Hello darlings! Today I want to talk to you about body fat. We all have it, we all need it, but most of us want to get rid of it or at least some of it. Body fat is essential to maintain life and reproductive systems however we live in a day and age where body image is constantly under scrutiny, where a lot of the population is overweight and where body ideals are set to unrealistic standards. This post is not about making you look a certain way. I don’t give a S**t about how you look- I want you to strive to be healthy, fit and strong. So how much fat should we have exactly and how do we know if we are a healthy weight?
Here are my 5 tips on shedding fat and getting fit.
*DISCLAIMER- Here on my blog, I do not promote a specific body image AT ALL. I promote health first and foremost. I believe in being strong, taking care of your body and promoting body confidence and happiness. When you are healthy it has a big impact on how you feel, so ultimately health is the message I want to promote. This is not going to tell you how to get a flat stomach or slim thighs, because that is not who I am and not what I care about. If you want to be healthy and strong, Im your girl.*
Tip One- Smash Those Scales In To Tiny Pieces!
My first tip is to throw away your weighing scales(unless they have a body fat percentage calculator but more on that in the next tip). Smash them, burn them, I do not care. Just get rid of them. Tracking weight and BMI are not great tools to measure progress, because as body composition changes, the scale may not, leading to feelings of failure and poor body image. Dave Quevedo, a NASM-certified personal trainer in Hoboken, New Jersey says-“Both weight and BMI never take into account body composition, often making an active woman seem overweight – but an active woman has more muscle and less body fat than a sedentary woman.” I do not believe in weighing yourself at all. As someone who has had issues with body image and food in the past, I think it is setting you up for failure and it does nothing for your self esteem. It isn’t even that good at determining health either. “Skinny-Fat” is a thing and simply appearing slim does not equate to health by any means. Never strive for skinny, strive to be strong.
Tip Two- Find Out Your Body Fat Percentage
A good way to figure out a rough guideline of how much body fat you should have is to work out your body fat percentage. The best way to do this is to see a GP for ultimate accuracy or pay to have a Caliper Test done, but there are online calculators that can give a rough estimate as can body fat percentage scales. Body fat percentage will differ for a variety of reasons but a good guideline for women to follow to be considered healthy is:
- Top athletes: 15 to 20%
- Fit women: 21 to 24%
- Healthy/acceptable: 25 to 32%
- Overweight: 33% plus
I personally fall in to the healthy category right now at 25%, but I would really like to get in to the “fit” category. I have no aspirations of becoming a top athlete, so for me, being fit is good enough. In fact, being healthy is good enough but I would like to be as fit and strong as possible and if I am completely honest, I am not yet at the health standard I want to be at. I love my body and I love how I look but I would really like to be able to lift more, run further and be as healthy as I possibly can. I am still on my fitness and health journey but I have come a long way already!
Tip Three- Look Beyond Numbers
Whilst body fat is a good indicator, how you feel and how your body is reacting is a fantastic way to measure health. Ask yourself these two questions-
- How much energy do I have?– When you wake up and you feel sluggish and want to roll back to sleep every single day, it could be more than just needing to catch a few extra Z’s. When our body is not getting enough exercise and enough of the right fuels from food and water, we feel sluggish, run down and tired. Also, if you tire easily or generally are unfit, then something may be going on under the surface. If in doubt, always see a doctor or GP.
- What am I eating?- Its not rocket science. If you only eat junk food or if you are eating burgers and chips every day, then youre probably not in your best state of health. Start keeping a food journal and logging what exactly you eat and drink. It is possible to be really slim and still be unhealthy. Just going by how you look is not enough. Food is your fuel and natures best medicine and when you eat well, you feel a lot better and losing fat is a lot easier.
Tip Four- Stop The Excuses And Exercise
This one is my biggest weakness as I definitely do not exercise enough. I have just had major surgery so I am limited to short walks right now, but as soon as I am recovered I will be hitting the gym. The reality is, diet alone is not enough and you have to exercise and be active in order to be healthy. The wonderful thing about being human is realising the amazing things our bodies can do. We were not built to sit at a desk all day. If you want to lose fat and get fit, you need to work out. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym or spend any money at all either. Go for walks, join a club, ride a bike, swim! There are so many different forms of exercise.
Cut the excuses- Unless each hour of your 24 hour day is full up, then you probably have time to exercise. Even if it is just 10 minutes a day, it is 10 more minutes than the person sitting on their sofa. Turn that 10 minutes in to a HIIT workout and you’ve got yourself a really great session. If you are adamant that “you do not have the time”, try to just live as actively as possible. Walk instead of drive, involve your kids in exercise such as bike rides and swimming. There are so many ways to work out now that there are very little adequate excuses not to do it. Just get it done, you’ll feel better for it.
Tip Five- Stop Eating Crap, Stop Counting Calories/Points And Stop Dieting Full Stop.
My main diet tip will always be to not diet. I hate diets. The word diet makes me feel nauseous. Diets are temporary and normally set you up for failure or trap you in to permanently being “on a diet”, hence why you have to keep going back for weigh ins, progress checks and god knows what else. With a healthy lifestyle, there is no counting and no paying out extra money. You may lose weight following these plans and if that is your goal then so be it, but that is not what I am about. I do not believe in weight watchers, slimming world, juice plus or any other like these as a long term solution. I believe in a adopting a healthy overall lifestyle. To do this you need to form a habit. It is not going to be easy, but if you want this enough, you will do it. 21 days is all it takes. YOU CAN DO IT. 21 days of eating clean, working out regularly and you are pretty much there, I promise.
Personally, I am a vegetarian and I believe the plant based diet is the way to go ethically and physically, but I am not about pushing my views so I will say this- try and eat as much wholefoods, fruit and veg as possible and stop eating the crap. Artificial sugars, additives, sweeteners, fatty oils, too much animal products and dairy is not good for you AT ALL and just because something says “diet” on it, does not mean it is better for you. A lot of the time, diet products up the sugar and sweeteners and claim to be fat free. While the initial product is fat free, the sugar and sweeteners convert to fat in the body. So that zero calorie diet coke is pointless really.
Counting calories and points is a restrictive way to live. You will constantly be in the “Oh I can’t have that, I am trying to be good” mindset and the feeling of failure if you go over, only to try and “make up for it” next time. Just stop. When you are eating a balanced diet, you can have treats now and again. Balance is key. You will not put on weight or get sick if you are eating healthily 80% of the time. Also, when you cut out all the added sugars and other rubbish, you start to crave all of the good things and you find yourself naturally picking the healthier options. Habit is the key word. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Make conscious choices when picking what to eat and make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand. Staying hydrated is key also as thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Drink up, eat your veggies, do your squats and go get it because you’ve got this darling.
None of us are perfect. I am not perfect and my journey is not over yet. However, we can still try and be the best versions of ourselves as possible. Be healthy, be kind, be grateful. See you next time. xox