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Body Fat: What You Need to Know
Obesity Ė itís a national obsession. Most people try to lose weight for cosmetic reasons. A more important benefit is health related. Obesity has been directly linked to many physical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes. The best way to control of body fat is to understand the problem - and take consistent steps toward the goal of a healthier, thinner you.
UNDERSTANDING BODY FAT
· Everyone needs body fat to survive. Fat is responsible for regulating your body temperature. It provides fuel for energy production, and acts as a protective cushion for body parts.
· Fat cells multiply during the third trimester of life, through the first year after birth, during the adolescent years. They also multiply during times of chronic overeating.
· The amount of fat that you will gain is determined by many factors, such as genetics, hormone activity and the number of fat cells you possess.
· Excess fat is the result of overeating, combined with a lack of physical activity.
· Being overweight does not necessarily mean that you are over fat. Conversely, being underweight does not mean that you are under fat. For example, a 240-pound body builder may have 7% body fat - whereas, a 120-pound woman may have 35% body fat. The body builder, although overweight, is not obese. The woman, however, is considered obese.
· Obesity is defined as the percentage of body fat that increases the risk of disease. Women with over 35% body fat are considered obese, and men over 25%.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY FAT LEVEL
· There are NO magic cures to obesity.
· The energy balance equation states that the number of calories ingested, must equal the number of calories expended through activity. Eating too many calories without adequate activity will result in a fat gain. Fewer calories + adequate activity level = fat loss; but also remember all calories are not the same if you are eating only enery carbs and starving you lean muscle mass for your protein needs you will add fat with a fairly low calorie diet.
· The Surgeon Generalís report of 1997 recommends 30 minutes of accumulated moderate physical activity on most or all days of the week.
· It is important to eliminate as much fat from your diet as possible. Only 30% of your calories should be from fat. High fat foods are also high calorie foods.
· Gradually decrease your portion size when eating. This will amount to many saved calories.
· Be careful with low fat, or fat free foods. Often, the calorie content is the same. We can be misled into overeating these foods. There is also a chemical released in the brain when you eat high glycimic carbs that makes you crave more of these carbs. Fat and protein release the opposite chemical that satiantes you. Eating balanced meals will usually have you eating fewer overall calories for this very reason.
· If you are hungry, drink a glass of water. Your brain can interpret thirst as hunger.
· Identify the time of day you desire snacks. Substitute an activity at this time to prevent you from eating.
· Maintain a food log to identify the amount of calories consumed.
· Monitor your body fat, not your body weight.
· Body fat analyzers for home use are now affordable and easy to use.
· Monitoring your progress will motivate you to move toward your goal.
Research shows you are more likely to achieve your weight loss target by making lifestyle changes gradually, resulting in a slow but steady fat loss every week. Remember to keep your eyes on your goal, and never give up. The power to achieve is yours if you want it.
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