Some time ago I saw someone (a woman) posting on Facebook: I'm working out so hard, but there's still cellulite on my thighs! I hate it!
First of all, please don't hate yourself for your thighs because some cellulite on it. You can't hate yourself lean. Body fat is normal. Don't sweat it.
Being lean may be athletic and pretty and all that, but don't go crazy because of it.
85-98 per cent of women have cellulite. Yes, even the ones on the covers of health and fitness magazines have it. You have it, I have it, our sisters and girlfriends have it and also some men have it.
Doesn't it seem a little silly to desperately fight against it and hate yourself for having something as natural as some visible body fat on your thighs?
Why You Don't Want Too Low Body Fat
Fat is essential to our bodies. You don't need to be extremely lean to be healthy.
Here are some things that may happen if you diet and exercise yourself into too low body fat:
Your Energy is Low
If your body doesn't have enough fat layer, it doesn't have the reserve to use for protecting itself and and keep itself safe. Your body focuses on surviving, and that's all it has energy for. Your energy levels are super low and you end up being constantly exhausted.
You Can Mess Up Your Heart
Studies have shown that people who diet and train their body fat number super low (for example bodybuilders), put their hearts to a serious test. In one study, the resting heart rate of those people with extremely low body fat percentage dropped to as low as to 27 beats per minute, which is super low! Low resting heart rate may lead to dizziness, passing out and even abrupt loss in heart function.
You Are Cold All the Time
One important role of body fat is to keep the body temperature in check. If there's not enough of protecting layer, you are cold all the time.
You Are Hungry All the Time
Low body fat is usually achieved through extreme dieting. Extreme dieting often means being hungry… Believe me, I've been there.
When I was at my skinniest, I was definitely hungry all the time. Ironically, I didn't do much about it–I didn't eat like normal people would do if they're hungry, because low body fat was more important for me than anything else.
Now I can say that it's such a freedom not having to think about food all the time, because I'm actually eating satisfying meals and have more fat on my body too.
Your Workouts Suffer
Low energy, no power, no excitement about your workouts… That all means crappy performance. What's the point of working out if every training session sucks?
If your body has no fuel, it's hard to push yourself through a workout, no matter how strong your willpower is. Make sure you have some fat on your body if you want to crush your workouts.
Your Recovery Slows Down
If your body fat percentage is low, it usually means that your body in general has pretty limited sources of energy. For recovery, your body uses carbs that are stored in muscles and liver. But if you haven't fueled your body appropriately (=eaten enough), there's no way that there will be much energy stored. As a result, your recovery slows down big time.
Your Immune System Suffers
Super low body fat can really hurt your immune system. Low body fat often goes hand in hand with high cortisol levels. When your cortisol is continuously elevated, you're more prone to catch various infections and viruses.
You Are Stressed
For the same reason–because your cortisol levels are constantly high, you are stressed out. Plus, as already said, low body fat is usually a result of extreme dieting, which already in itself makes you cranky, moody and stressed.
You Lose Bone Density
If you don't have enough fat in your body, your bones weaken. That's because they lose their ability to absorb calcium and vitamin C.
Decreased bone density is very common in young women who diet like crazy. Having extremely low body fat can make them prone to low bone mineral density later as they age.
Your Hormones Go Out of Whack
Ladies, know that if you let your body fat level drop too low, your hormones get messed up so that it may going to affect your period and reproductive system. That's because the body is not able to produce a sufficient amount of sex hormones. That's another thing that I personally have experience with.
For men, low boy fat can lead to low testosterone levels. The body is stressed with keeping itself safe, so making hormones needed for reproduction is not its priority.
Oh, and if your testosterone levels are low, good luck with growing muscle…
You Are Brain-Foggy
You really need some dietary and body fat to stay clear-headed. That's another thing that I've experienced: It wasn't until I started eating fat and stopped focusing on losing body fat like it was my job that my brain fog finally dissipated. Being brain-foggy is one of the least fun things you can think of.
Or should I say, when you're brain-foggy, you're not able to think all that much at all.
Your Life Revolves Around Food and Fitness
I'm the first person to say: I know exactly how this feels.
Ugh, this was so annoying. I was so annoying.
My goal was to be skinny so I scheduled all my other life around food and fitness. I had all my meals planned out in detail, as were my workouts. There was pretty much no room in my life for anything else, or no mental space for other things that were not food and fitness.
Your Social Life Suffers
If low body fat is so important to you that you have no social life anymore, think if it's really worth it. Being consistent is really important if you want to lose fat, but there has to be room for your friends, family, fun get togethers and spontaneity. You shouldn't turn down all invitations and never go out because that doesn't go togehter with your plan to drop one more percent of bady fat.
Most of us want to be lean and athletic, but know that extremely low body fat and health are not synonyms. We need body fat to keep our bodies functioning properly and staying healthy, physically and mentally.[tweet_box design=”default”]Extremely low body fat and health are not synonyms.[/tweet_box]
Actually, a super lean body may not be an example of health at all, because there are a host of issues that people with very low level fat percentage may deal with. That's not to say that a very lean people cannot be healthy or that all lean people have those problems, but it's important to understand why pursuing a very low body fat percentage shouldn't be our goal in itself.