Hopefully, your overall health and fitness goal is to burn body fat and lose weight permanently. And, place a high priority on burning belly fat for this reason:
According to the International Journal of Obesity (and many other sources), butt fat is healthier than belly fat. Their research shows that belly fat increases risks of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and premature death.
Women tend to carry too much fat on the butt, hips and thighs while men tend to carry too much belly fat. The research showed that women with more butt fat/thigh fat than belly fat have better blood sugar levels, blood fat control and slower fat turnover (prevents inflammation and promotes metabolic health).
There are generally two types of body fat:
1. Subcutaneous fat is found just underneath the skin and may cause dimpling and cellulite. Cellulite causes skin to dimple, pucker up or lump up. There are many factors that determine whether you have cellulite---your genes, gender, skin thickness and amount of body fat all play a part. There are no quick fixes for cellulite.
Visceral fat is located in the abdomen and vital organs (such as the liver) and it can be deadly. It can also infiltrate your muscles and heart. Even if you are skinny, you can have visceral fat.
A “skinny fat” person is one who is skinny with high body fat. Studies have shown that frequent yo-yo dieting increases visceral fat. Yo-yo dieters also regain the lost weight (and even more) because yo-yo diets slow down your metabolism.
Work to shrink your waist size. Researchers from the American Cancer Society warns us about the deadly risks of having too much belly fat.
Eric J. Jacobs, PHD, American Cancer Society strategic director, and his colleagues found that people with very large waists (47 inches or larger in men, 42 inches or larger in women) had approximately twice the risk of death compared to those with the smallest waists (35 inches in men, 30 inches in women) during the study period.
And, this is the interesting part about the study: it didn't matter if the person was normal weight, overweight or obese (according to body mass index).
“We found a pattern showing that expanding waist size was linked to a greater risk of dying regardless of body weight,” said Jacobs. “Similarly, people with the smallest waist sizes had the lowest risk. The take home message here is watch your waist size regardless of your weight.”
You need to know where you are fat no matter what your Body Mass Index (BMI) may be. Too much body fat is not good even if you have a good BMI.
If you don't combine healthy, managed nutrition with consistent weight training and interval cardio exercise, you probably have high body fat even if you are a skinny person (probably due to genetics).
Many people are confused about what BMI means as it relates to body fat. It is just one tool to use when you are looking at your health. Scientists use BMI as a research tool to make objective comparisons as to how fat a person is. A person with a BMI of 25 or above is considered overweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.
Body Mass Index uses a person's height and body weight to measure a person's fatness. This method has some limitations because it doesn't consider a person's body type (slim, muscular, etc.).
For example, a fit person with high muscle mass will tend to have a high BMI which suggests that the person is overfat. This person would actually be fit and healthy with low risk for fat-related diseases.
So, even though you might use BMI as a starting point, a person's level of fatness is best measured using a direct method. Two methods used are under-water weighing and skinfold measurements. Under-water weighing is not readily available to most people. Having a skinfold body fat test done by a fitness professional is convenient and reasonably accurate.
Regular exercise, low body fat and increased muscle mass are all factors that should outweigh any health risks suggested by a higher BMI.
Here is an example of the importance of burning body fat:
I met a man in the health club who had lost about 80 pounds through calorie restriction dieting. The 80 lost pounds is great but he had a problem---he had lots of loose skin hanging on his body. Why? He did no strength training! That left him with high body fat and embarrassing loose skin (i. e., skinny-fat).
Commercialized weight loss programs lead people to focus too much on weight loss and not enough on fat loss.
A healthy body is one that is "lean and toned." It may take a little longer but you will love the results. And, the results will be permanent if you continue to exercise regularly.
This man has now begun to lift weights and hopefully he can shed the loose skin (body fat). If you're trying to get in shape, take a three-pronged approach---healthy, managed nutrition, weight training (3 days a week) and interval cardio (2-3 times a week). This approach will give you the hard body you want. And, you will be healthy!
Do you want to:
- Eat Better to be Healthier, Burn More Fat and Lose Permanent Weight?
- Have Your BEST Looking Body Naked or in Smaller-Sized Clothes?
- Feel Better than You have Felt in Months or Years?
- Have the Energy to Accomplish Your Daily Goals?
Be sure and download your FREE 7-Day Fat Loss Jumpstart e-Course, which shows you how to get started remaking your body a healthy, energized and lean fat-burning machine!
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES