With a post like this, it could get super technical and confuse the hell out of you. So in a bid to actually provide you useful information, I will oversimplify what is really quite a complex and intricate process.
We need fat. We have visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, white fat, brown fat, beige fat! For the purpose of today, lets just call it Fat.
Adipose tissue (fat) is a hormonal organ. That's right, it is an organ. Not just something you want to get rid of. It should be metabolically active and plays a very important role in the body. I say 'should', because if you have excess fat stores, the process of storing them has increased the size of your fat cells, stressing the body and causing inflammation. This increase in size and inflammation causes a reduction on metabolic activity and is strongly linked to insulin resistance (high blood sugar and/or diabetes complications).
There is so much cool stuff that goes on in fat tissue. When it is healthy and not stressed by too much storage, it is super smart. It has some strong immune defending inhabitants and anti-inflammatory bodyguards (cytokines), high insulin sensitivity (gets sugar where it needs to go efficiently), smart fat handling capabilities and highly functioning cell battery packs (mitochondria). Adipose tissue also tells the brain you are full and to stop eating, via the hormone Leptin and it stores fat in itself, so as to protect us from accumulating dangerous liver fat and to preserve insulin sensitivity. When unhealthy, all of the above is disrupted, free radicals are produced, you don't feel full and the body is basically under chronic low level attack all day every day.
The good news is.....we can re-educate our fat cells. Send them back to school! How do we do this? By moving your body. YEP.
"Exercise is one of the most powerful behavioural strategies to improve metabolic function"
(Exercise and Estrogen make Fat Cells Fit - Vieira-Potter et al 2016)
*On a side note, oestrogen has the same role. It appears to enhance the health of your mitochondria and reduce inflammation, maintaining healthy fat tissue. This is why when oestrogen gets out of balance it can wreak havoc on fat deposition and metabolic functions (i.e menopause, contraception). Men do have oestrogen just not as much. Just as women have testosterone, just not as much. Men can experience oestrogen imbalance and experience weight gain, low libido, moobs etc. I'm getting off track here.
It doesn't need to be crazy marathon running goals or iron-man competitions or even 1hr in the gym every day. However if that's your bag then cool.
The crux of it is, you need to do it.
- Train for something (a 1 minute squat hold, 10 press ups, a 30 min powerwalking distance goal)
- Don't aim for holidays as goals! These are destination achievements and encourage short term decisions/actions , i.e strict eating and exercise you hate, that do not serve the real game of educating your body
- Focus on WHY you want to exercise and not what. I want to lose weight...but WHY? I want to feel less achey...but WHY? I want to have more energy...but WHY? (you get me?)
- If you don't know where to start get guidance. Leaving your success up to luck is a waste of time and demotivating. A professional has done years of learning that they can pass on to you in 1 consultation (ok maybe not all of it in 1 consult but you'll get some serious knowledge bombs from a good one in a hour!)
- WALKING IS EXERCISE - maybe not strolling but a good walking pace is a great place to start re-educating your fat
So lets collectively smarten up our fat tissue so it works for you and not against you.
Thanks for reading.
Let me know how you get on.
Until next time x