That final chunk of belly fat – it just doesn’t go away. You are trying hard to fit into that high-waist skinny jeans, and you have tried hundreds of crunches and a few fad diets. Not working, isn’t it? Did you know that a man can survive even with 2 or 3 percent of body fat while women need at LEAST 10-12 percent of the same even to survive? So, it is time you stopped trying to “fit” into something. Instead, read on to know why a little bit of that belly fat of yours is necessary and what happens if your body fat percentage falls too low.
1. Irregular Menstrual Cycles And Fertility Issues
Women, as I said, have higher fat percent than men, and the pattern of distribution also varies between the two genders (1). It is said that the hormone estrogen is responsible for the distribution of fat and this is also one of the reasons why women tend to accumulate some fat around the waistline during the peri-menopausal phase (due to diminishing estrogen levels.) However, note that staggeringly low percentage of belly fat, or body fat in general, causes amenorrhea – irregular menstrual cycles (2). In some women, low body fat percentage causes anovulatory cycles where there is no production of eggs although the menstrual cycles are regular.
2. Difficulty During Pregnancy
If you are too underweight with the alarmingly low amount of body fat, you are already facing the risk of infertility. An added problem would be your inability to manage a growing fetus inside your body. While 18% of body fat is necessary for you to regularize your periods, to be able to conceive, you need at least 25-35% fat (3). With low fat in your body carrying a fetus will be difficult anyway. What is worse is your baby will face metabolic disorders like developing an insulin resistance later in life.
3. Increased Risk Of Osteoporosis
A good amount of body fat is necessary not only in the reproductive phase of a woman’s life but also after the menopause. Women face issues with bone density post menopause. Low body fat can lead to osteoporosis in menopausal women (4). Again, one of the factors that poses a threat to healthy living is excessively low fat, more so in women. All you women trying to reduce flab in all possible places should realize why too small waistline is not a very good idea no matter what your age is.
4. Reduced Stamina
Another reason you should stop obsessing over reducing fat in all parts of your body is that you will end up feeling fatigued most of the time. Fat is an essential source of energy in our bodies. If we deplete these resources to such levels, your stamina and energy levels are all going to come crashing down. You will find it difficult to focus on your tasks not only because of physical fatigue but also psychological fatigue.
5. You Will Lose Muscle
Worse still, your body will start breaking down muscle because there’s no fat to derive energy from. Ultimately, if you have started on this fat-losing spree because of fitness reasons, then the whole purpose is lost if you are allowing your body to use up all the muscle for energy. Your body goes into a ‘survival mode’ when you deprive it of the fat resources.
6. Your Body Will Be Vitamin Deficient
You might be consuming the best of foods that are packed with all the vitamins and minerals, but you could face a vitamin deficiency. This is because vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins which mean that there should be a specific amount of fat in your body for absorption of these vitamins. This deficiency can lead to multiple complications like improper blood clotting, brain functioning, vision, and more importantly a disrupted well-being.
In most cases, that flab on the abdomen that bothers you is the subcutaneous fat which is less harmful than the chunks of fat accumulated around the organs which are called as the visceral fat. The subcutaneous fat serves many purposes like keeping your body warm and maintaining harmony in the functioning of organs and hence needn’t be looked at like it is a monster that’s stopping you from reaching your weight loss goals. It, in fact, is that ‘necessary evil’ that you shouldn’t think of getting rid of.
What is your goal? To fit into the skinny jeans at the cost of your health or to remain healthy at the expense of donating your skinny jeans off? I hope the latter. Woman, for once someone is saying let that fat just be. Leave the damn thing alone. So, how are you planning on recycling that pair of jeans? Comment below, let’s have some fun!
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