Since the original post on this topic is one of the most viewed posts on this blog, I decided to expand on the benefits of having low body fat.
Before I begin, let me remind you that I do not believe in adhering to specific body types. Overall, my goal with this article is to reach a specific audience that is trying to get lean or values having low body fat. It is not my intention to reinforce specific body standards or shame anybody.
By, “low body fat,” I mean low relative to the rest of society. Really, anything under 22% for women and anything under 16% for men could be considered, “low,” even though it is in the healthy/athletic range.
So let’s just jump into it.
Top 10 Benefits of Having Low Body Fat:
1. You feel like you’ve accomplished something special.
Let’s face it, getting and maintaining a lean body is not easy in modern society. Our bodies have evolved methods to store fat for survival, but the caloric sources which are most pleasing to the senses often lack in the vital nutrients to process those calories effectively. As a result, most food causes harm to the natural balance of the human organism.
Food is too hyperpalatable nowadays and it has been designed that way by multi-billion dollar corporations trying to sell you products. Even Girl Scouts is complicit. Ready to eat food and processed packaged foods are the main culprits because they are full of sugars, oils, and other chemical substances that stimulate the brain like a drug.
“The framework for understanding obesity is the notion that highly processed “hyperpalatable” foods have hijacked the reward centers in the brain thus impairing the decision-making process, similar to drugs of abuse. The major assumption is that biochemistry drives behavior. The sugar addiction theory bridges current gaps between food science and neuroscience, and between nutrition and psychology.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6234835/
If you can defeat sugar addiction, it’s like beating drug addiction. It’s not easy! But it’s worth it!
So if you are a person who has managed to decrease their body fat through healthy, nourishing foods, while resisting temptation to inflammatory vices, then that is a HUGE accomplishment and I commend you.
2. Disease prevention, anti-aging, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
When you are carrying a lot of extra body fat, the body must deal with excess immune response due to the fact that body fat is part of the hormone endocrine system and constantly releases inflammatory cytokines.
“Both adipocytes and macrophages within fat secrete numerous hormones and cytokines that may contribute to the characteristic pathophysiologic changes seen in the metabolic syndrome, and local inflammation within adipose tissue may be the sentinel event that causes systemic insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, two of the cardinal features of the metabolic syndrome.”https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/15/11/2792
All diseases are made worse by carrying excess body fat. It’s such a serious matter that excess body fat is in itself considered a disease.
The problem is that healing from this disease requires a person to really dig deep inside their soul whereby they must encounter and confront trauma from earlier on.
It is not just a matter of calories in vs. calories out even though that concept has worked for a lot of people when it comes to weight loss. Obesity is far more complicated than that. Even, “skinny-fat,” comes with its own range of issues. Remember, you can be skinny while also having a fatty liver — you can’t know a person’s health status just by looking on the outside.
3. You attract other people who are into self-improvement and you can build a community around supporting each other.
For me, fitness has been of upmost importance in my social development. When I started to really get interested in fitness, I ended up losing a lot of friends who didn’t appreciate the lifestyle and I still miss them at times. However, I gained communities of people who are deeply interested in performing well physically and who also wish to age gracefully.
I realize that health is something that we all have in common. I hope in the future some of my friends from the past come back into my life so that I can help them ward off disease and help them live longer, healthier lives to spend more time with family.
In my 10+ year career of helping people with health and fitness, I have developed relationships with many people including other coaches, clients, gym members, and even just random Uber drivers who wanted to get fit after driving all day.
There really are a lot of amazing people out there. You can find the non-toxic people that actually want to build you up because they know what it’s like to be down and they don’t wish that upon anyone.
4. You inspire others.
You know what’s hard? Eating fresh vegetables every day.
You know what inspires people? A person who eats fresh vegetables every day.
Yes, it can be done.
I’ll tell you what I love about eating fresh vegetables every day.
I love the feeling of being stronger and healthier than at times in my past. I love the feeling of waking up the next day and pushing my body to a new limit. I love not being sick or fatigued. I love how my joints hardly ache or how my mind stays clear.
I love the feeling of accomplishment that I get from just boiling some red chard, collard greens, or purple kale and eating it along with a healthy protein source like wild fish or pasture raised meat along with a yummy starch like red potatoes with red onions or white rice and curry.
All in all, I don’t base my behavior on attempting to inspire others, but I do believe that I can be a healthy role model by doing my own thing and allowing others into my life.
If you can live this lifestyle without shaming other people, then maybe you will help the people that you love the most. Maybe you will help a million souls.
Let me tell you that when you improve your body by becoming stronger and leaner, you will become more confident. There is something about both the process and the result that makes you feel more confident in your skin.
However, to experience greater self-esteem, you must also take care of yourself in the other domains of your life. That’s why you can have an amazingly beautiful body and still have low self-esteem if you aren’t living a purpose-driven life that involves self-validation.
If you have a great body and people notice, you can feel a sense of validation and it can make you feel confident walking into a room. But those feelings are temporary and fleeting.
Use your confidence to confront your fears. Approach the obstacle instead of avoiding it. Your self-esteem will grow with your confidence when you listen to your gut feelings and act on it.
6. You can hold people’s attention or get more attention.
Even though I don’t consider myself an extrovert, I can recognize the value of attention when doing work, giving presentations, or conveying a message. Attention is valuable — that’s why influencers are raking in the big bucks… because they grab your attention in an environment with lots of other stimuli.
I personally noticed a difference in the amount of attention that I commanded as an Orangetheory Fitness instructor when my body fat was lower. When I was between 9-11% body fat, I could hold people’s attention with less effort than when I was up to 15% body fat. I think it is just an instinctual thing.
The reason holding people’s attention is important in a group fitness environment is that it allows me to keep people focused on the workout instead of getting distracted or hurt.
I’m sure you can think of plenty of reasons why holding people’s attention is a valuable thing. If you think about it, holding an intimate partner’s attention is probably even more important.
7. It is good for lovers.
It is really nice to hug and hold a person that you love. When you are lean, they’ll get to feel your fit body on them and if they are lean, they will surely have the confidence to let you do that.
You can stand in front of a mirror and admire each other’s bodies in connection to one another without shame or fear. You can touch, kiss and explore so many wonderful, fascinating areas of the human body aside from the typical erogenous zones.
It can help keep some physical attraction alive in the relationship so that you can focus on developing other areas in your partnership.
You will be proud to have them by your side.
Feelings of closeness between lovers can manifest new life and realities.
8. Easier to get a job or advance in your career.
There are a lot of reasons why this is the case and it doesn’t all relate directly to internalized biases. There are practical reasons too.
- You’ll miss less work because you won’t get sick as much.
- You’ll be able to physically do more activities without getting worn out.
- You’ll fit into any of the work attire and look good.
- People are more likely to attribute positive personality traits to you.
- Clients are more likely to want to work with you.
- You’ll get invited to workout with people 🙂
9. You have more endurance and mobility, which equals freedom.
A lot of healthy people take for granted their mobility until they get injured and lose it.
When you are healthy and lean, you can walk around with fantastic stamina. I used to walk around 5+ miles per day at my leanest and I was easily maintaining 9% body fat from all the hills in Seattle.
Sometimes I would walk 2 miles home in the morning after coaching three session, then walk 3/4 miles to another studio from home, then 1 1/4 miles to a private gym to train and then 1 1/2 miles home again (with plenty of Seattl hills!)
I can tell you that even in rain or snow, I was seldom jealous of the people in cars because I had the freedom on my feet.
10. Social status.
I like to think that social status isn’t that important, but it really is especially if you’re trying to attract a high quality mate and live a healthy, secure lifestyle.
That’s why a lot of people invest into their bodies because it is one great way to elevate your social status. Even inexpensive clothes can look great on a fit body. By increasing your social status, it can provide more opportunities for you and your family.