The Fat You Can’t See

I think we focus a lot of attention on how big a person is or how much excess fat they have because it is something we can clearly see with our eyes. You can tell if a person is small, medium, or big. They are differences we learn as children. Where the trouble starts is we have some notion that fat=bad health. This then leads to us seeing fat on another person and assuming they aren’t healthy. The even bigger issue with this is that the fat we can see with our eyes has almost nothing to do with a person’s general health.

So before I get into why that’s the case I need to define one term and tell you a bit about how it affects your body. This term is visceral adipose tissue. Visceral means deeply inward, so not at the surface but at the core, deep inside. Adipose means fat and tissue is all the stuff your body is made up of. So visceral adipose tissue is deep, inside fat. To clarify it more, it is the fat that is stored around our organs in our abdomens and belly. This fat is the fat that causes professionals to have concerns about your health. This is the fat that can have an impact on your general well being.

This fat is also not impacted by how much weight you lose or gain. I’ll repeat that. This fat is also not impacted by how much weight you lose or gain. Even if you are losing or gaining just fat you are not affecting your visceral adipose tissue. For instance, think about liposuction. In a liposuction procedure, they remove pounds of surface fat. If removing surface fat makes you healthier then wouldn’t a person have noticeable effects after having liposuction? Wouldn’t it be considered much more than a cosmetic procedure if doing it made you healthier? The answer here, that is admittedly hard to wrap your head around, is that removing surface fat does not largely impact your health. In fact, people who tend to be in the upper part of the normal range and little overweight are actually the healthiest.

As a person who is often judged by their size and has also judged others, I think it is important to take a step back and realize that a lot of those ideas we have aren’t real. Our goals should be to have bodies that feel good and can do the things we need and want them to do. What we look like is us just taking into account other people’s thought and opinions that may not even be close to being true. The only thing that should matter is who you are and how you feel and all of those things are up to you! I think that’s so empowering and I hope you do too!

 

Best,

Jessica Kapusta

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