I always get a bit leery when tackling this subject. Not only has this particular topic long been incorrectly associated with Diabetes in its various Types, but given modern society’s penchant for body positivity no matter the shape of the body, it can make navigating the terminology in a diplomatic way a touch difficult. It doesn’t help that we live in a society where even something positive is usually interpreted as offensive. But on to the topic. I am referring to body fat.
From a body positivity standpoint, I agree 100% that a person can be on the heavier side and still be beautiful. And it’s important to understand and encourage that body positivity, so long as it doesn’t jeopardize one’s health. The issue I usually see is when someone who has excessive body fat or is obese, being encouraged to accept their body and it’s size and just kick their feet up and ignore the problem. No. This is incorrect. And dangerous. And now, I’m going to provide some explanations as to why.
First of all, body fat is important to the human body. Fat, in and of itself, is considered to be the stored energy source of the body. In other words, when your primary source of fuel runs out, the body taps into fat stores to keep you running until your next meal. Fat accumulation takes place when the amount of calories you take in exceed your body’s requirements. The body then stores the excess for later consumption, hence weight gain. There can be other causes for weight gain, but that’s the gist.
But your fat stores are intended to be a happy medium. Too much fat on the body can lead to cardiovascular and circulatory problems, damage the joints and cartilage of the body as well as possible metabolic issues. On the flip side, the human body can’t survive WITHOUT body fat, since it contributes to proper immune system health, energy balance and prevents starvation in instances when you can’t/don’t take in enough energy.
An article posted a few years ago by Freeletics.com states, “Too little body fat can cause deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins, which your body can only absorb with fat. Another important factor is the risk of increased disease like heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, damage to the nervous system as well as the risk of organ shrinkage and an effect on your immune system.” The bottom line is that humans need fat in order to live. But it’s how much fat we allow to be stored on one’s body that is the issue.
It’s important to accept oneself as they are, but you excess weight can be detrimental to one’s life and health. The first step is to do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Get off the couch and move. Even if you start with a simple walk and continue on from there, anything is better than nothing. Body fat doesn’t affect one’s personal beauty, inside or out. But fat can and will affect one’s health. And that’s where it becomes a problem. Proper diet and regular exercise are the best weapons. But bear in mind that certain medications and existing health conditions can also contribute. Be sure to speak to your doctor or medical practitioner if you feel there may be something hindering your weight-loss efforts. ☯