My latest quick thoughts on losing fat
Most of us are familiar with some of the common, basic, ideas about fat; here’s a quick article summarizing some of those ideas, and some of the standard concepts of how to lose fat.
But, as with most things in the body, we’re starting to learn that there is much more to the story than the basics. The body always seems to operate on multiple levels,We’re starting to learn that there is much more to the story than the basics. The body always seems to operate on multiple levels. in a multi-layered, multi-functional, fractal method, that utilizes nonlinear, exponential mechanisms for maximum efficiency.
For example, we’re just starting to learn about the endocrine functions of our fat reserves (and how obesity can contribute to cancer, for instance). We are all used to thinking about fat as a place where our body stores excess energy, but our fat cells also seem to send out hormonal signals at different times, in different ways, and respond to changes in our environment by expressing different genes.
Exposure to cold as a stimulus seems to promote a change from white fat to brown fat. Brown fat is a metabolically active form of fat that actually burns energy on an ongoing basis, to provide the body with heat. This change from white fat brown fat is actually a change in genetic expression, and a conversion in the type of cell that we are only now beginning to understand.The benefit is obtained at the edges of our experience.
Similarly, exposure to periods of fasting, wherein we consume few or no calories, seems to promote the expression of a genetic or enzymatic pathway that increases our metabolism, or at least our potential metabolism, by facilitating our ability to break down our fat reserves and to use them as a source of energy. It also stimulates our anti-cancer immune functions by a process called “autophagy”, sort of a cellular clean-up mechanism, whereby damaged proteins are removed from the body; this only occurs if the body is stressed by lack of calories and thereby stimulated to scavenge for sources of raw materials.
A similar thought pattern might be applied to the significantly different response that we see in response to sprinting, rather than low-level jogging or cardio in its traditional form.
In continuation with the ‘anti-fragile’ idea framework, a lot of the benefit is obtained at the edges of our experience. We seem to be built to respond to edge cases; extreme effort, extreme rest, extreme caloric intake, extreme caloric deficit. The more time we spend in the middle, the less stimulus our bodies have available to use for growth, development, and health in general.
We might use our fat reserve as a place to store toxinsA new theory that I’ve come across recently also indicates that we might use our fat reserve as a place to store toxins that we build up. Because our fat storage is, as the name implies, a storage compartment, it is not very much in circulation with the rest of our bodies. This makes it a rather ideal place to store long-acting toxins in a way that prevents those toxins from doing damage to the rest of our bodies. Our bodies therefore might choose to pack on extra fat in response to being exposed to a higher load of certain toxins, it makes me wonder whether things like BPA plastic, or other types of plastic, triclosan, or other common modern environmental toxins may be stimulating, or contributing to the obesity epidemic.
This goes along with some other, older ideas, about the distribution of our fat. In particular, women, might need a certain kilogram amount of omega-3 (as DHA). If she is taking in a ratio of omega-6:omega-3 that is too high, her body might feel compelled to store an excessive amount of fat just in order to “meet its quota” of omega-3.Her body might feel compelled to store an excessive amount of fat just to “meet its quota” of omega-3
Of course, it’s all more complicated than that, but these are a few of the things I’ve been thinking about lately.