The recommended percentage for body fat for optimum health is between 20-29 percent for women and 15 to 19 percent for men. Women tend to store more fat for reproductive reasons. A low body fat doesn’t always mean that you are very healthy, it’s where the fat is placed on the body. Having a lot of body fat around your belly seriously increases your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. In general, low body fat cuts the risk of developing CVD. More info here.
Exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, helps the body utilise fats. Exercising a minimum of three times a week is recommended; twice at a high intensity and at least once at medium intensity. This can be achieved by exercising with a heart rate over 80%MHR for a short duration, as well as longer, but more steady state aerobic activity.
It is undoubtedly important to be fit during adulthood, as there is increasing evidence to suggest that the more corpulent you are as you age, the harder it is to lose body fat due to a decline in fat metabolism. More info here.
Benefits of Healthy Body Fat and Losing Weight
- Less excess body fat will help you reduce the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes.
- Cardiovascular health benefits.
- Metabolic health and appearance.
- Improved sports performance.
- You will motivate others to lose weight.
- Increased energy levels.
- Skin health is significantly improved.
- Can help with your brain health and memory.
- Improved mood and reduced feelings of depression.
- Relaxation and sleep quality is improved.
Weight Loss Tips
- Exercise everyday, this counts even if you walk to the shop to get your paper.
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, more the latter.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Prepare your kitchen with healthy food and don’t buy snacks that linger around the house.
- Build lean muscle to burn calories at rest.
- Choose low fat complete proteins to help with weight loss. Combine the protein with carbohydrates such as vegetables, salad, black rice, quinoa etc.
- Training at certain heart rates can aid fat loss and body composition change.
- Sleep helps your body recover from strenuous exercise, which subsequently helps you lose weight. I definitely recommend reading Matthew Walker: Why we sleep – if you are struggling with sleep.
- Sleep also affects fat metabolism. More info here.
- Focus on fat loss not weight loss, this is a huge psychological barrier that is a very important component.
Selected Weight Loss Articles
Long-term weight loss maintenance. Full article found at The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Why people gain weight as they get older. Article found at Science Daily.
Eating later in the day may be associated with obesity. More information available at Science Daily.
Inefficient fat metabolism a possible cause of overweight. Article found at Science Daily.
Timing meals late at night can cause weight gain and impair fat metabolism. Full article found at Science Daily.