Look, it’s just one weekend of binge-eating…alright, maybe a week. I’m stressed, I have 126 things to do. I really don’t have time for a run. Sure, I might get a bit of fat but it’ll be fine. I’ll lose it next week…
But what if I told you that you will never lose that fat?
That’s right. It’s true. Let me explain.
Adipocytes – otherwise known as “fat cells” – is the stuff under your skin that keeps you warm, stores your energy and makes you look fat. There are two types of adipocytes – brown and white. The brown fat cells are the good guys. They are produced when you are cold and make up a tiny portion of your overall weight. The white fat cells on the other hand, make up 20-25% of your body weight as they store your energy. The average adult has around 25 – 30 billion adipocytes, while the average overweight adult has around 75 billion. In men, they are typically found in the abdomen, chest and buttocks and women, in the breasts, hips, waist and buttocks.
When you “get fat”, your adipocytes are doing two things.
First, they are expanding. Think of an adipocyte as a balloon. A balloon that you are filling up with jelly. Lots and lots of jelly. This process is called “hypertrophy“.
Second, they are multiplying. There comes a point when you say: okay, this balloon has gotten too big and I can’t fit any more jelly in it. So you head down to your local supermarket and buy another pack of balloons. This is called “hyperplasia”. And the nasty thing about all of this, is the government has decided that you must keep every balloon you buy, you are not allowed to discard them or give them to your friends or pop them (they are magical un-poppable balloons anyway). Yep. That’s right. A fat cell, once created, will stay in your body FOREVER.
Okay, so you’re crying at this point. Yours Mars bars tossed aside. It’s all over. Cinderella will never dance again.
But wait! It might not be so bad! Even though fat cells stay in your body forever, they have a remarkable ability to “shrink”. When you “lose weight”, you are emptying out the jelly in your balloons and because these balloons are magical, they shrink. This process is known as “lipolysis“. Don’t even think about liposuction (cutting out your fat cells) because they will grow right back – seriously, how many times do I have to remind you that these are magical balloons? There is only one way to lose the fat and that’s to shrink your fat cells meaning exercise and watching what you put in your mouth. By exercising and eating healthy, your body is burning the stored energy in your adipocytes.
Now you know the science behind weight gain, stop cluttering your house with more balloons and start emptying them!