What You Need to Know About Body Fat

When it comes to trying to lose weight, we hear the turn “fat burning” tossed around quite a bit.  But, do you really know what fat is and what it means to “burn” it away?  In order to give yourself the best chance to melt away the fat, it is a good idea to learn more about what you are up against.  This way, you can develop a routine that is best suited to your goals.

The Genetics of Fat

The first thing you need to realize is that we are all born with a certain number of fat cells, though some people are born with more fat cells than others.  Unfortunately for women, they are born with more fat cells than men.

Although we are born with a certain number of fat cells, we can add more fat cells to our body if we do not follow a healthy diet or get enough exercise.  The average person who does not have a weight problem, for example, generally has anywhere from 25 to 30 billion fat cells.  A person who is severely obese, on the other hand, can have as many as 300 billion fat cells.  Each of these cells is responsible for storing fat, so they will actually grow larger if you are overweight in order to store more fat.  If you lose weight, these fat cells will actually shrink.

Burning Fat

Although the term “fat-burning” is thrown around on a regular basis, you aren’t actually burning fat when you lose weight.  Rather, the fat is released from the cell and moves into the bloodstream.  While in the bloodstream, the fat is a free fatty acid and gets used by tissues in the body in order to provide energy.  The fat cells, on the other hand, do not actually move or go away.  Rather, they stay under your skin and simply shrink as the fat is released from within the cell.  If you have included weight training in your exercise routine, the muscles that have formed beneath the fat will start to show as the fat layers are reduced.

Since fat is released from the fat cells so the body can use it for energy, it is important for you to monitor your caloric intake if you want to lose fat.  If you do not provide your body with enough calories to meet its energy needs, it will tap into the fat that is stored in your fat cells.  This doesn’t mean you should starve yourself, however, as this is unhealthy and will actually cause your body to store away more fat as it enters into “starvation mode.”  While in starvation mode, your body does everything it can to prepare for the possibility of not getting more food any time soon.  As a result, it stores away fat while also slowing down your metabolism – two things you definitely do not want your body to do when you are trying to lose weight.

So, if you want to get rid of the fat, the answer is simple:  eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise!