This article was originally written by Kathryn Martyn, M.NLP
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If you have excess weight only in specific parts of your body, you still must look at yourself as a whole. It’s not possible to spot reduce; in other words, you can’t dictate that you only want weight to come off one place or another. In most cases your so called “trouble spots” is where the fat will come off last, so be prepared to lose weight in your fingers (rings fall off) and your face (friends may ask if you’re feeling all right).
If you work toward building muscle and reducing body fat you will eventually tackle those trouble spots though, and develop a better physique in the process. Muscle tissue is active meaning it requires calories to be maintained. If you were stranded without a food supply, eventually your body would turn to its own muscle tissue as a source of nutrition first (muscles are protein) while saving the fat stores for last. Simply put, fat is nature’s way of ensuring survival during times of famine. That’s why the prevalence of heart failure kills someone who is severely malnourished. By building more muscle you become a more efficient energy burning machine which translates to mean you can eat more food! That to me is a good thing.
The More Active You Are, The More You Get to Eat!
That explains why some people can eat so much more than others yet not gain weight; your efficient energy burning friend simply has a greater proportion of muscle to fat than you. Muscle is more dense than fat. It’s often said that a pound of muscle is heavier than a pound of fat, but the truth is a pound is a pound. What they mean is a one pound volume of muscle is a smaller package than a one pound volume of fat, or put another way, fat is billowy and fluffy while muscle is sleek and compact. Lady No. 1 weighs 120 pounds with 30% body fat so she has 84 pounds of lean tissue and 36 pounds of fat, while Lady No. 2 also weighing 120 pounds but at 18% body fat is carrying roughly 98 pounds of muscle and 22 pounds of fat. Would you rather be Lady No. 1 or Lady No. 2? Which do you think takes up more space, 22 or 36 pounds of fat? I’d say 36 pounds of fat would be a lot bigger package than 22 pounds.
That is why body weight as a number by itself is meaningless, but your ratio of fat to muscle is very important and worth working to change. Strive to decrease your body fat and increase your muscle mass and you’ll look better, you’ll feel stronger and more energetic and you’ll simply be healthier.
You can generally have your body fat tested at fitness centers and most gyms so ask about having it done. It’s better to know you have 30% body fat and work to reduce it to 29, than not to know and only think in terms of body weight. Most people who think only of how much they weigh tend to do everything to reduce that weight, and it’s usually at the expense of losing more valuable muscle.
The best way to increase muscle and decrease fat is through a consistent exercise program. Start at whatever is your beginning, but do start.
Begin with an overall body conditioning type exercise program, doing whatever you enjoy, whether it be a sport, gardening, weight lifting, biking, hiking, or any other activity. Any physical movement you do regularly counts as exercise even if it is doing laundry or taking out the trash. Get as much as you can out of every chore you do, and stop thinking of it as a chore but instead as an opportunity to move your body.
In the early 1900s a washing machine was a new invention. People used to wash their clothes by hand, and hang them outside to dry. Being a housewife was actually a pretty strenuous job. It’s no wonder women were thankful for modern conveniences like automatic washers and dryers, but now we’ve come to where our daily activities are not taking our bodies at all, so unless we want to get fatter and fatter we must do something about it.
Get Fit and Belly Fat Disappears
It doesn’t make sense to drive around and around in the parking lot looking for the closest space when you’re on your way to run or walk on the treadmill. Why take the elevator five flights every day at work and then pay a monthly fee to do the StairMaster after work? What if we all started to notice that our world is full of exercise equipment. We could become so much more fit if we’d just start to notice all the opportunities for physical movement we miss in the name of convenience. Look around and see if you can spot some exercise opportunities, and then get busy and get fit.