What is it?
Essentially body fat is the fat in the body. We all have it and we all need it. When the body takes on food it stores it as fat and throughout the day your body uses it up! But..
If you don’t use all of your calories up..the fat stays there s ‘body fat’, It can be external or internal though, and that’s where the tricky stuff comes in. Body fat can be stored under the skin all over the body, this is the classic type of body fat, known as external fat. It can be seen with weight-gain quite quickly. The second type is internal fat that can be stored on any body type, but is the more serious of the two as it can add strain to the organs.
Firstly ‘body fat’ isn’t about how big you are, yes if you’re larger you potentially carry more body fat than a slimmer person. However, being ‘skinny’ doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy…
“skinny fat” – is often a term used for someone who has (internal fat). A high body-fat percentage but smaller figure, this usually happens to people with fast metabolisms and aren’t very active, they store their excess fat inside their bodies.
“Overweight or Obese”– This is the classic type of ‘fat’ (external fat), someone with a high percentage of body fat that carries it inside and outside of their body. However, being overweight or obese increases the risk of having internal fat too, as the body can only store so much fat under the dermis, it increasingly stores it inside of the body.
Men Vs Women.
As we know, men carry less fat. It’s in their genes to do so.
In a nutshell..their ability to break down fat is from the hunting lifestyles men used to have (we’re talking thousands of years ago) they needed to be able to break down the fat into engery quickly and efficiently to enable them to hunt better.
Women need to store a healthy level of fat to support a child, it’s tough work carrying a baby and our bodies are designed to do that, so yes. We do have to carry more fat on us, but that’s not to say we’re any less capable of doing what men do.
Muscle over mass.
Our bodies carry fat and muscle, so as you can see from this chart. The women with lower fat have more muscle showing, this is because there dermis fat has been used up and their muscle shows through. Even at 18% fat you can have a six pack, it just depends on your activities and how frequently you work on your abdominal muscles.
Note: Some people carry their weight in different places so bare that in mind if you think you may be carrying excess fat.
Find your own body fat percentage
I’ve included a chart from BuiltLean that gives you a rough idea of the healthy stats you should be looking at,obviously not all body types are the same but find the picture that looks most like your body and work from there.
If you want to be super accurate and precise you can use calipers, you can find them for £2-£8 but I’ve found some super thrifty Plastic Calipers for you, just 87p! You don’t need to work out your fat at all, if you think you have too much then just go out and do something about it, if you think you’re healthy then it’s all good. Just stay safe!
You’re aiming to be below 30% but not to worry if you’re over the guidelines, putting a healthy eating regime into place is super simple. I have some simple tips for introducing more veggies into your diet (reducing fat intake) or advice on focusing on a healthier lifestyle.
There’s a common misconception that body fat and genetics are linked, it’s not true. (sorry) The most explainable reason we have for weight similarities is that metabolisms can be linked along with eating habits we grow up with. Learning from our parents how to cook and what we enjoy eating means we’ll become comforted by foods of our childhood. ‘Comfort foods’.
Note: Bare in mind that sometimes the body fluctuates and bloats, so don’t be overly concerned with fluctuations, just stay healthy.
Kids body fat levels, where should they be?
Children’s fat levels differ, vastly as they’re all different and grow at different speeds. Their bodies digest food differently (metabolize differently) and as this is the case there isn’t much of a worry over children’s body fat percentages. They lose and gain weight quickly but remember, what they learn as a child sticks with them, so sticking to healthy and positive habits will encourage them to think about their health.
However, This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be concerned if you think your child is unhealthy, just re-think their diet and how active they are and make the best judgement for them.
Just remember, if you’re eating healthily and keeping active your body fat levels will be fine. They’re not something to stand by and measure yourself by, they’re just a guideline to help you when you first start your journey. If you know where you’re starting fat percentage is, you’ll know how far you’ve come.
Stay healthy! (Sorry, this was rushed, I’m still caring for my father at the moment- read more)