It sounds like a popularity contest out of Mean Girls, but actually what it points to in its rather basic format is the fact that being overweight isn’t just a simple cause and solution type issue – there are lots of reasons for putting on weight at different times of our lives, and that’s before we even get to our varying metabolic rates and genetic make-up.
So what are the types they point to? Well, they start with Skinny Fat – characterised by a poor diet, healthy or low BMI, lack of muscle tone, a poor metabolic rate, and lots of visceral fat on internal organs (which obviously you can’t see). We’re talking to the skinny people who live on Haribo and fast food on this one.
The next option is of the Burn-Out variety – how many of us can identify with this? Think constant tiredness, interrupted sleep patterns, increased appetite and carb and sugar cravings. Finally, Stressed Fat – an inability to lose weight and an accumulation of fat around the tummy. Stress and weight gain seem to be inextricably linked for a lot of people because all hormones in the body work together as part of the endocrine system.
Want to take it a step further? Well, do you know whether you’re carrying brown fat or white fat? So brown fat is apparently a kind of fat that can actually burn calories and keep us healthy. Meanwhile white fats are silent killers—especially visceral white fat, which can lead to higher blood pressure, stroke, depression, diabetes and all manner of other unpleasant side effects.
In simple terms, although it’s always more complicated than this, Yahoo tells us that if you burn calories easily, have healthy blood sugar levels, and tend not to gain weight in winter you probably have more brown fat. If you gain or lose weight easily through exercise you have what’s uninspiringly termed ‘beige fat’ – a combination of the two.
If you have extra bits to grab hold of, then you may have more subcutaneous white fat, which lies beneath the surface of the skin and is responsible for the infamous ‘muffin top’ – although the same article assures that that’s not necessarily a bad thing and that at this point, particularly if it hovers mostly around the hips and thighs.
So now that you have a new perspective of your body that no doubt makes you feel a little bit like a Christmas turkey, the only thing we can really deduce from all that info is that clearly what triggers weight gain is different for everyone, and the cause will impact how you address it.
So it’s not simply a case of upping your intake of carrot sticks, it’s actually more complicated than that. In fact, the answer seems to be in (shock of all shocks) listening to your body and (heaven forbid) even being kind to it!
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