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  • Nerissa Shea

I AM Fat vs I HAVE Fat

Updated: Aug 10


I AM fat vs I HAVE fat

Watch how you speak to yourself & choose your words carefully.


REPLACE – I am fat with I have fat and watch how things change.


How you speak to yourself matters.

Our perceptions of ourselves greatly dictate our actions regarding certain situations


I AM FAT – is FIXED. You ARE this. It has become your identity.

I HAVE FAT – is CHANGEABLE. Something can be done about it. It is not who you are.


Why do we store fat?


Fat is stored for energy & insulation and women, by nature, tend to store fat than men in order to potentially reproduce.


Before food became so readily available, it was an evolutionary advantage to have more fat stores. It meant you were probably going to live longer and have more energy for hunting, gathering, LIVING.

You had an advantage over your caveman pal who hasn’t eaten for a few days and was gagging for a bit of rabbit.


Fat stores are dependant on eating & activity behaviours.


So how much fat do we NEED?


Women – 12%

Men – 3%


People generalise fat but it is quite important to recognise the different sites of fat storage (from a health perspective)


It is not just the total amount of fat that matters. The TYPE of fat and where you store it impacts your health.


If the fat around your tummy is jiggle – it is probably subcutaneous fat (under the skin)

If it is hard and it is NOT ROCK-HARD ABS, it is probably visceral fat (within the abdominal cavity) and THIS is the dangerous one!

There is also intramuscular fat!


There are also different types of fat –


White adipose tissue: responsible for storing energy & also play a role in hormone function (Leptin, Insulin, Cortisone, Estrogen & Growth Hormone)


Brown Adipose Tissue: uses fatty acids to create heat. Babies have a lot of this type of fat to keep them warm. Adults, not so much…

Beige Fat: A mix of white & brown tissue.


Tip of the week: DON’T GET LIPOSUCTION

Having liposuction actually reduces your ability to store fat safely!


FAT LOSS/GAIN –


Think of a bath.


The water coming into the bath is the food & drink you are consuming & think of the plug as the energy you are expending (refer to my energy balance post for a more detailed explanation of what makes up our total daily energy expenditure)


To keep it simple. Our energy expenditure is made up of


1. Basal Metabolic Rate – Energy required to keep us alive.

2. NEAT – Energy required to carry out any form of activity that isn’t intentional exercise.

3. EAT – Energy required to carry out intentional Exercise

4. TEF – Energy required to break down food. Protein requiring the MOST.


If the plug of the bath can’t keep up with the rate of water entering the bath, the water overflows.


If your energy expenditure cannot keep up with your energy consumption, bobs your uncle, fat is gained.


Everyone has their own fat storage capacity, and this is determined by gender, ethnicity & genetics.


Along with the current pandemic (the dreaded C that shall not be named), we are also facing an equally destructive epidemic known as the obesity epidemic.


There are huge health implications of obesity.

Along with the general physical implications such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, etc., the mental, social, and spiritual implications are quite important to consider.


A huge topic in the media lately is: Can you be ‘fat’ but fit?

In order to fall into the category of ‘healthy obesity’ you need to have normal markers of metabolic health despite having a BMI over 30 or more.


Think – Rugby Players, good example.


Some people think fat loss is easy.

‘Eat less, move more’


But it is SO much more than this.


Along with environmental and social factors that are often overlooked, there are physiological drivers of food intake in our bodies!


The 3 in question:


1. Leptin – Adipose Tissue

2. Insulin - Pancreas

3. Ghrelin – Stomach


Insulin & Leptin help regulate bodyweight.

They can become ineffective in obese people.


When receptors become insensitive to these hormones, they no longer provide the usual feedback to the brain to say YOU DON’T NEED TO EAT ANYMORE or YOU NEED TO MOVE SOME MORE.


Leptin tells the brain the energy status of the body.

‘Yo brain, we are all good for food/energy stores, we don’t need to keep eating’


However, with leptin resistance your body is like: ‘yo brain, just keep eating, we need more food’. Even though it does not.


A healthy insulin response occurs after you eat a meal, insulin is released and this signals the tissues to take in glucose from the blood, the liver also reduces glucose production and hunger is reduced.

However, with insulin resistance, the cells are resistant to insulin and so do not respond in the same manner.


So, you may be told by many professionals in the field just eat less & move more, and essentially, yes, energy balance dominates everything when it comes to weight gain & loss but that doesn’t mean it is easy.





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