Body Composition

General Wellness

The body is composed of water, protein, minerals, and fat. A two-component model of body composition divides the body into a fat component and fat-free component. Body fat is the most variable constituent of the body. The total amount of body fat consists of essential fat and storage fat. Fat in the marrow of bones, in the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, muscles, and lipid-rich tissues throughout the central nervous system is called essential fat, whereas fat that accumulates in adipose tissue is called storage fat. Essential fat is necessary for normal bodily functioning.

The essential fat of women is higher than that of men because it includes sex-characteristic fat related to child-bearing. Storage fat is located around internal organs (internal storage fat) and directly beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat). It provides bodily protection and serves as an insulator to conserve body heat. The relationship between subcutaneous fat and internal fat may not be the same for all individuals and may fluctuate during the life cycle. Lean body mass represents the weight of your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and internal organs. Lean body mass differs from fat-free mass. Since there is some essential fat in the marrow of your bones and internal organs, the lean body mass includes a small percentage of essential fat.

Being overweight is associated with increased incidence of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hormonal problems, and many others conditions. A common denominator in being overweight and all the above conditions is altered body composition. Usually, there is increased fat deposition and/or loss of muscle mass resulting in an increased fat-to-muscle ratio and often, increased weight. Having said that, do not have the illusion that weight alone gives accurate assessments of altered body composition. Even “normal” weight people may have high fat-to-muscle ratios and are not healthy. Your goal this year should not be just to lose weight because when most people lose weight, the majority of the loss is from muscle and some from fat. Make your goal to improve your body composition, lose fat and gain muscle. Start by determining your current body composition. Several methods exist such as the body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, skinfold thickness, and bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA).

In my clinic, we use a BIA machine because it is consistent, fast, and very safe. The BIA sends gentle electric signals through the body (different tissues and fluid affect the speed at which the signal travels) and the machine calculates body composition. Our BIA machine calculates body hydration, toxic buildup, mineral status, essential oil status, metabolic rate, cellular health, as well as fat and muscle percentages, and BMI (body mass index). The key to altering one’s body composition favorably is to combine exercise with sensible nutrition. Either one of these on its own is not nearly as effective. Their synergy, plus your dedication will give spectacular results. The more muscle mass you have, the more metabolically active your body will become and you will burn more calories even when resting. Therefore, it is of utter importance for you to contact and to be assessed by a physician to design a program for weight loss, maintaining muscle mass, that would be best suited for you and to optimize your health.