7 Truths About Losing Body Fat You Haven't Heard - The Living Well

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7 Truths About Losing Body Fat You Haven’t Heard

woman measuring waist with tape measure
Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

Losing body fat isn’t a secret, here are 7 truths you haven’t heard that will change how quickly you lose body fat. It’s easier than you know.

The first time I realized body fat was bad is stained in my memory forever. A timestamp that I can recall as if it happened yesterday. A defining moment that set the stage for years of trying to change the shape of my body by getting rid of body fat. In a way, I feared it believing that it was here to ruin my life.

Ironically, when I noticed body fat as bad in myself, I started to see others felt the exact same way. Growing up in the ’90s, nearly every woman was working on losing body fat. And in those days, it happened by eliminating any form of fat in their diet for fear that it was the culprit to body fat.

Even in the age of body acceptance, there is still a fascination with body fat, whether hating it or accepting it. And the story around fat and the way we revolve our health and lives around it has stayed the same. Creating a story around fat that makes it impossible to leave.

Today I want to change that story because we can’t just accept body fat and call that healthy, just like we can’t lose weight to get healthy. We have to understand body fat in a new way, regaining balance inside your body.

Losing Body Fat By Regaining Balance

There is a healthy level of body fat for all of us, not too much and not too little. Finding the perfect balance for your body comes from understanding how body fat works, so you know how to work with it instead of fight against it.

Here are seven thoughts about losing body fat you’ve probably heard and the truth behind them. Putting the truth back into body fat helping you to change your view of it. In the end, I hope that you can create a healthy and sustainable relationship with it.

1. Body Fat is stored energy

Yes, body fat is stored energy. You know that. But do you know why your body stores energy?

Understanding that can help you understand how to create balance. The truth is, energy is the determining factor of your messaging patterns because energy is a key factor in survival. I would argue, energy is the single most crucial factor inside the body. And how your body channels that energy changes the outcome of your body.

Channeling energy is different than calculating it. Calculating energy is the belief that if you consume less or burn more, you’ll lose body fat. But the reality is, this doesn’t always work because it’s not about how you control it, but your body’s survival response determines your level of body fat. A response that stems directly from whether energy is in abundance or scarcity.

If your body feels that energy is scarce, you’re working from an energy deficit, leading to a stress response triggering survival. Survival is the state where your body works to store, hoard, and conserve energy—bringing this all full circle to show you that when your body’s energy levels feel threatened, it works to preserve fat as stored energy. 

Reclaiming balance in body fat comes from reducing the survival response moving back into a state of thriving. The abundance of energy opens up your energy flow, allowing your body to release energy rather than store it. Your body doesn’t need to store energy if it trusts you have enough of it.

2. Body Fat is insulating

Body fat is an insulator helping protect your body from temperature fluctuations, which helps protect your energy flow. But more than just insulating your body from physical temperature, it helps regulate your emotional thermometer.

Body fat is also an insulator to electrical currents moving through your nervous system. A system that is constantly sending out electrical impulses that communicate with your brain and body. Unfortunately, painful emotions or negative frequency emotions tend to cause more fire inside your body, leading to inflammation and damage.

One way to prevent this is fat, which is an insulator to electrical currents.

We don’t often think of our emotions as connected to body fat, but perhaps this is the most significant connection. 

Body fat is so critical to protecting your body that every neuron has a protective layer of fat called a myelin sheath. This layer of fat works to direct the electrical impulses or messages your body is sending in the right direction and at the proper time.

With the right balance of electrical impulses, your body handles this well. However, too many negative impulses can damage the body. In response to this, your body builds excess body fat to negate the negative emotions.

Too many negative emotions trigger the body to build body fat.  

This concept helps us understand why you like to eat comforting foods when having a bad day. It also tends to be the leading reason why so many people have trouble losing excess body fat – because their body needs it to hold onto the stored emotions that are toxic without it.

This proves that reclaiming balance in body fat is not an act of diet and exercise. It comes from the release of stored emotions and toxic chemicals that are inside your system. A process that takes time and a safe environment to process through. Yes, health is mental more than it is physical.

3. Body fat is an organ system

Body fat isn’t just something you hate. It’s actually an organ system housing millions of cells, including the cell mitochondria and DNA. There is some debate on whether fat is an organ system of its own or considered part of the endocrine system. Either way, we know that body fat has a way of communicating with the body, working with it to create a homeostatic balance. 

If you haven’t picked up on it, your body is always working to achieve a state of balance. It does this by sending messaging patterns through hormones and other cells regulating hunger and fullness, emotional cues, and even targeting your immune system.

Body fat is responsible for protecting you. Most often, that’s protecting you from yourself. But honestly, body fat is working for you, not against you. And when you can start to understand that, you can respect it for what it’s done for you. Not in a way that accepts it, but in a way that works with it, creating a safe space for it to leave. 

The truth is, your body doesn’t hold onto what it doesn’t need. It’s way too efficient for that.

If you can prove to your body why you don’t need the extra weight hanging around, you can create space for it to go. Working with your body fat rather than fighting against it. 

Rebalancing body fat means owning the massive role fat has played in your life, creating a new respect for all the ways it protected you. In a way, you have to make a truce with it. Trusting that your body knows excess body fat is harmful, but whatever that fat is protecting you from is clearly more harmful than the fat itself. Meaning the answer to reducing body fat is not in beating it into submission but in understanding and creating safety and security inside your body so that it can leave. It’s mind work. 

4. Body fat and dietary fat are not the same thing

In the ’90s, people believed that eating fat made you fat. While dietary fat and body fat are similar, dietary fat does not always or often lead to body fat. In many cases, it may do the opposite. 

You can better understand this by going back to point one. Body fat is stored energy, where dietary fat is consumed energy. They appear similar, yet they are different based on what the body does with them. Just because you consume body fat doesn’t mean your body will use it in the same way.

The key to health is not what you consume but what your body does with what you consume. Ironically, consuming healthy fat is often a healthy reminder to the body, a safety net, reassuring the body that energy is not scarce, decreasing the need to store energy as body fat. 

Plus, dietary fat has over fifty functions inside the body, making it one of the most important nutrients the body needs to thrive. 

Stop grouping body fat and dietary fat in one category and shift your focus on using dietary fat to support your body, consuming plenty of healthy fat options in your diet. 

5. Body fat has a set point

I like to think of body fat similar to your metabolism. It works like a thermostat that regulates the level rather than a speedometer that you can accelerate or decelerate. Unfortunately, this means losing body fat the healthy way doesn’t happen quickly, but over time as your need for stored energy decreases. A decrease that happens when your body trusts you have plenty of energy to go around.

The amount of body fat you currently have is called the body fat setpoint. This setpoint is like the set temperature on your thermostat. No matter how much you take in or how little you take in, your body will work to meet the level of fat that it has deemed safe. 

If you want to change your set point, you have to work with all your body systems, lowering that set point or that temperature slowly. Lowering your set point happens by nourishing your body, decreasing the perceived energy threat. 

While it’s a slow process, it’s possible for all of us. In some cases, it comes with more work than others, especially if you’ve pushed it outside your set point more often than not. The more you’ve fought against it, the stronger the powers to hold you at this set point have become. 

So rather than fighting it, the way to achieve bodyweight balance is to work with it, pushing your body while nourishing it, creating a healthy balance called the energy pendulum.

6. Body fat is seasonal

There’s one more untruth that I want to break. That’s the idea that your body fat should forever and always be the same. Of course, we hate it when we have too much but lowering that doesn’t mean it should always stay low. Your body fat, like all things, is constantly ebbing and flowing. 

In fact, there are times throughout the year, your cycle, and the seasons of life when our body fat should change. This is the designed process of the body with hormonal shifts that coincide with these changes. Common shifts happen during adolescents, especially in females, when the body prepares for the birthing process.

Body fat will also change during and after birth. Other less talked about times are during late summer through fall when your body is more concerned about scarcity through the winter. It even changes as we age when our natural flow of energy decreases while our output often increases, creating a need for more stored energy. 

But just because it changes doesn’t mean it should change drastically.

Being at an unhealthy weight by having too much or too little fat is never the ideal spot for the body. Yet when you arrive at a healthy weight or as life changes, you have to stop obsessing about the change and start normalizing it. 

Your body fat should change within a healthy range, and it will, regardless of how much you work to prevent this. Remember, the best way to slow the swing of body fat is not to fight it but to understand it and help support your body’s needs. Because it only stores body fat when it feels like there is a need. Stop giving it a reason.  

Never forget, your body is for you. It’s constantly working to protect you, but its primary goal is to help you thrive. Thriving comes from creating a safe and healthy body fat set point that allows you the energy to live passionately and stay healthy along the way. Don’t fear the cycles but work with them, knowing there is a time to provide more energy and a time to burn more energy.

7. Body Fat is lost through your breath

Last but not least, contrary to popular belief, body fat doesn’t just melt off your body. You exhale it. I know it sounds crazy, but you lose weight through your breath. Research published in the British Medical Journal reveals that 22 pounds of fat turn into 18.5 pounds of carbon dioxide exhaled in your breath. The other 3.5 pounds is water excreted through your urine, tears, sweat, and other bodily fluids.

Of course, this makes sense when we understand that carbon dioxide is a by-product of many forms of energy production. When energy is channeled in a healthy supply, you can burn off the body fat. But when energy is threatened, it causes you to store fat by reducing and conserving energy.

It’s also no surprise that deep breathing helps the excretion of carbon dioxide, and deep breathing only happens in a relaxed state. This showcases the power of the stress response inside the body, conserving energy through shallow breathing, preventing body fat release.

The Truth in losing body fat

Clearly, regaining body fat balance happens through many things, but the most important is balance in energy flow. It’s always about energy and how your body is channeling energy, which starts by understanding where your energy levels fall. When you know how your body is channeling energy, you can learn how to change it. Creating a lifestyle of support that opens the body up to use body fat rather than store it. 

Learn how much energy your body has and what this means for your health by clicking here

In the end, health should be simple. Stop complicating body fat, making it the villain to your health problems. That story will only keep you stuck. You don’t have to apologize for your body fat or refuse to hide it. Know it exists as a protective mechanism, be proud of it and then remind it that it doesn’t have to keep protecting you. You’re here for it now. 

And yes, we just had a conversation with body fat. 


Want to learn how to support your energy, so your body doesn’t feel threatened by it? A program that takes into account not just your body but your mind and soul – a course designed to make health so simple it almost feels like you’re cheating.

Click here to make health simple


  1. Amy says:

    Wow. I really had never heard any of this. This is such good information. Because I have been so stressed out about having gained weight, and clearly the stress is part of why I’m not losing it! Thank you for this very helpful information!!

    • Alexa Schirm says:

      YES! It’s just one layer deeper than the information we’ve heard before. I’m glad it was helpful! Do you have any other questions or topics you’d like me to expand on inside of this?

  2. Jane Gnade says:

    This is so so helpful! I retired early (at 60) in July 2019, my active, healthy husband was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in January of 2020 and my beloved son plead guilty to a felony and went to prison April 5 of 2021. Obviously, my stress level is through the roof! I had put on 20 lbs or so after menopause and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t lose it. Now I need to figure out how to make peace with it.

    • Alexa Schirm says:

      Make peace with it and respect it for what it did to you. This is so difficult to do, but once you do I feel like you’ll be able to create safety in your body to begin to lose it in a healthy way. It’s always about safety for your body! Keep me posted with any additional questions.

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