Most people focus on the question: how do I lose weight? But really their question should be, “Why is my body storing fat?” The reason why, is when you know why it stores it and you can fix that. The symptom of weight gain goes away.
It’s common knowledge that too much body fat can be bad for you. But did you know that it’s also beneficial, too?
When asking yourself “why is my body storing fat” understand that biologically, storing fat is natural.
You naturally store fat to protect you while it is in survival mode. Our brains send the signals to stay alive whether it’s a normal daily stressor or a life-threatening situation. So it kicks in stress hormones and packs on the energy so you don’t run out of it while trying to survive. The problem is that while your body thinks it is helping, too much fat can cause many health issues.
It is important to understand what makes your body store it so you can address the root cause.
Body Fat: Purpose and Storage
Most people think that fat is there to store energy. Which is true. But one of our fat cells’ primary purpose is to store toxins. It’s a safety mechanism. It also stores fat during a time of stress and feels like it needs to survive. It is energy dense, preventing us from having to carry even more weight on our forms just to keep our energy up. In addition, fat also cushions our insides and keeps us well-insulated. It’s an important part of our biology that protects us from the elements.
These all sound like great things. And when your body is trying to survive, those things are great. They literally keep us alive.
The problem occurs when stress is chronic, hormones get out of balance and there is too much fat. In reasonable levels, it’s helpful, but too much of a good thing is harmful.
When allowed to function naturally, human physiology is built to keep us alive. So we have defense mechanisms that will fight tooth and claw to keep that fat stored away. These biological factors don’t take into consideration environmental or food changes. All they know is that it has to stay on the body to stay alive.
So what triggers these bodily reactions?
One of the triggers for food storage is stress. Stress sends signals to slow your metabolism down. This causes all different types of imbalances like inflammation, hormone imbalances, and improper blood sugar and toxin levels. As a result, this causes low energy, joint pain, brain fog, weight gain, and more.
Focusing on fixing the stress response will help you release the fat instead of store it.
How to Measure Fat Storage
There are many different ways to measure your body fat percentage. Many of these methods are conducted in medical and research settings. But measuring your body fat at home is a little different.
Here are a few ways to measure your fat percentage without expensive equipment.
Skinfold calipers are fairly easy to use and helpful for measuring body fat without special training. The calipers are handheld tools that measure the thickness of subcutaneous fat in different areas of your anatomy.
The tool uses millimeters to measure fat in the triceps, shoulder blade, chest, midaxillary, hip, abdomen, and thigh.
For the best results, the seven-site measurement method is recommended.
In this method, a measuring tape is used to measure specific sites on the body. Keep in mind that the sites will vary depending on male or female.
Women measure the neck, waist, and hips, while men just measure the neck and waist. The measurements are entered into an equation to determine fat percentage.
The equation for women:
% body fat = 163.205 x log10 (waist + hip – neck) – 97.684 x log10 (height) – 78.387
The equation for men is:
% body fat = 86.010 x log10 (abdomen – neck) – 70.041 x log10 (height) + 36.76
If doing this kind of math manually seems intimidating, there are online body fat calculators to help you!
What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?
The ideal percentage depends on many different factors including gender and age. Whether you are an athlete or not can also affect the percentage requirements.
If you aren’t a professional athlete, and just want to stay healthy, the best factors to consider are age and gender.
- 20-39 yrs, 21-32% body fat is considered healthy.
- 40-59 yrs, 23-33% body fat is considered healthy.
- 60-79 yrs, 24-35% body fat is considered healthy.
- 20-39 yrs, 8-19% body fat is considered healthy.
- 40-59 yrs, 11-21% body fat is considered healthy.
- 60-79 yrs, 13-24% body fat is considered healthy.
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