By Staff Reports
(DGIwire)– If you are reading this, then the answer is most likely yes. Most people take a look in the mirror or step on the bathroom scale and know the answer. Perhaps even your doctor or some other health professional has recommended that you should lose some weight. But is that really what you want to do?
No, this isn’t about your state of mind: Are you really ready to lose weight? That’s an entirely different question. If you are actually convinced that you need to do something, do you really want to lose weight?
The answer might seem obvious but it’s not. There is an important distinction you need to make before you get started because it may well determine whether you succeed or fail.
Weight is just a number on the scale. It is composed of your bones, organs, muscles, plenty of water which is known as lean body mass (LBM) and of course fat. It’s the extra fat you want to lose. You really need the LBM and want to preserve as much as possible. However, research and perhaps personal observation has consistently shown that the reduced number reflected on the scale is definitely not all due to fat loss.
“It’s very typical that the weight lost while dieting is a combination of LBM (the stuff you want to keep) and fat. Loss of lean body mass can be as high as 50 percent in some cases but generally is about 30 percent. Best case for most is that 7 of those lost 10 pounds is fat, worst case is 5 of each. That is why after seeing the scale number drop even 20 pounds most people look smaller and their clothes are looser but their appearance hasn’t really changed. They have just shrunk because their body composition has not improved,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.
Body composition is your ratio of LBM to fat. It can also be thought of as your power-to-weight ratio. The more LBM and the lower the fat the better you will look and feel. A man is considered obese when he has a body fat percentage greater than 25 percent and a woman when her body fat percentage exceeds 35 percent. For men, over 20 percent body fat is considered overweight, and over 25 percent body fat for women.
Keeping your body fat percentage in an acceptable range to avoid the many risk factors associated with excess weight is most important.
Of course we all want to look good too. For men, a healthy range is 8-16% and for women a range is 18-24%. Not all fat has to go. The amount of essential fat needed is 3–5% in men and 8–12% in women. Unfortunately, almost 70% of American adults age 20 years and up are overweight, including those who are obese.
Tom Griesel adds, “People don’t really have a weight problem, they have a fat storage problem. Fat storage is regulated mainly by the hormone insulin, which is released to control blood sugar levels. Most excess blood sugar is converted to fat and stored. A typical steady diet of sugar and concentrated carbohydrates, which are quickly converted to sugar after we eat them, makes getting rid of your excess fat very difficult which is a big reason why most diet attempts fail. Exercise won’t fix a poor diet either so it’s critical to be eating the kind of foods that will keep blood sugar levels naturally lower.”