Post 85: Fat is Your Friend

There I said it and  I stand by it. Fat is indeed your friend. We owe our existence to the fact that our bodies have learned to convert excess calories to fat.

It all starts back here.
caveman diet
caveman diet
How often do you think this guy ate? How many calories did he expend in search of food?
You see we take for granted the luxuries of modern life. One of the greatest luxuries we have is plentiful food. We didn’t always have this. In fact, up until a 100 years ago or so, people ate as much as they could because they never knew when or where their next meal was coming from. 

Commercial farming, refrigeration, or the ability to transport food was primitive at best.
Yet we survived. Why? Because the body is very adept at taking excess calories ( energy ) and storing them for use later on. Fat is nothing more than stored energy. If you have fat, you are carrying around a bunch of batteries strapped around your stomach or butt. ( I couldn’t find a picture of that or a model who would pose, so just use your imagination).

Fat is your plan B, nature’s attempt at preventing death by starvation. So give fat some credit.
In the last century, being fat was a sign of wealth. In many cultures today, the more fat you carry, the more prestige you have. People couldn’t afford to expand their waistline. Think about that. Now everyone obsesses about how to shrink it.
So what are you going to take away from this? I say get to know your fat levels. They can really give you a ton of information about how your body is functioning.
  • If you are working out hard and doing your cardio and you still can’t lose fat, your nutrition is off. Most likely you are not eating enough. When the body doesn’t get enough calories it holds onto fat. This is called “Starvation Mode”.
  • Or your levels of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids are off. Chances are you are taking in way more Omega 6 ( corn oil etc… ) than you need to and you are suffering from the inflammatory effects of this. ( Google the research on fat ratios )
  • If you perform bodyfat measurements ( which you should be doing ) you will be able to see your fat vs. muscle ratio. Remember, nature doesn’t care how chiseled your abs are, nature’s only concern is survival.
  • Eat enough protein and take in enough quality calories and you body will naturally start dropping fat. All diets do is regulate the amount of calories you take in and how they are distributed. Some diets do this better than others. Diets higher in protein will help you keep muscle and lose fat although this is a basic generalization. Don’t get too crazy with this, aka Atkins, but use common sense. Starvation diets will achieve their scale weight loss by losing a combination of muscle and fat. This is bad because as your scale weight shrinks, your body fat percentage can actually stay the same. Protein calories should be 25% to 40% of your total calories.

We have a friend of the family who is in her 40’s. Weighs around 130 and is tall. She wears a small dress size. I know what you are thinking, ” Ooooooh I would love to look like her!”. Are you sure? She had a body fat percentage of over 30%! 

In other words 39 pounds of fat on a small frame. In other, other words, not enough muscle to support the skeleton. I tried explaining this to her but like most people, she went on eating salads and starving herself to fit into her dresses. Eventually her metabolism was run into the ground, immunity shot and her weight ballooned up. Why? Preservation. If the body is not getting enough calories, it went into freak out mode. The one way to fix it is the one way she will not accept and that is to eat.

The lesson here: Don’t freak out about fat. When you body accumulatates it, your body is sending you a message. You have the diagnostic tools to control it.
Now go workout and burn some fat!
Michael Medvig
M Factor Fitness