When Fat Cells Lost Their Way

Long ago, at the dawn of human development, fat cells were honored members of the family of human cells.  In those days, fat cells were a rarity, being created only in the uncommon scenario in which the human host had food in abundance for a prolonged period and could splurge on extra helpings of whatever had been gathered by the tribe.

adipocytes_0It was understood, however, that the fat cells wouldn’t stick around for long.  When food became scarce again, as it inevitably did, the fat cells would promptly serve their important purpose and sacrifice themselves for the greater good, resolutely releasing their stores of energy, lipids, and vitamins, to help the human host and its other cells survive the lean times.  In the process, of course, the fat cells would vanish on the wings of the wind.  In short, fat cells manned one of the crucial lines of defense against death and starvation, and they were recognized for their service.

But over time, as homo sapiens thrived and multiplied and began to produce food in abundance, fat cells lost their way.  They looked around and noticed that there were more fat cells like them — in some cases, a lot more.  And none of them seemed to be doing much of anything, much less sacrificing themselves for the greater good.  Their mission for the human host became confused, and the overriding notion of noble selflessness that once motivated the fat cells was lost.

At that point, fat cells became some of the most stubborn and perverse cells in the human body, focused on hanging around at all costs and in the most visible, annoying places.  Fat cells gathered around the belly, under the arms, and in the posterior regions, holding meetings and recruiting other fat cells to their ignoble, selfish cause.  When the human host actually tried to shed a few of those fat cells for the greater good, the fat cells resisted with every pulpy, jiggling ounce of their being.  And if diets and exercise ultimately succeeded in knocking off a few fat cells, it was the stubborn fat cells girdling the waistline, or rear end, or upper arm that were the last to go.

Dieting and losing weight is all about getting the fat cells to remember their actual purpose, and to once again regain the self-respect and sense of self-sacrifice that they once had in days of yore.

Understanding The True Motivations Of “Stubborn Belly Fat”

The diet ads all speak of giving you “one weird trick” to defeat “stubborn belly fat.”  Have you ever noticed that belly fat is always — always — described as “stubborn”?  That’s because it is, in fact, stubborn.  It’s like the mule of your body, digging in its heels and unwilling to respond to your heartfelt pleas that it quickly exit the premises and leave you looking slim and slender, just like you did in college.

Sun Tzu, the author of The Art Of War, counseled military commanders to know their enemy and understand his motivation.  That same advice applies to those fat cells that have been jiggling around your midsection since 1985.  Why do those pigheaded bits of flab want so desperately to remain part of your body?  (Although it’s kind of flattering when you think of it in that way, isn’t it?)

In reality, the motivation of belly fat cells isn’t hard to understand.  They were created long ago, when you had an extra-large slice of cake at your college roommate’s wedding or drank 16 beers and ate an entire bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken while watching New Year’s Day bowl games, blissfully unaware that your slowing metabolism meant that those bad decisions would saddle you with apparently permanent waistline companions that would require you to buy roomier pairs of pants.  Those new cells really liked the spacious midsection area, were joined by friendly neighbors, sank down deep roots, and started a family.  Now their children and grandchildren are there, too, all living together as part of one big, happy, ever-growing, increasingly ponderous belly fat cell community.  No wonder they want to stay, forever!

Sure, there are Johnny-come-lately fat cells that also have moved into the neighborhood over the last few years.  During the first week of your weight-loss effort, when you are still sticking carefully to your diet and are highly motivated to hit the treadmill, those latecomers may decide to immediately hit the road — but those new kids on the block don’t have the same sense of long-term commitment as the original belly fat cells.  The pioneers are made of sturdier stuff.  They live in the most upscale areas, like Love Handles Lane and Breadbasket Boulevard, and they are going to stay in their comfortable lodgings until the  the sheriff comes to change the locks.  They will fight the eviction efforts of The Man with every fiber — or, more accurately, lipid — of their beings.

So you may as well face it:  those belly fat cells won’t leave without a fight.  Don’t blame them.  If you were in their position, living in familiar, safe surroundings, you would do exactly the same thing.  You’re just going to have to force them out.  Sun Tzu would say that if you’re trying to lose weight, you just need to prepare for a long, hard campaign.