When you are born, the body fat is mainly ‘brown fat’. It is peculiar to babies. It produces massive amounts of heat and energy when the body burns it and is remarkably efficient in a chemical sense. That’s why a baby can stand exposure to low temperatures and remarkably, survive.
Sadly, life ain’t that good as you get older. You end up burning normal podgy yellow fat. It burns slower but produces less heat. It is stored in fat cells in all those embarrassing places we don’t want to show people. When you are young, you have a finite number of fat cells. They store a certain amount but can’t grow bigger than a specific amount. When they reach that size, they divide and you then have two fat cells. The number of cells it is possible to have in the end is therefore astronomical. Even if you lose your excess weight, the number of cells remains the same, so if you relax on the dietary side, you gain weight twice as fast.
The bottom line (excuse the pun), is: don’t put the weight on in the first place. If you already have, then you are going to have to be careful to control your intake for life. Sad but true. Maybe the best place to start is going to be to stick to three meals a day with nothing in between. Then reduce the portion size gradually so your stomach (not your waist) reduces in size. Appetite will slowly reduce. It has to be a change of life-style, not a yo-yo diet!
How can you maintain this sylph-like figure then, once you’ve got it? Well the answer is exercise. Not just to burn fat off, but to burn the calories you take in. Frequent small amounts of exercise will help raise your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories to provide energy). Body temperature may also increase a bit. I suppose it’s simple, eat less and exercise regularly. Stick to low-fat food.
‘I’ve got a pot but it’s not fat’ he said. ‘There’s only an inch of fat there.’
The layer of fat on the outside of your abdomen is sadly no indication of how much of it you have. The bowel is suspended on a membrane containing blood vessels, called the ‘mesentery’. As you put on weight, the mesentery becomes stuffed with all-new, shiny fat cells. There is also a double layer of membrane over the top called the omentum. This is an apron of fat inside the abdomen. It gains fat and fat cells before you start to put on weight on the outside. You can have a situation where the ‘mammy-tammy’ (as the Scots call it), is no indication of the plumpness inside.
Some think Plastic surgery is the answer. Ever heard of ‘liposuction’? A long sharp-ended tube is inserted through a stab wound and strong suction applied as the tube is advanced and withdrawn. It mulches and sucks away the fat. Yes, it reduces the number of fat cells in that area. It works for small, localised deposits of fat but is no answer for obesity. It produces a localised delve in the fat and looks like a hole under the skin. Really only useful for say localised fat over the hips.
An alternative is an apronectomy. After losing a lot of weight, the skin can sag and overhang, particularly on the abdomen. That excess can be amputated but it leaves a scar which some may find unsightly. Unless you’ve already lost a lot of weight, it won’t help you at all.
Much better is: yes, you guessed it, EXERCISE. Walking briskly for 40 minutes every day reduces you chance of dying from cardiovascular events (like heart attacks). Drinking two glasses (not more) of red wine per day decreases, you chance of death from any cause by 20 % according to one study. If you have a heart condition you have to tailor your exercise to your heart – ask your doctor first.
Well, as Forrest Gump would say, that’s all I have to say about that!