of painful preparation before standing in front or the camera such as self-dehydration.
A physically strong and fit body might not always be ‘Hollywood ready’. Each person’s body stores fat differently, meaning that genetics also have an important role to play in your physical appearance, so don’t pursue any unhealthy standards in your journey to building the body you want.
Crunches aren’t enough
If you want to specifically lose fat from your belly, you might be tempted to do crunches, planks and other exercises that focus on strengthening your core. While you may be strengthening your abdominal, you most likely won’t be losing any body fat along the way. When you lose fat, it happens throughout your body. Because of that, the only effective way you’re going to get rid of any ‘extra cushioning’ is through a proper diet plan and cardio exercise paired with core-strength building workouts.
So take a holistic approach. Don’t expect instant results or a chiseled six-pack after giving only minimal effort.
Diet is important
Just because having fat in your diet is important, doesn't mean that you should be eating every kind of fatty food your hands can reach. Look for more sources of mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats to consume such as avocados, nuts, fish oil and fatty fish.
There are also foods with saturated and unsaturated fats such as red meat and dairy products that should be consumed moderately. As for trans-fat found in fried and processed food, the lesser you consume the better.
Just like proteins and carbohydrates, getting the right amounts of fat everyday and maintaining a healthy amount of body-fat is crucial to living a healthy, fit lifestyle. However, it’s important to never over-indulge in a good thing, then vilify it when you realise that going above the healthy limit has its own repercussions.
We wish you well in your journey to obtain the perfect balance in both body