Leonardo da Vinci once sketched a man famously known as the Vitruvian man that denotes the ideal human proportions and its correlation with geometry. Fitness is often symbolised by this image and ideally every human being dreams to get a body like that.
But in the non-ideal world we live in where the aroma of pooris, samosa and jalebis fill our homes every other day and a family feast seems incomplete without the kheer, the vitruvian man and the fitness ideals set by him are the last thing in our minds.
The result- layers of fat in places that either hide our view of the ground while standing or provide a comfortable cushion while sitting.
The strange thing though is not how the fat gets into the body but the way it routes itself to specified destinations like reserved railway coaches while settling down – A protruding belly for the men and a not-so-hip looking hips for women.
The reason for this gender bias is part nature and part the kind of fats that are stored.
It is in your genes
Many believe that because of the traditional role assigned to men and women in nature, the fat placement too in the male and female bodies has a specific purpose. It is actually the Female sex hormone that causes fat to be stored in the buttocks, thighs, and hips in women and men are more likely to store fat in bellies because of the lack of these hormones. When the level of a hormone called estrogen in female bodies starts to decline, the fat too moves from the hips to the bellies.
The Hip Fats
This is the subcutaneous fat or in plain English the fat that is stored beneath the skin. This kind of fat insulates the body from heat and cold and is present in the entire body even in men. However, women tend to gather more of this fat in the hips and thighs giving the figure of eight shape or more undesirably the pear shaped body.
This kind of fat though is not very dangerous if in moderation. Without it, the body would need to use more of its own energy to maintain body heat and temperature. Experts also believe that the classic diseases usually associated with obesity are not linked to subcutaneous fat. But ask a woman if she wants this fat in high quantities and the answer would be a resounding NO. The firm and fit look is more than welcome.
This fat gathers at a place between the important abdomen organs and the muscular layer in the belly. It crams and crams to such an extent that like an overstuffed pillow, the belly too starts to grow.
Under normal circumstances visceral fat acts as a protective layer around all body organs but excess of this fat is strongly associated with cardiovascular diseases. It is also linked to diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammatory diseases and other obesity related problems.
It also creates havoc in a person’s knees, back and ankles.
The good thing though is that belly fat is the first thing that vanishes with regular exercise and people have claimed to lose this unwanted guest in 3 to 4 months of dedicated workouts.
Now that the puzzle of men with big bellies and women with big hips is revealed, the next natural step is to bid them a goodbye from your life.
Image Credit mikebaird via cc/Flickr