Natasha Turner, ND
Everyone admires the supermodel who "never works out" and "eats everything" yet still manages to look fabulous. Some of us even strive for her looks by following a diet of lattes and lettuce. Whats surprising is that this beautiful, slim woman may actually have high body fat and the foundation for chronic disease.
Everyone admires the supermodel who “never works out” and “eats everything” yet still manages to look fabulous. Some of us even strive for her looks by following a diet of lattes and lettuce. What’s surprising is that this beautiful, slim woman may actually have high body fat and the foundation for chronic disease.
Don’t get caught up in appearances. There is a difference between being thin and being healthy, and it lies in body composition.
Maintain Lean Muscle
The ideal body composition–the ratio of lean muscle to fatty tissue in our bodies–is low in fat and high in lean muscle. We become unhealthy when our percentage of body fat is too high because of excess fat and because of muscle loss.
Muscle naturally declines with age unless we maintain it. Loss of muscle is linked to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Unsafe Dieting Causes Muscle Loss
Beyond normal aging, unsafe dieting that involves excessive caloric restriction (below 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day) can cause loss of muscle as well as fat. Compounding insufficient calories with loads of cardiovascular exercise promotes muscle loss and possibly a drop in metabolic rate. Knowing this, it is crucial to avoid harmful diet programs that result in loss of muscle.
Muscle is more dense than fat, an important fact to consider when stepping on the scale. If your weight loss plan includes weight-lifting or resistance training (as it should), your best incentive is to judge your progress by the fit and feel of your clothes rather than your weight.
Realize it’s not weight but your body composition that is important in assessing health. It’s like the old adage–it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Tips to Improve Body Composition