Poor fat, it gets no respect. Where is the love for fat? It has such a negative image that just the word sounds like what it describes… fat. It seems as though nobody loves fat anymore yet, it is one of the most critical parts of our bodies and our diets.
Fat can be such a confusing topic, we seek “fat-free,” but we cannot live without it. Here are some facts that will hopefully lead you to like fat a little more…
Body fat is useful
Fat insulates us, and visceral fat that surrounds our vital organs protects them like a natural form of bubble wrap. The fat that is stored in the thighs and butt are natural energy stores that the body uses to keep you moving. While it is known that having too much body fat increases your risk for diabetes, so does having too little.
Being fat does not mean being unfit
Let it be known that just because you may be carrying around a little extra fat doesn’t say that you are not healthy. There is this image that those who have higher than average BMI, have less than average fitness levels. Fat does not mean you are not fit. It all comes down to your cardiovascular fitness. Those who are overweight but exercise regularly and are fit no greater risk from dying of cardiovascular disease or cancer than someone who is thin. Fatness doesn’t equate lack of fitness.
Eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat
In the 80’s and 90’s, it was thought that eating fat in meat or dairy was the reason why we were becoming overweight. There was a stigma attached to saturated fats and governments moved to suggest lowering the amount of fat consumed. Of course, anytime we consume anything to excess it can be bad, but eliminating all fat, that is not wise. With the fad of a fatless diet in full swing, we replaced fat in our diets with carbohydrates and salt. Obesity is reaching an almost epidemic pace with carbs being so predominant in our diet, yet, almost everything we eat says “fat-free” on the package.
Eat the good fats
Eat foods high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, foods such as avocados, nuts, fatty fish and seeds all contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which promote a healthy brain, heart and cholesterol levels. We can only obtain polyunsaturated fats from our diets as our body does not make them. Limit saturated fats found in red meat, and eliminate trans fats altogether from your diet.
While society loves us to be skinny, being skinny does not translate into optimal health. Eating a balanced diet with the right fats is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight for YOUR body. With regular exercise, anyone, regardless of BMI, can achieve a very high level of cardiovascular fitness. Weight is just a number that signifies how much pressure you put on the ground and BMI is just a “best guess” at ideal body size, but each of us is just genetically built different. Fitness and fatness can both live harmoniously in our bodies.
Love your body, love your fat, and in return, both will love and protect you.