Common Misconceptions About Weight and Fat
For years, the measurement of being healthy and fit has been the image of having a lean and thin body. The media has conditioned the general population to think that when you’re thin, you are automatically healthy and do not need to stress over health problems.
People also have various misconceptions when it comes to weight loss and dealing with fat — here are some of them.
Myth #1: Being Thin Means That You’re Healthy
The absence of fat is not an entirely foolproof way to measure the health of a person, and the body composition of an individual does not imply that he or she is either healthy or fat.
This idea primarily came from the fact that people with a higher amount of fat in their bodies have insulin and leptin resistance. However, the measurement of both leptin and insulin resistance indicates whether someone is "metabolically fit."
The body is designed to work best when you're at your ideal weight, which actually varies from person to person. Nevertheless, overweight individuals have a higher chance of developing other degenerative diseases.
Myth #2: Find Out Your BMI to Know If You’re Healthy
The most popular way of measuring your body’s composition is what we call the body mass index (BMI). This method gauges the weight of an individual in proportional to his or her height. So it means that when a person is taller, it is more acceptable that he weighs heavier.
Although this may seem perfectly justifiable, the BMI is not a reliable measurement of your health. Weight is not entirely dependent on the fat composition of your body; however, this method implies that the majority of the weight of a person comes from fat.
It also means that people with a shorter height may be categorized as obese even if their weight comes from a higher percentage of muscle mass.
BMI is also an ineffective way of ascertaining whether a person is healthy because it does not take in consideration the presence of visceral fat (abdominal fat). This means that even if a person has a normal weight, he may still be susceptible to heart disease because of the presence of this type of fat.
One of the easiest ways to measure the fat composition of the body is through the measurement of the waistline. There are different indicators for men and women. Men who have 37 to 40 waistlines are overweight, while those who have above 40 are obese. For women, those who have 31.5 to 34.6 waistlines are overweight and those who have above 34.6 inches are obese.
This technique can also help measure the risk of contracting heart disease because visceral fat is closely related to it. Another method is what’s called hydrostatic weighing, where you are weighed while underwater. This measures the body's density and the fat percentage in your body.
Myth #3: A Person’s Metabolism Is Unchangeable
Your metabolism is your body’s ability to burn whatever you ingest, and one common misconception is that people’s metabolisms are permanent and are dependent on their genes.
But research found that the metabolism of an individual can be altered based on his or her weight and body composition. One study focused on the differences in the metabolism of a pair of twins. One of the twins had a higher amount of fat than the other. This showed that the first twin had a slower metabolism, which made it more difficult to burn fat.
Myth #4: Diet and Exercise Have the Same Effect on the Body
Exercise and diet go hand in hand in maintaining your health at an optimal level, but weight loss cannot be entirely dependent on your exercise routine. If you’re thinking about losing weight, controlling your diet actually plays a greater role in giving you a better chance of reaching your ideal weight. People usually believe that when they exercise, they burn whatever they ingest and in turn don’t need to control what they eat.
If you want to lose weight, the most effective way is to remove sugar from your diet. The high amount of fructose in your diet contributes to insulin resistance, obesity, elevated blood pressure and the depletion of vitamins and minerals. This also contributes to your risk of acquiring cancer, arthritis and other diseases.
Recommendations for Health and Weight Maintenance
Here are some additional tips if you want to keep your body at its peak condition without the risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases:
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Keep your diet focused on fresh, whole foods, organic and locally grown. At least one-third of your diet should be raw.
- Time Your Meals. Intermittent fasting, or strategically timing your meals, allows your body to shift from burning glycogen (sugar) to using your fat stores as fuel.
- Limit Sugar Intake. The high amount of sugar in your diet contributes to the depositing of fat. It also contributes to the higher amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is also known as “bad cholesterol.”
- Manage Stress. High amounts of stress in your life can cause you to gain weight because it triggers a wide array of cravings. These cravings usually focus on the carbohydrate-rich foods.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Sleep deprivation causes you to gain weight because it upsets the hormone balance in your body. It triggers a decrease in leptin, the hormone responsible in making you feel full, and an increase in ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry.
There are numerous misconceptions when it comes to weight gain and weight maintenance, and the ones above are just a few that you might have believed at some point in your lives. By being better educated about these facts, you’re paving the way to a better understanding of your own body and health.
For more information about using fat for fuel and your weight and health, read my latest book, Fat For Fuel, and this article “10 Things You May Not Know About Your Weight.”