Many grotesque traditions have been practiced in the name of beauty, but when in the course of human history has the total absence of body fat been seen as beautiful until now? We are a fat-fearing nation, and this could possibly be the single greatest contributor to the current obesity epidemic.
Do you remember back in the 80s and 90s, all that fat-free food we thought would make us thin? I just couldn’t figure out why I had to work so HARD to stay thin. Staying thin was like a full-time job back then. In those early days of 'trying to stay slim craziness', I tried everything from plastering my bagels with only fat-free cream cheese, to munching processed, low-fat, crackers and breads, to cutting my chocolate craving with large amounts of Snackwells cookies (remember those?). I craved carbs enormously. This was when my food obsessions really took hold, and it would be many years before I realized why I felt like I was starving!
When I started eating healthy, processed foods naturally disappeared out of my diet. Avocados, virgin cold-pressed olive oil, and nuts and seeds—all fats—filled my menus. (We didn’t know about coconut oil yet, and I hadn’t learned about the health benefits of quality butter.) With all this fat in my diet, I just couldn’t figure out how I could be thinner than ever. I was so confused!
It wasn’t until years later that the research caught up to my experience. It is now known that healthy fat is necessary for keeping slim and vibrantly healthy! In a Harvard study of 101 men and women, researchers put half the group on a low-fat diet and half on a diet that included about 20 percent of calories from healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs. Great sources include nuts, avocados, olives, and safflower oil. Eighteen months later, the MUFA-eating group dropped 11 pounds, compared to their low-fat eating peers, who shed only six pounds – despite similar calorie consumption.
Did you know that your fat is actually a hormone-producing organ just like the thyroid, adrenal, and pancreas? It deserves a little love just like your heart, your brain, and those other vital organs we’re so careful about. What if our entire culture thought hearts were bad and served no purpose? And what if it did everything to get rid of them? Well, that’s how we treat our fat.
Maybe it’s time to start seeing fat in a new light. Our beloved fat protects us from the perils of famine and starvation. It has a purpose, and maybe that’s why it’s trying so hard to get us to notice it through an epidemic called obesity. Maybe obesity is here to wake us up to the truth about fat. After all, there is a time and season for everything under the sun. Once we stop madly trying to rid ourselves of fat, we can become curious about the message of its excess.
You see, our bodies are set up for survival, and our bodies’ intelligence causes us to hold onto fat. So, the next time you walk past that mirror, instead of giving in to the thoughts of disgust about the extra fat you see, consider thanking your body. It’s doing the amazingly intelligent job of storing fat for your survival! And then, think about thanking that hormone-producing fat for working so hard.
To understand more about how the body uses fat and why it keeps you thin, check out my article:
Fatman: The Forgotten Hero in the Battle of the Bulge
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