Internal clutter inhibits freedom.
America’s consumerism created a storage industry. Our houses got full of stuff so we filled our garages. When those were full, we had to find someplace else to store stuff. Someone came up with the idea of charging people for additional storage space. Think of all the things in all the storage units of this country and consider how rarely people see or use what they have stored! It is a hassle to drive somewhere, get through security, and then dig through the entire unit for a single item. So, we just leave our stuff in storage and pay a monthly bill. One more phenomenon is that when we fill a storage unit, we usually do not stop consumption or get another unit of the same size, we just upgrade to a larger unit. How strange is that?
It isn’t really strange at all. Perhaps we instinctively knew how to create more storage because that is exactly what our bodies do with excess food, toxins, and emotions. If any of those three things cannot be processed completely, the body will store them away. And just like we rarely access the storage units for our objects, it is rare for the body to access what the fat, toxins, and emotions it has stored away.
HUMAN STORAGE UNITS
The storage units of the body are fat cells. Fat, more technically referred to as adipose tissue, is found in several places in the body. Generally, fat is found underneath skin (called subcutaneous fat). There’s also some on top of each kidney, in the liver, and in muscle tissue. Where the fat cells are concentrated in the body is related to gender. Men tend to carry body fat in the chest, abdomen and buttocks, producing an “apple” shape. Women usually carry fat in the breasts, hips, waist and buttocks, creating a “pear” shape. You might not like that distribution model, but it serves a purpose if ever life’s circumstances required the body to survive challenging situations like reproduction and famine.
When the body needs to store more fat, it doesn’t make new fat cells, at least after puberty. It just packs more contents into each cell. Fat cell membranes have an amazing capacity to stretch. If a significant amount of weight is gained, the body may choose to make more fat cells. It also might make more if liposuction is performed. The body works hard to store your extra metabolic substances!
FAT CELL CONTENTS
What exactly is in a fat cell? It’s mostly fatty acids that are absorbed from the blood. Insulin secreted by the pancreas makes fatty acids into fat molecules that are stored as fat droplets. If you eat more food than your body can burn off as energy, the excess calories are stored for later use. A fat cell can also be used to store toxins such as chemicals and acids. Chemicals come from our foods and environment. Acids are created by the body’s metabolic processes and when we eat and drink acid-forming foods and beverages. In a healthy body, the toxins will be removed by the five trashcans of the body: colon, liver, lungs, kidneys, and skin. If the trashcans are full or not functioning properly, the body refuses to allow damaging elements to wander around, so it stores them in fat cells to keep the toxins away from the internal organs.
It is also possible for fat cells to take up glucose and amino acids and convert those into fat molecules. The conversion of carbohydrates or protein into fat is ten times less efficient than simply storing fat in a fat cell, but the body can do it. Given a choice, a fat cell will grab the fat and store it rather than the carbohydrates because fat is so much easier to store. Given a choice, the body will request a fresh supply of carbohydrates for energy and leave the fat in storage. This tendency makes losing weight so challenging. Just like we would rather buy something again rather than go to the storage unit to dig out what we already bought, the body would rather use up the carbohydrates that you just ate for energy and keep the fat stored away because it’s easier.
Less scientific, yet instinctively and physically proven, fat cells also hold emotions. I only say “less scientific” because scientists in America are still intent on studying the physical body and have yet to spend sufficient effort on the energetic body. Emotions affect how the body functions as evidenced by the chemical changes brought about in a “fight or flight” situation. Like food or chemicals that are unprocessed, the chemical and energetic results of emotions that we avoid or cannot process psychically must be stored somewhere. The fat cells are the likely place. Many people who lose significant amounts of weight can attest to emotions being part of what is released as fat cells are emptied.
EMPTYING STORAGE UNITS
The point at which an over-consumer decides to stop adding stuff to their lives and start reducing is very personal. Some people never reach that point of decision. The ones that do have a huge job in front of them. To clear out the house, the garage, and all the storage units requires both time and effort. However, the benefits of a lighter existence are well worth the energy expenditure.
Just like the storage unit can be emptied with great effort, so can a fat cell be emptied. One shift that must be made is to get the body to stop living off of carbohydrates for energy and start using the fat in the fat cells. This requires an eating strategy that reduces intake of carbohydrates, specifically simple carbs like sugars and processed foods, while increasing intake of protein and good fats. Many complex carbs such as certain vegetables and legumes have sufficient protein, so increasing protein in the diet does not necessarily involve increasing animal meat intake. (That is a whole other subject!) Once you get the body off of its addiction to carbohydrates, it will begin to use the fat cell contents.
Chemicals and toxins will naturally flow out with the fat molecules as they leave the fat cell. That’s why it is important for someone who is losing weight to make sure that their body’s trashcans (colon, liver, lungs, kidneys, and skin) are optimized. Pay careful attention to these parts of your body if you are on dedicated weight loss plan! If you don’t, you may feel quite ill. Not feeling good on several levels may undermine your weight loss effort. A good colon cleanse is a great way to start a weight reduction program. Also consider taking probiotics to boost your immune system and add in digestive enzymes to assist the digestive tract with breaking down foods. Lastly, research herbs that strengthen the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Those organs will thank you for your help.
In the process of emptying a storage unit, a person is likely to come across items that bring up old memories and emotions. Emptying the fat cells of the body does the same. Usually the emotions that surface were the ones we felt when we were stuffing ourselves to compensate for shortages in other areas of our lives. Emotional eating is a huge factor in weight gain. Food makes us feel happy and we forget our troubles for a while. Sometimes the fat insulates us from perceived dangers. Whatever the reason for storing the emotions, they are felt again as fat is released. Letting go is not easy physically or emotionally. Without support, it’s easier to give up. That’s why it is important to get the emotional support you need to process old emotions appropriately.
WHEN FAT CELLS ARE MOSTLY EMPTY
The body will always have some fat cells with fat in them. They act as insulation for temperature regulation and for energy when food is not available or the body is sick, so it’s not healthy to have too low of a body fat percentage. The good news is that a mostly empty fat cell doesn’t take up much room.
As a person who struggled with an abundance of overstuffed fat cells, I’m once again learning that the body will change given the right conditions. As we feed it the best foods, move it in the best ways for us, and send continual positive mental messages to it, the body will transform.
On a personal note, I’m doing martial arts training and it is changing my body! And, I’ve stopped hating myself (in subtle and not-so-subtle ways). Going vegetarian also changed how I look and feel. It all adds up – diet, movement, and emotional work. You can change whatever you want to change. You just have to choose it and allow no compromise.
If you feel like it’s time to empty your fat cells, consider starting by emptying your house, your garage, and any storage units you have. Those places are metaphorical representations of your body. Plus, as you empty your living spaces of unnecessary objects, your muscles will require lots of extra energy. If at the same time you eliminate sugars and processed foods from your diet and up your protein and good fat intake, and spend time with a good counselor/coach, the body will begin to empty your fat cells.
You will love the extra space in your house and the freedom found in a smaller, healthier body. You won’t have to pay for a storage unit or medical bills. That’s a win/win situation!
I will remove from my life anything that is not beautiful, beneficial, or loved.