healthy weight but still fat?

What a lot of people do not realize these days, is that being thin and looking good in your clothes gets you nowhere in life if you do not have the fitness to back that ass up.

Let me explain...

There are (approximately) four types of people in this world:
  1. People who are visibly fat.
  2. People who are visibly athletic, fit and trim.
  3. People who are visibly average-looking and fit.
  4. People who are visibly average-looking, yet surprisingly out of shape and over fat.
Unfortunately, with popular culture being what it is, many young adults today fall into the fourth category. The pressure to look good in their clothes has convinced a lot of people that being thin enough to fit into a pair of skinny jeans is all it takes to make it in this world.

This short-sighted way of thinking has been around for decades, and has created a terrible pattern that I believe needs to change -- before it's too late!

These people can not comprehend how they could possibly be at a proper body weight and still be over fat. The truth is, we have become so obsessed with personal vanity in this culture that we have completely neglected our own health. Now we have people in their late teens and early twenties who are paying for their mistakes with sudden heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of heart disease. 

We have allowed thinness to become more important to us than our fitness

How did this happen?!

Well, according to the website Health For Life.com:
"Our modern life-styles are the reason for this modern day epidemic of heart disease. Too much animal food (meat, chicken, fish, dairy foods), too many refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white flour, white rice), too much oil (Omega 6 dominant), stress, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, obesity, inactivity and genetics, all are contributory factors. Having said that, the last factor, genetics, is the least important, believe it or not. Dr. Lamont Murdoch from the World Health Organization has stated: “Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger!”
It has been proven now scientifically, that heart disease is not only preventable, it is reversible!
"Forty years ago it was believed that heart disease was irreversible. Blocked arteries were (and still are) treated with drugs & surgery. Nathan Pritikin changed all that in the 1970′s. He reversed his own blocked arteries -- inoperable at the time -- with diet alone, no drugs or surgery. Other medical doctors have conclusively proven that most arterial heart disease is preventable and reversible if correct dietary principles are followed."
So now that you have all the information, what can you do to prevent this from happening to you and your family?

I recommend that everybody should, at least once every year, get their body fat percentages measured by a personal trainer, nutritionist or dietician. You can find one at almost every gym and health club in the country. If you are a member, there is a chance they might administer the test free of charge. If they do charge a fee, it most likely will be small. If you are strapped for cash or do not have access to a fitness center, you can use websites like these to measure yourself at home and get an estimate of what your body fat percentage is.

Below is a chart that compares body fat percentages between men and women and explains what they mean in relation to your current lifestyle.

Body Fat Percentage Categories

Classification  Women (% fat)Men (% fat)
Essential Fat  10-12%2-4%
Athletes  14-20%6-13%
Fitness  21-24%14-17%
Acceptable  25-31%18-25%
Obese  32%+25%+
 
Once you have figured out your body fat percentage, my advice would be to immediately evaluate and reassess your current exercise regimen, then figure out how to incorporate as much cardio and strength training into it as you can. The idea here is to focus your effort on not necessarily achieving an ideal "weight", but rather achieving an optimal balance between body fat and body weight.

The cardio will help increase your overall heart capacity, while the weight training will help build up excess muscle mass -- which is the very material that helps our bodies burn fat calories morning, noon and night! 

This last bit of advice comes from Dr. John Berardi and his work at Precision Nutrition. 
I swear by these habits and can vouch for their effectiveness.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs 
  1. Eat every 2-3 hours – this gives you a steady stream of nutrients throughout the day without over feeding.
  2. Include a lean source of complete protein every time you eat – it is easier to meet daily protein requirements for health (not to mention active adults trying to change their body composition) if you spread it out throughout the day.
  3. Eat fruit and/or vegetables with each feeding opportunity – this is the big empty spot in a typical North American diet.
  4. Include 'healthy' fats back into our diets – these would include oils from, mixed nuts, avocados, fish oils, flax seed, and omega-3's.
  5. Eat carbohydrates (those that aren't a fruit or vegetable) when you deserve them – this means your pasta, breads, rice, and potatoes should be eaten the meals following your intense workout. This is when your body is best equipped to utilize carbohydrates for promoting health.
  6. Zero calorie beverages like water and green tea – to make things simple: it is best we eat our calories rather than drink them.
  7. Eat whole foods whenever possible – this is referring to pre-packaged chemically preserved foods versus the fresh organic stuff; and real food vs. astronaut food (e.g. protein shakes, smoothies, bars, meal- replacement drinks etc…)
Now you have all the tools you need in order to win; take advantage of what you've just learned and do not delay! Remember that to truly succeed, you must first remove any false beliefs you have built up in your mind. Every day tell yourself that "I can" instead of "I can't".

If you take nothing else away from this article, then please remember this: will power alone will not be enough. You have to program your mind into believing that you are better off with these habits than without them.

Once you learn how to apply them to your own life, your body fat and body weight will balance out  naturally. All you have to do is take the first step...


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