The Secret Life of Fat - Book Review

What is Fat? Do you even know? What happens to fat when you lose weight? Where does it go? What does it all mean? Most people realize that excess fat makes them look "unappealing" but they don't understand what fat really is or why we have it in the first place. They may not understand why they have excess fat and what to do about it - or what NOT to do about it.

When the book "The Secret Life of Fat" arrived at my door, I couldn't wait to dive into it. It's written by Sylvia Tara who holds a PhD in Biochemistry. As many of you may know, my degree is also in biochemistry and human metabolism has been a life long passion.

So I eagerly awaited a chance to sit down and read this book. I tore into it over the holiday weekend and couldn't put it down. Well, I couldn't put down the first half of the book. It was loaded with information on fat research. Some of it new, some of it old.  I loved it, but I also started to fall out with the author over many of the studies. She's a great author - easy to read and very conversational, but I got the sense that she is like most American scientists - willing to take things at face value and not really discovering much in the process.

We are all guilty of this. We believe what we read in our textbooks. We believe our professors and anyone with a title. We let them interpret the data for us and take their findings as truth. If the goal was to present the information as it stands, then the book did a good job. It brought up interesting studies and facts about fat as an organ in an easily digestible format, but it mostly grazed the surface of information and didn't really dive into alternative ideas.

I still enjoyed reading that first half. Then we got into the "what to do about fat." This was maybe the last few chapters, not really the last half but with references taking up the rear it felt "half-ish" while reading.

This part was irritating. Maybe it shouldn't have even been included, but I'm sure every person reading the first part of the book would have wanted "a solution" at the end. The truth is - there is "no solution." Illness and Wellness are both multi-factorial. Plus, everyone of us is individual and different rules apply to different people. Some of the main universal truths were glossed over - probably in an attempt not to ruffle any feathers. Most of the advice was eat less, move more. Not exactly cutting edge. It is part of the truth truth but it's not even the biggest piece of the puzzle.

Want a few bigger pieces of the puzzle? 
  • Do not eat processed food - especially fortified grains, brominated grains, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and seed oils (soy, canola, cottonseed, safflower, corn, etc.) Avoid things that are "shelf-stable." Real food rots and needs to be eaten quickly or kept cold/frozen.
  • Do not eat meat if you are unwilling to eat skin/bone broths/fat/organs/gristle - it messes up your amino acid balance and your ca/p ratio
  • Get out in the sun every freaking day. Do not wear sunglasses. Do not wear sunscreen. 
  • Get off your screens at night - this includes tv, phones, and even lights! You need a break about 2 hours before you sleep so your body can cycle your hormones properly at night
  • Never diet/starve. 
  • Do not eat after dinner, but eat breakfast right away in the morning. This is important for hormone cycling and adrenal stress!
  • Do not take any supplements - they are unnecessary if you eat a varied diet (and are not a vegan!) and they can mess things up!
  • Move your body often - you do not need to "exercise" but you do need to move. And if you want to maintain your strength and body composition you will want to resistance train - it can be body weight only movements.
  • Buy organic for the "dirty dozen" because they are sprayed with F/Cl/Br pesticides that mess with your thyroid gland
  • Drink fluoride free water (or if you can't - eat a few prunes every day to chelate out the F and seafood at least once a week to increase your Se/I)
  • Drink unsoftened water for Ca/Mg balance
  • Eat less "meat" - specifically pork and chicken
  • Eat something from the ocean once per week - and not battered in brominated enriched flour and fried in seed oils!
  • Get regular massages - or DIY with a foam roller.
  • Have fun and try to learn something new every day. The body and the mind are connected - and they both need to be healthy for optimum health.
  • Eat fewer raw leafy greens. Cook those babies! 
  • Eat real food 
  • Drink less water. Drink when you are thirsty - not because you think you need x number of liters per day.
  • Get rid of stress! If you have sadness, feel it and then release it. If it's anything else, let it go. It's not worth it! You are only here for a little while. Things get f'd up. It sucks, but move on.
  • Don't "snack" unless you absolutely must. Ideally, your body would have 3-4 hours between meals for proper digestion.
  • Do not give up. Keep searching until you find the truth! 
  • If you have an actual endocrine disorder - then seek help!
The above list should be every helpful in improving hormone balance and overall health - yes, with some fat loss if that's what your body needs. Beyond that, the book was great at opening up a few different directions to what may cause some of the increases in obesity and gets your mind thinking about other directions to search for answers.

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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