The Art of (Food) War: Know Thy Fat Enemy
By Erik Steffens
Losing weight is like boxing. To be a great boxer you need more then physical training, you’ve got to know your opponent. If you were watching Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier fight, but heard Muhammed Ali knew nothing about his challenger, you’d find him foolish and less likely to succeed. Fat is your Frazier. If we know why it exists (besides something to shake on the dance floor) we increase our odds of holding the title. So…..LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!
Fat, carbohydrate, and protein are molecules that make up everything we eat. The bond holding two atoms together in a molecule are broken by our body’s chemical reactions, which releases energy to be used for whatever the body needs (ex: movement).
A calorie is the exact amount of energy used to raise water 1 degree centigrade. So something that is high in calories is actually high in energy. A calorie surplus is when you consume more calories in a day than you use for movement. That surplus is stored as fat.
“Why can’t the body just pump out all the excess and let me stay nice and skinny?” Our body is not interested in our appearance, just our survival. All molecules have polarity like a magnet and the polarity of proteins and carbohydrates attract water (Bread or meat in water expand….nasty examples, but true). Fat’s polarity repels water (ex: oil in water) which allows fat to fit in a smaller space because water cannot inflate the size (a helpful tool since the body is over 70% water). Simple Rule: less space, less waste.
Any excess carbohydrates and proteins not used each day, transform into fat molecules. 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates or protein equal 4 calories. This means to burn the weight of fat off your body you have to spend 2.25 times more energy!
“Okay, okay, okay, I get that I have to work harder but I really just want to get rid of the midsection, so if I do sit-ups the fat in that area goes away, right?” I’m sorry again, but our body knows an organ needs to survive over an appendage. Which is why fat is primarily stored in the abdominal region. If it becomes too cold and the body’s core temperature drops too low, our organs won’t have the right conditions to work and they’ll shut down (ex: when really cold, your toes and fingers go numb because your heated blood is being centralized in your chest to keep the organs running).
But when it comes to losing weight, our body does not remove in the same order because it is again protecting the most important parts. It takes a little bit from every part of the body as a precaution.
If more calories (energy) are used in a day than consumed that energy still came from somewhere. That place? Your wonderful fat reserves you’re trying to lose. (Ding, ding, ding) I think we’re ready to start the fight!
What you look like does not determine if you are smart, funny, loveable, sexy, or kind. Change only to make your life better.
Exercise Example: Next time at the gym do an hour in the “fat burning” mode on your machine and record the distance. Next time at the gym, manually go a couple miles further then the previous but still in an hour and see what your calorie count is. If we know all excess calories become fat, shouldn’t we burn the most to keep that from happening? Which one do you think it is?