Have you ever seen a replica of a pound of body fat? You can find these in medical supply centers for doctors or schools to purchase for display and learning purposes. Imagine a package of four sticks of butter, that is how much space one pound of fat actually takes.
Now I don’t think many people say to themselves, “I could actually use more of that.” Quite the contrary. Most of us are on a quest to rid ourselves of unwanted body fat. In a combined study by the CDC from data collected from 2017 through 2019, they found that 24% of adults in Colorado had obesity. It was the only state with less than 25%. When I think of Colorado it is one of those states where most people are quite active, so this statistic in itself shows what a problem we have in the United States.
White fat is the most common type of fat. This is that fat that is visible on one's body. It plays a number of endocrine system roles. Brown fat on the other hand, is found in much smaller amounts in the body. Its role is to help burn energy to make heat in the body and regulate body temperature. The third type of fat that is less common is beige fat. This beige or sometimes called brite fat, stimulates white fat cells to behave like brown ones.
White fats are the fats that are stored right under the skin. These are the fats we measure with calipers to test your body composition. These are the fats most people are so concerned with eliminating as it’s visible to the human eye, being stored in places like our hips, thighs, buttocks and arms. Surprisingly, this is not the fat that is mostly linked to health issues or disease, which would be the brown fats that are stored around our internal organs.
While our body does need a certain amount of fat to regulate our body temperature, absorb vitamins and nutrients, aid in hormonal functions, to name a few, excess body fat can be detrimental to our health.
So how do we get to a healthy body composition where we aren’t storing excess body fat below our skin and around our internal organs? One thing to understand is our fat cells themselves. We don’t gain or lose fat cells in our body. The amount of fat cells we have remains the same count. Our fats cells either increase or decrease in size based on caloric intake and exercise.
Losing body fat is an simple as A B C
Assess how much you need to lose. One pound of body fat = 3500 calories So if you want to lose 10 pounds, you have to have a calorie deficit of 35,000 over time. Quick weight loss on the scale is likely to be water flushing from your system. True fat loss takes time, so be kind and patient with yourself and your body.
Be aware of how many calories you need each day. There are many apps and online calculators that you can use to get a ballpark figure of what your individual calorie requirements are.
Cut your calories. To lose one pound of body fat a week, you need to cut your calories by 500 a day, either through what you eat or exercise or a combination of both.
When we circle back to how much space one pound of fat actually takes up on our body that can really put things into perspective. Taking time to lose this weight correctly, a little can go a long way in your overall health and physique.
By being consistent you can expect to slowly reduce body fat over time.