Single-digit bodyfat percentage is overrated. Fitness has turned into an obsession to achieve a single-digit bodyfat percentage (BF%). For many of us, aesthetics matter a lot and a single-digit BF% elevates aesthetics. Obsessing over BF% is justified if your livelihood depends on looking a certain way or if you are competing in an aesthetically focused sport.
However, in the context of weight loss, a single-digit BF% is useless.
You might have even lost most of your excess weight, yet you aren’t too happy because you might not have the chiselled abs and other coveted muscular cuts that come with a single-digit bodyfat percentage.
I’ll admit, single digit bodyfat does make one look sexy as hell. However, we also need to realize that this definition of what’s sexy and what’s not sexy is a result of unhealthy influences.
Whether you want to feel better about yourself or hoard empty hearts on Instagram, single-digit BF% is overrated. And here’s why.
May compromise Mental Health
I have seen people in the gym who measure their BF% levels almost on a regular basis and sometimes even compare their BF% before and after workouts!
Firstly, most of the common methods to measure BF% are wildly inaccurate. Secondly, one workout doesn’t change your BF% levels!
Plus, this level of obsession isn’t healthy for mental health because over time we lose sight of the bigger picture, which is to achieve and maintain good health. In fact, you might find that many of your biggest fitness inspirations who boast of a very low BF%, don’t have the best mental health since they are under pressure to look that way all the time.
The question you need to ask yourself is what’s wrong with looking the way you are right now? If you have already reached your goal weight, isn’t that good enough? What is losing even more fat going to achieve for you and at what cost?
Speaking of cost, that brings me to the next point.
May compromise Other Areas of Health
There’s a lot more to health than just body fat percentages and looks. Health is multifaceted i.e. it includes good nutrition, sleep, exercise and mental health. We often begin weight loss for the simple purpose of getting healthier and looking better but somewhere along the lines we lose sight of the bigger picture and make BF% the centre of attention.
For example, I frequently come across diets which fulfil only the macronutrient requirements (i.e. fat, carbs and protein) but include very few fruits and vegetables making the program deficient on crucial micronutrients. Why is this the case? Because to achieve a single-digit BF% micronutrients are perceived to be unimportant. Regardless of whether you achieve your BF% goals, a diet deficient in micronutrients is going to be detrimental to your health in the long term.
Moreover, women may experience problems in their menstrual cycles if they diet down to very low levels of BF%. This is often seen in bikini models who are required to drop their BF%.
May compromise Personal and Social Life
I often come across clients who sacrifice their personal and social lives in the quest to achieve a single-digit BF%. One of the ways men do this is by training for hours in the gym. It’s not uncommon for such men to post memes like the one below.
If you share memes like these just for fun then it’s ok but if the meme reflects your thoughts accurately then you might want to re-evaluate your priorities.
Another behaviour, common to men and women, is being extremely calculative of what they eat. This generally includes following very rigid diets with little to no flexibility. This makes eating in social situations very difficult where some amount of flexibility is necessary. I generally don’t recommend such diets since they may spoil your relationship with food.
You might be aiming to achieve a single-digit BF% just to feel better about yourself. But what’s the point if it costs you your day to day wellbeing and prevents you from living a fuller life? Don’t get me wrong, if you are overweight then you MUST lose weight. But don’t undermine all your hard work just because you didn’t enter the “Single Digit Club” because it is extremely overrated and even unnecessary for most people.
If you are obsessed with single-digit bodyfat percentage then you might want to ask yourself the following questions –
- Am I not already healthy?
- Am I not already in good shape?
- Will a single digit BF% offer me anything I don’t already have?
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