Photo Credit: Flickr - Tobyotter
What do you know about fat? Not the kind you eat, the other kind - body fat?
If you are like me, probably not much. What little I learned in my college anatomy and physiology classes has been long forgotten. So, reading about the realities of body fat in the Introduction to The Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet: The World's Easiest Weight-Loss Plan! was a serious wake up call for me.
Fat is an important body component essential to life. Each cell membrane is composed of fat, as is nearly 60% of our brain's gray matter.
Fat is also stored energy. What you eat gets turned into substances - fatty acids, blood glucose, and amino acids - that are either used by your body or stored as fat in your fat cells for later use, which is important for survival. A little stored fat is a good thing.
But when you eat more calories than your body can burn over and over again, your fat cells stretch as far as they can to accommodate the excess fat and when they run out of room they will multiply to create more storage space. So, while an "average size" adult will have 30-40 billion fat cells, an obese person may have as many as 100 billion.
And once your body creates a new fat cell, it never goes away! It will shrink when you burn off the excess fat, but it's still there lurking forever.
What makes excess fat dangerous?
While I never liked the way I looked or felt when carrying excess fat, I never really understood how dangerous it was to my health until now.
In the past decade research scientists have discovered more than 100 biochemical substances called adipokines that are created by our fat. These adipokines cause inflammation in our tissues and blood vessels, increasing the risk for heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure, and can interfere with our metabolism leading to type 2 diabetes.
When I read that excess fat, "Is like a parasite that is actively trying to kill its host. In this case the host is you, I realized I would never look at fat the same again. It's not just unattractive. It's down right dangerous!
This just reinforces my desire to stay slim and healthy and not let excess weight creep back on as I have allowed it to do in the past. It makes it easier to stick with the program, exercise and eat sensibly, when you understand what's at stake!
And for me that means continuing to check in every month as a Weight Watchers Lifetime member, so I never let myself get too far away from the dock again.
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