Before everyone jumps at me and decides to lynch me in a city square, let me start this post by premising the fact that I’ve never been the type to call a person fat… I totally agree that this is a derogatory term; one that’s been an issue since society’s perception of a pleasing form has been slim and muscular. It hasn’t always been so, but this seems to be the preference for now and considering the depth of society’s sensitivity towards being labeled or name-called, I want to be sure that everyone understands that when I refer to “fat,” I’m talking about the actual substance that causes weight gain and obesity. I’m not here to body shame or name call!
Now that I’ve clarified that I’m not some judgmental jerk and that I’m simply trying to help, let’s discuss what fat really is. Contrary to popular opinion, body fat isn’t limited to one’s gut or hanging off the arms. There are two types of body fat. The first is subcutaneous fat. This is the stuff that sits just underneath the surface of your skin and makes your gut look distended. It’s what’s getting poked on the Pillsbury Doughboy. But I digress… The other type is visceral fat. This is the nasty stuff that gathers around your heart, arteries and other organs. All caught up? Good. Now, let’s talk about this fat…
There are a lot of reasons behind WHY a person will accumulate an increase in gut size, including poor dietary choices, lack of physical fitness, alcohol consumption and in some cases, medical or genetic predisposition. I know that even I’m guilty of having gained what I like to refer to as the “COVID-19 pounder,” which refers to the nearly twenty pounds I’ve gained since the world turned into a lockdown nightmare. Diabetics will generally have difficulties with weight since insulin is a hormone and blood sugar management can make slimming down a bit difficult.
But for people in general, it can be a simple matter of just getting up off the couch and doing something. ANYTHING! Even if it simply means going for a walk. Work and lifestyle can often make it difficult as well. I know that when I was doing shift work, it played absolute hell on my fitness routines. Working overnight meant that I was usually blasted during the day and didn’t want to work out. Lack or poor sleep will also throw a wrench into your gut-slimming efforts. That’s why one needs to INCLUDE all the aforementioned aspects, fitness, diet, proper rest and good lifestyle choices, into one’s daily life.
In some cases, and the reason I’m actually writing this post, one faces a “chicken and the egg” scenario… What I mean by this is that a person will gain a bit of weight and will want to burn it off. But some excess of weight may make that person lethargic, tired and lacking in motivation to actually exercise. The result is lack of exercise and poor dietary habits will cause more weight gain. Wash rinse and repeat. I have a friend who is actually facing this scenario. He’s gained a significant amount of weight over the past few years and finds himself unhappy with the state of his body.
I’ve been trying to have him come work out with me, but he’s convinced he wants to start to his own because he wants to slim down first, despite my stating there’s no judgement. The problem is, he isn’t starting. This means the weight goes nowhere, he lacks exercise and fitness, and his shift work is dragging him further down the flubber rabbit-hole. He continues to be unhappy, which leads to further lack of motivation to do something about. Chicken and the egg. Brutal.
Just to be clear, fat is something the body needs. If you were to have absolutely NO body fat, you’d have organs malfunctioning, electrolyte imbalances and all kinds of nutritional deficiencies. A person needs at least a few percent of body fat. But trimming body fat is easier than it sounds and can involve nothing more complicated than eating more vegetables and lean proteins, cutting down on carbohydrates and overall calories (notice I said cut down, not eliminate) and exercising regularly.
Don’t let the current state of the world and lifestyle get in the way of your overall health. Even if you have a family who absorbs most of your free time, it’s very hard to take care of them if you don’t take care of yourself first. So don’t let yourself slip into an endless bad cycle. get up off the couch and start moving. As I often say, anything is something more than nothing. Just do something. ANYTHING! ☯