Why Am I Fat?
The question of obesity and the confusion of how we have literally grown as a society is nothing new.
Most of us own an automobile or some small engine equipment. When these vessels fail to start, the first thing often asked is “does it have gas”? Gasoline (fuel), oil and regular maintenance is what keeps these things running smoothly and efficiently. The wrong fuel can damage the engine, forcing us to repair or replace the item.
Your body is NO DIFFERENT.
Fad diets, supplementation and exercise claims are nothing new to this boom in body size and yet the more diets and products on the market, the bigger we get. Barring any real and diagnosed medical conditions, being overweight is a choice. It may not be a choice we made yesterday, but it is a much bigger choice we have made through many small choices along the way. For some, it may even be the consequence of those choices coming to a head.
Some people start as children consuming primary mealtime foods like boxed cereals, white or brown bread, margarine, processed sandwich meats, hamburger helpers, canned soups, frozen foods, crackers, macaroni and cheese, pizza, hamburgers, fries, chips and dip, fish sticks, ranch, ketchup, mayo and chicken nuggets. These foods are often complimented with sugar laden drinks such as Kool-aide, Gatorade, PowerAde, soda, juice drinks and fruit juice. Snacks often consist of cookies, donuts, kolaches, croissants and other pastries. Moreover, the only vegetable known to their palate is the canned green bean.
Parents pass down their childhood nutrition habits to their own kiddos, and the cycle continues and helps answer the question….why am I fat?
Basically, it is the combinations of foods you eat, the excuses you make and the timing of foods you consume.
What is body fat?
Before we can fully understand WHY I’m fat, we must understand what it is to be fat. Fat is NOT a number on the scale. It isn’t a BMI (don’t get me started on that overgeneralized fallacy). Fat is the polar opposite of lean muscle mass and to be honest, SKINNY people with little muscle mass and poor nutrition are termed as being “skinny fat”, which means they carry many of the same dangerous health concerns as those individuals who are “overweight fat”.
It basically means that despite my body weight, the amount of lean muscle mass and skeletal mass compared to fat mass, both inside and out, is seriously out of whack. Regardless of size, if my nutritional choices are poor and my activity level is low, I am at a high risk for significant health issues that can lead to loss of leg, stroke or even death.
In addition to this lean muscle mass ratio, it is important to note that FAT ON THE BELLY, WAIST, CHEST and ARMS is dangerous. Fat on the booty and legs, given its not significant and the amount of muscle mass is in a healthy range, is more in line with optimal fat. In fact, we need a LITTLE fat to keep us balanced and functioning, its just the “where the fat is located” that should give rise to concerns.
Why am I fat?
That is an easy question to answer, although some may attempt to argue with me. You are fat because of the FOOD COMBINATIONS you consume.
Simple Sugars plus High Fat foods plus low fiber foods equal a very BAD COMBINATION.
This combination of foods not only undermines your optimal health but contribute to obesity and belly/arm fat more than lack of exercise.
Simple sugars: These are basically ANYTHING, sugar-free or not, made from sugars and processed white or wheat flour, sugar, grains, corn. Pasta, rolls, tortillas, pastries, cookies, sugar-free cookies, soda (of any kind) candy, jello, syrups, rice, protein bars, milk, fruit juices, corn (popped corn, table corn, corn tortilla, etc), tomatoes, potatoes, sauces that contain sugar or flour, healthy foods that substitute flour or sugar products for fat or sugar, and basically anything that raises your blood sugar rapidly.
High fat: This can be anything animal based such as eggs, salmon, steak, pork, dark meat poultry, butter, margarine, olive oil, coconut oil, trans fats, ranch, milk, yogurt, bacon, avocado and any other food that has a high fat content.
Low fiber: Since fiber is part of vegetable, fruit and grains in their WHOLE FRESH state, it is safe to say that any means of processing these three items would yield LOW FIBER. Fruit juice, white or wheat bread, white potato, processed or boxed cereals and white pasta are some common offenders. You should be eating more that 25g of fiber EACH DAY, with men working towards a fiber rich diet of 38g or more a day.
Examples of poor combinations:
Steak, baked potato with cheese and bacon and a side salad with ranch dressing and croutons (sugars, high fat and low fiber).
Stir fry rice
Bacon, eggs and toast or roll
Bowl of cereal
Chicken Alfredo and breadsticks
Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich
Burger and fries
Popcorn with butter and a soda (anything with a soda)
Fajitas with corn chips, salsa, and flour tortillas
Examples of good combinations:
Grass-fed steak and baked sweet potato plain
Wild rice with egg white and vegetables stir fried
Bowl of whole oatmeal made with water and sweetened with raspberries
Zucchini noodles topped with organic sugar free tomato sauce
Baked chicken salad
Fish tacos with Ezekiel tortillas
Turkey sausage on Portobello mushroom cap
Bunless turkey burger with triple veggies, pineapple, avocado and no cheese
Plain organic popcorn, no butter and unsweet ice tea
Mixed fajitas with double guacamole and pico on top eaten from the sizzling platter
Those are simply a handful of combination examples that can make or break your health and help predispose you to a life of vibrancy or a life of metabolic issues and obesity.
Following food combinations, excuses are the number 2 reason why you are fat.
“I don’t like this” or “I don’t have time” are two very common excuses seen in behavioral patterns of the overweight, whether metabolically fat or outwardly and metabolically fat. Being picky is really a choice in that your taste buds themselves regenerate every 7-14 days, making the “I don’t like” theory totally impractical. People are frightened of change and trying new things. FEAR prevents change and creates excuse. “I’ll wait until the family reunion is over”, “my wedding is in a few months”, “we are remodeling and don’t have time for healthy eating”, “I don’t have any good recipes or don’t know how to cook”…we would rather stay comfortable in our own skin, no matter HOW MUCH we say we desire change, instead of making adjustments that would enable us to be healthier.
The finale is timing of foods, or better stated what foods we eat when and how often. Even if you opt for a simple sugar food, timing and frequency of that food is very important. You don’t want to consume a whole cheese meat lover’s pizza at 10pm, and certainly not on days where you do NO activity.
An occasional indulgence in a grilled cheese sandwich or a breakfast taco is not a deal killer, given that 90% of the rest of your meals are nutritionally and combinationally sound.
Ice-cream is one of the worst foods due to its simple sugar, high fat and zero fiber composition. However, once a year, a good ice cream cone is not considered potentially dangerous unless of course, you are diabetic or the rests of your nutritional consumption consists of simple sugars, high fats and low fiber. Another poor food is the peanut butter and jelly or honey sandwich…bet that staple was a shocker.
Furthermore, eating the right combination of foods relative to YOUR ACTIVITY is essential. On days where you do significantly intense exercise and heavy strength training, you need to indulge in complex starchy carbs and whole fruits before and following your workout to replenish the energy stores you depleted. High sugar items such as Gatorade or powder mixes should be avoided. Eat nutritionally sound and whole foods prepared to your tastebuds.
On days you do not exercise or do light exercise such as walking, stick to NO carbs, and eat lean proteins and HEALTHY fats (salmon, avocado, a little olive oil, nuts, etc). Stay away from fruits and starchy carbs like Ezekiel breads and sweet potatoes.
The bottom line here is to enjoy LOW GLYCEMIC, or COMPLEX CARBS which are foods like oatmeal or Ezekiel bread on intense training days and the vegetable carbs on active recovery or rest days. All days should consume lean proteins. If you MUST indulge in simple carbs, do so in the ABSENCE OF FAT (and yes, steak has fat).
Most of all……think before you eat.