Huffpost Canada Living ca
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jordan Cieciwa Headshot

So, Why Do We Have Body Fat?

Posted: Updated:
PINCHING STOMACH FAT
fotyma via Getty Images
Print

What is it with society's obsession with getting rid of fat? Books, supplements, and countless TV shows are aimed at one topic, getting rid of fat.

What's wrong with having body fat? We scientifically know that some body fat is good. Not just some, we scientifically know the percentages that are safe and HEALTHY for men and women!

The percentages below are from the American Council on Exercise

Women
Essential fat 10-13 per cent
Athletes 14-20 per cent
Fitness 21-24 per cent
Average 25-31 per cent
Obese 32 per cent

Men
Essential fat 2-5 per cent
Athletes 6-13 per cent
Fitness 14-17 per cent
Average 18-24 per cent
Obese 25 per cent +

What we see in advertisements, and magazine covers are people who have two unique talents, and not much more than the lower number on the essential fat range.

1) They know how to use food and exercise to remove body fat. They can supply just the right amount of nutrients to fuel a workout, but it is at the cost of nutrient density and health related benefits of certain foods. Cut out health benefits for the sake of fat reduction.

2) They are extremely dedicated. Most fitness competitors and athletes have a mental toughness few of us can imagine. To battle cravings daily is something most of us wouldn't ever do. Imagine no daily latte, food that is measured, if the measured food isn't enough you wait till the next scheduled meal, and under no circumstance to you stray from your diet, not at parties, work events or tough life experiences.

Those two unique talents produce a physique that is visually appealing, but it is not necessarily "the picture of health".

First things first: Why do we have body fat?

There are certain fats the body can not manufacture on its own, these are called "essential fats". If a scientist refers to something as "essential" you can assume it's pretty important. To get those triglycerides, cholesterol and other fats the body needs, we go to our food. It's the reason that eating natural foods is imperative. Those foods provide fats that do a list of things in the body, my favourites, in no particular order are:

1) Acting as a signaling mechanism to active cells to do their job. Fats work on their own, or by binding with protein to ensure communication between cells. This is the basis for all hormonal functions.

2) Store energy for times of need. Yes carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel, but, in times of need fat is converted to energy the body can perform all it's vital functions.

3) Obviously, that layer of fat helps our body regulate it's temperature. It's a necessity to the body to have body fat in order to maintain our very essential 98 degrees. I don't know why we were created/designed to need to operate at a very small temperature window, but we were. Call it a flaw; call it what you want, but it is a scientific fact.

So eating, exercising, or living a lifestyle to remove all body fat so your Instagram selfies can be #OnFleek is counterproductive to staying alive as long as possible and avoiding the hospital. Yet, our marketing and social media geared towards mostly young women is weight loss driven.

Everyone has a body type, so some of us are going to be naturally skinny with the perfect features. You don't make it to Hollywood without some genetic gifts. Some of us are going to be that perfect athletic build, and people are going to want to take your photo because luck is on your side. Some of us are going to be big old country kids, and described as thick and big boned.

At the end of the day how you look doesn't matter. What matters are these three things:

1) That you go through your day continuously doing the next right thing.

2) That you are living to be healthy, maintaining your health to the best of your genetic ability, and enjoying your health to its max.

3) That you are having fun at every possible moment, going on every adventure possible, and making memories to share at the end of your long life.

I live in Manitoba, my goal is to work my way through every trail, lake, and scenic photo op on the Travel Manitoba website. You get just as many likes for a stunning sunset over a hidden lake as you do for a semi naked selfie #LegDay.

Let's understand our bodies. Let's take care of our bodies. Let's go on adventures. Let's show the next generation that we figured it out. We won't be an unhealthy generation on either side of the coin. We won't continue in towards an obesity epidemic that causes health problems, or lean towards "fitness obsessed" excluding lifesaving nutrients but looking sexy.

Let's find balance and enjoy our lives to their full potential. Join me online and in social media I'm always looking to engage with kind, like minded people. On twitter and Instagam @fitcityjordan or you can click on the youtube video below to get more healthy eating and exercise tips.

Thanks to Johanna Seier for lending her expertise on the video. Her book and total fitness plan "The Fit Girl Guide" is definitely worth the purchase

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook