Although fat has received very negative connotations for being associated with weight gain, unsightly cellulite, chronic diseases and “unattractive” physique, some fat is essential for human survival. There exist three types of fat in the human body, two of which are essential to sustaining life with the third consisting of the “bad fat” which we struggle to lose. Dr. A.T.W. Simeons, who studied fat for many years, does an excellent job of describing these and so I have chosen to use his descriptions:
“The first is the structural fat which fills the gaps between various organs, a sort of packing material. Structural fat also performs such important functions as bedding the kidneys in soft elastic tissue, protecting the coronary arteries and keeping the skin smooth and taut. It also provides the springy cushion of hard fat under the bones of the feet, without which we would be unable to walk.”
“The second type of fat is a normal reserve of fuel upon which the body can freely draw when the nutritional income from the intestinal tract is insufficient to meet the demand. Such normal reserves are localized all over the body. Fat is a substance which packs the highest caloric value into the smallest space so that normal reserves of fuel for muscular activity and the maintenance of body temperature can be most economically stored in this form. Both these types of fat, structural and reserve, are normal, and even if the body stocks them to capacity this can never be called obesity.
“But there is a third type of fat which is entirely abnormal. It is the accumulation of such fat, and of such fat only, from which the overweight patient suffers. This abnormal fat is also a potential reserve of fuel, but unlike the normal reserves it is not available to the body in a nutritional emergency. It is, so to speak, locked away in a fixed deposit and is not kept in a current account, as are the normal reserves.”
“When an obese patient tries to reduce weight by starving himself, he will first lose his normal fat reserves. When these are exhausted he begins to burn up structural fat, and only as a last resort will the body yield its abnormal reserves, though by that time the patient usually feels so weak and hungry that the diet is abandoned. It is just for this reason that obese patients complain that when they diet they lose the wrong fat. They feel famished and tired and their face becomes drawn and haggard, but their belly, hips, thighs and upper arms show little improvement. The fat they have come to detest stays on and the fat they need to cover their bones gets less and less. Their skin wrinkles and they look old and miserable. And that is one of the most frustrating and depressing experiences a human being can have”.
Fortunately, there are ways to lose the abnormal fat without starvation and its negative side effects. Dont worry, we are not about to proclaim grueling exercise from the mountaintops. Exercise is important, but if you dont address the core issues causing your fat problem, it will not yield results. Only a program specifically designed to adress your specific situation will provide a high chance of success.