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Kick the fat– body image

By Kathy Emiko
What exactly is body fat? How much fat is too much?
BODY IMAGE: Reality Check – It is all okay to desire to lose body fat, but ensure that you are doing it for the right reasons. For lots of people, losing 5 kilos will make them completely happy with themselves. It is time to stop hiding all those excess fat under big, black, baggy clothes and pretending that all is well or wearing tight-fitted dresses with all the excess flabs and folds falling off and carry on with an “I don’t care” attitude.

You had better care, if not for the terrible look you see in front of your mirror or that clownish look on the ‘red carpet,’ certainly for survival purposes. For sure, your internal organs are not comfortable with those excess bags.  Wake up before they collapse!

Appearance might mean very little compared to what is on the inside. Being thin will not solve problems surrounding low-self-esteem but being FIT and HEALTHY helps. This does not mean that HEALTHY and FAT is also not a way to measure good health; that is why we need to know what exactly is body fat and when fat is too fat. Being obsessed with body image makes it only natural that we all focus on how we look and feel; not in our clothes but naked in front of a mirror.

First, love your body and respect it. To do this, you need to take time to choose what you put in that body, which will reflect on the outside, and not just to cover up with designer outfits. Your body tone and skin should be worth a million dollars and not the clothes!

Body weight could be categorised under two headings. The first is called ‘lean body mass’ which comprises muscles, bones and organs. The second is ‘body fat’. The balance of lean body weight to body fat varies from person to person and there is no universal ideal, as our basic body shapes are determined largely by hereditary factors. However, there are recognised guidelines for what constitutes a healthy percentage of body fat and our objective this year should be to achieve the ideal body weight; that is lean body mass.

Body fat is the tissue in and around the muscles that is made up of fat cells. It is these fat cells that burn very slowly to sustain the body when food is scarce. However, since food in our society is rarely scarce as increase in obese people shows, any excess consumed get stored in our bodies as fat cells just below the skin. When these cells get full, they divide to form new cells ready to be filled. Half a kilogram of body fat is equivalent to 3,800 Kcals. Grabbing a thin slice of cake every day for just two weeks is enough to create these Kcals.

It is, therefore, very easy to accumulate weight, especially if we are leading a sedentary lifestyle or not paying attention to what we eat and drink.

Our daily calorie requirement is based on our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) while our weight is based on our Body Mass Index (BMI) and not those figures you see on the scale that make you lose hope and not excess weight. Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy required to keep your resting body provided with energy for one day.

One of the main influences on your BMR is your individual body composition; the more lean muscle you carry as opposed to fat, the faster and more efficient your BMR. This is because a muscle cell, even at rest is metabolically more active than a fat cell, therefore gaining lean body mass over body fat will make your body more efficient and look great.

Ask any two people with the same height and frame, what their ideal weight should be and you will get different answers. There are three different ways to obtain your weight range.

It is the most widely used method currently. It uses an equation that takes height and weight into consideration, making it more precise than relying on scales alone. The equation is: weight in kilograms divided by height in metres,  multiplied by height in metres. For example, if your weight is 80kg and your height is 1.8m, then your BMI will be 80 divided by 1.8 multiplied by 1.8 = 24.

BMI Chart:
Weight            BMI
Normal weight             20 – 25
Over weight             25 – 30
Seriously overweight         30 – 40
Dangerously overweight/Obese      40+

If your BMI is higher than 27, it increases your risk of degenerative diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, infertility etc.

BMI has its own limitations.  It does not take into account body fat and muscles ratio, meaning that an athlete and a desk worker who exercises can have similar BMIs.

Another method is to measure your lean body mass (fat percentage, using a fat calibre).
Here is the body fat percentage you should be aiming at in a particular age.

Age        Males        Females
10 – 30     10 – 18%    20 – 25%
31- 40         13 – 19%    21 – 27%
41 – 50        14 – 20%      22- 28%
51 – 60        16 – 20%     22 – 30%
60 +        17 – 21%    23 – 31%

The third simple test for confirming overweight is to measure your waist circumference. A recent study has shown that it is a good predictor of health problems, since abdominal obesity is associated with fat on the main organs (including the liver and heart) and contributes to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. A waist circumference of more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women is associated with increased risk of health problems.

Ideally, you should do all three tests in order to calculate most accurately what your target should be. Each test will give you a good idea of how much weight you need to lose and the time to start is NOW! Please do it in a very healthy way.

The BODY PERFECT formula (10 – 10 – 70 – 10) is one of the best ways to achieve healthy weight loss and a killer figure.
10% – Exercise
10% – Genes
70% – Nutrition (Quality is better than Quantity)
10% – Detox

All these put together will give you better BODY IMAGE and high self esteem. It is time to stop flaunting flabs, folds and protruding tummy. If you want to wear trendy clothes, work on that body.

You can always do something about it – naturally and healthily. Don’t be deceived, there are no MAGIC SILVER BULLETS. It is all about a change of lifestyle. So, stop making rules and develop the right HABITS.


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