Many of our patients have the opportunity to learn about “body composition” when they start a weight loss program at New Horizon. There is good reason to understand this term and what it means to all of us, especially as we age. Body composition is simply a measure of fat to lean tissue such as muscle.
Many of our weight loss patients learn that in the initial phase of weight loss, changing the ratio of fat to muscle is as important as losing weight. The change in ratio however, comes from introducing exercise and diet controls. Even though a patient may not have lost the weight they were looking to loose in the first week, seeing a jump in the muscle mass at the expense of fat is reassuring that the patient is on a good track.
Improving body composition means moving to a higher percentage of muscle mass and a lesser percentage of fat. A healthy body composition is also linked to improved markers of cardiovascular, blood sugar and overall health. With more muscle mass we are stronger, more agile and better able to cope with daily living.
As we age, there is a natural decrease of muscle mass and bone mass, which is replaced by fat. So even though our actual weight may have been maintained over the years, the ratio may have become less favorable. As the ratio is allowed to become more unfavorable with age, many normal bodily functions can begin to deteriorate. Sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating and prolonged stress all help contribute to additional fat storage.
At New Horizon, we focus on this ratio and help our patients understand that they have the ability to maintain a healthy body composition through a combination of proper exercise, health eating and the introduction of essential supplements if necessary to complete the nutritional requirements.