To state the obvious, losing weight is not easy! For some individuals, it is nearly impossible, but reducing the percentage of body fat you have offers many health benefits, especially if you are overweight or suffer from obesity.
According to a study that was published in the journal Cell Metabolism, losing as little as 5% of your body weight is enough to reduce your total body fat percentage and improve your health. The worst kind of fat (visceral fat) that wraps around your organs and triggers a host of health issues is typically the first type of fat to go when you begin to shed a few pounds.
While there are various approaches to achieving weight loss, it is important that you choose to implement strategies that are effective, sustainable, and tailored to meet your unique needs.
In this article, we will look at ways to lower your body fat percentage and examine whether these strategies differ for men and women. Additionally, we will discuss some potential medical interventions and their role in helping individuals get a lower body fat percentage.
Understanding Body Fat Percentages And How They Affect Your Health
Body fat percentage refers to the proportion of fat tissue in the body compared to total body weight. While having too much body fat is unhealthy, having too little body fat can also pose health risks.
A sufficient amount of body fat is essential for your body to function properly, including hormone production, temperature regulation, and storing energy. It also acts as protection to keep our organs in place and trauma-free. Having excessively low levels of body fat can lead to several potential issues, including:
- Hormonal Imbalances: Having enough body fat is crucial for hormone production. A very low body fat percentage can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to irregular menstrual cycles in women, decreased fertility, and potential hormonal imbalances in both men and women;
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Body fat serves as an energy reserve and helps store fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K) in the body. If you do not have an adequate amount of body fat, it can limit your body’s ability to store and utilize these vitamins;
- Weakened Immune System: Low body fat levels can compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections, illnesses, and slower recovery times;
- Decreased Bone Density: Inadequate body fat can contribute to decreased bone mineral density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures;
- Body Temperature Regulation Issues: Body fat provides insulation and aids in maintaining body temperature. Insufficient body fat can compromise your body’s ability to regulate temperature, cause increased sensitivity to cold environments, and reduce your tolerance to temperature fluctuations;
- Reduced Energy Levels: Fat serves as a source of stored energy. When body fat levels are too low, you may experience decreased energy levels, fatigue, and difficulty performing physical activities.
Having a body fat percentage that is too high can lead to health issues such as type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer, liver disease, complications during pregnancy, hormone imbalance, and more.
The ideal body fat percentage varies by individual and depends on factors such as gender, age, genetics, and specific health conditions. Maintaining a healthy body fat range is crucial to your health and your overall well-being.
How To Lower Body Fat Percentages: Female vs Male
The basic strategies for lowering body fat percentages are similar for men and women; however, there are some inherent physiological differences that influence weight loss patterns between the genders. Any woman who has gone on a diet with a male partner will tell you how aggravating it is to watch her partner lose weight while the scale appears stuck for her, even though they are doing the same things.
Men generally have a higher muscle mass and a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR) due to higher testosterone levels, and women tend to have higher body fat percentages due to hormonal differences. Understanding these differences can help you set your expectations and plan your strategy for weight loss success.
3 Core Strategies To Get To A Lower Body Fat Percentage
Reducing body fat percentage involves a combination of losing fat while maintaining or gaining muscle mass. This can be achieved through implementing various strategies that include dietary changes, physical activity, and lifestyle modifications. Some strategies that are beneficial to help lower body fat percentages include:
- 1. Creating A Caloric Deficit
- Losing weight is the result of burning more calories each day than we take in. We gain calories each time we eat, and we lose calories through physical exercise and as part of our body’s normal functionality. Our bodies burn a certain number of calories while we are at rest, and individuals with higher amounts of muscle mass burn more calories at rest than those who have a higher body fat percentage.
To lose body fat, you must create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than your body uses each day or by burning off the excess calories. It is helpful to work with a professional who is trained in weight management to ensure you are creating your deficit in a healthy and safe way.
Extreme calorie restriction can compromise your health, zap your energy levels, and is not typically sustainable. Losing weight at a rate of one to two pounds a week is the recommended standard for long-term weight management success.
- 2. Adopting A Balanced and Nutrient-Dense Diet
- Both men and women can benefit from adopting a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. These are foods that provide vital elements your body needs and will keep you satisfied longer. Foods like whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid or significantly limit processed foods, sugary foods and beverages, and high-fat snacks. Your intake of calories should align with your individual needs and goals.
- 3. Participating In A Regular Exercise Routine
- Engaging in regular physical activity is key for lowering body fat percentage and should include a mix of cardiovascular exercises like aerobics or running and strength training exercises to build and maintain muscle mass. Individual goals may vary, but a good target is to get at least two and a half hours of moderately intense cardio per week, along with thirty minutes of strength training on at least two days of the week.
5 Key Steps For Starting A Weight Loss Plan To Lower Your Body Fat Percentage
- Step 1: Make a commitment to yourself
- Making the decision to take control of your weight is a big step. More than likely, there are reasons or circumstances that led you to make the decision to lower your body fat percentage. Take a moment to jot down the reasons why you have made the decision to lose weight. It could be as simple as wanting to improve your health or lower your risk for metabolic conditions, wanting to fit back into your favorite pair of jeans, or maybe you are preparing for a future event such as your daughter’s wedding day.
Whatever your motivations may be, write them down and let them inspire you during your weight loss journey because it will help solidify and provide inspiration behind your commitment. Display this list in an area where you can see it every day to serve as motivation and a reminder of why you want to lower your body fat percentage.
- Step 2: Assess your current situation
- During the first few days immediately following your decision to lose weight and lower your body fat percentage, keep track of everything you eat or drink. Many times we eat or gulp down a beverage without even paying attention to what we are doing, and we mindlessly begin to exceed our target for daily calorie intake. Keeping a food journal can highlight areas that need improvement as well as any routines or stresses that trigger unhealthy eating patterns.
Take an objective look at your lifestyle and identify potential obstacles to your weight loss attempts. For instance, it might be difficult for you to find time to exercise because of your work or travel schedule. You may have a hard time resisting unhealthy foods because you buy them for your kids or because you have coworkers who constantly provide them for the office. Consider what you can do to avoid these obstacles, such as removing unhealthy food choices from your home and gradually changing the types of snacks you make available to your children. Maybe take your own treats to the office that you enjoy but are lower in calories.
Consider working with a doctor to help you identify any underlying issues that may be inhibiting your weight loss attempts or to address a chronic illness or disability that should be monitored during your weight loss journey. Your doctor will also be able to refer you to other specialists for support if needed, such as a qualified dietician, exercise coordinator, mental health professional, etc.
- Step 3: Set Attainable Objectives
- Establish short- and long-term objectives and recognize your progress along the way. v Perhaps your long-term objectives are to reduce your high blood pressure and shed 40 pounds. A few short-term objectives could be to drink water instead of sweetened beverages, go for a brisk walk every night for fifteen minutes, or eat a healthy vegetable with dinner.
Effective goals are important for success. They should be specific and realistic, and you should only concentrate on a few at a time. A goal such as “I want to exercise more” is too vague, but “I will walk for 10 minutes every other day for the first week and then increase my time by 5 minutes each week for 4 weeks” is definite and achievable. Trying to meet unattainable objectives, like losing twenty pounds in just a few weeks, might cause discouragement and frustration.
It’s also important to remember that setbacks are a normal part of being realistic. When you do experience a setback, do not beat yourself up; instead, get yourself back on track immediately and consider strategies for avoiding similar setbacks in the future.
Everyone is unique, so the strategies that work for someone else may not necessarily be the best fit for you. You may need to try different strategies or activities until you find those that are most effective for you and your unique circumstances.
- Step 4: Set Up A Support System
- Losing weight is hard and requires determination, dedication, and perseverance. There are going to be days when you feel less than stellar and may be ready to give up. Having a support system in place is going to be an instrumental factor in your weight loss success. Support can come from many places and sources, such as loved ones, friends, online communities, your weight loss center team, in-person support groups, licensed professionals, etc. Finding others who share the same types of goals and objectives can help with encouragement and motivation, as well as provide a forum for learning strategies, recipes, or tips that have worked for others and can benefit you.
Some groups meet regularly in person to socialize and take part in a fun activity that burns calories and helps them meet their physical activity goals.
- Step 5: Monitor Your Progress
- It is important to track your progress constantly so you can see how far you’ve come and determine if you need to adjust anything. You can perform a review of your Step 3 objectives and celebrate your accomplishments, add or replace goals that you have achieved, and revise those that do not seem to be working.
Be proud of your accomplishments and make it a point to acknowledge when you reach a goal. Use an incentive that does not include food but entices you to persevere until you reach that goal. It could be an arrangement of flowers, that new book you have been wanting to read, or something new to wear. Rewarding yourself along the way helps motivate you to continue to work toward improving your health and reaching your weight loss goals.
Where Can I Get Help On How To Get A Lower Body Fat Percentage?
Working with a quality weight loss center and a team of expert professionals such as those at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center can make all the difference when attempting to reach your weight loss goals.
Most people who are attempting weight loss have struggled with their weight for a significant amount of time or have been unsuccessful in their previous weight loss attempts. Working with a doctor who is specifically trained in obesity management can provide many benefits that can help you reach your goals for weight loss and lower your body fat percentage.
At Weight Loss Center in New York, patients have access to an unprecedented level of support and the benefit of guidance from various professionals, including a dietician who can help them create a dietary plan that works for their unique circumstances. Other health professionals are also available to assist with exercise guidance, nutrition education, and even emotional support.
Non-surgical weight loss tools are also an option for those who need some extra help lowering their body fat percentage by losing weight. Endoscopic weight loss tools such as gastric balloons and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) are two tools that do not require surgery but can make a significant difference in an individual’s weight loss journey.
- Gastric balloons are temporary devices placed in an individual’s stomach to assist with portion control and create a feeling of fullness. A balloon-like medical device is placed inside the stomach to take up space, which reduces the number of calories they can consume.
- Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) Suture Sculpt is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces the stomach’s size using sutures. The procedure is completed from inside the stomach using a special medical device called an endoscope, so no incisions are necessary. Most people recover in about a week and can resume their regular schedule.
Both of these procedures assist with decreasing hunger pangs and promoting long-lasting satiety, which helps promote weight loss. Gastric balloons and ESG may be viable options for both men and women who haven’t achieved sufficient weight loss through traditional methods.
Another option to help lower your body fat percentage is prescription weight loss injections. These injections mimic the naturally occurring GLP-1 hormone and help suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and facilitate the breakdown of fat.
Lowering your body fat percentage requires a comprehensive approach that combines a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications. While strategies are generally similar for men and women, individual factors and preferences may influence the best approach for your circumstances. Contact Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center today to set up an appointment to learn how we can help you lose weight and assist you in lowering your body fat percentage to a healthy level.