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Physiology of Fat in the Body

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Physiology
Wordcount: 6214 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Introduction to weight control and body firming

In this beauty project, I will be researching and carrying out an investigation into body weight and firming. This will help a client to determine which products and equipment are best suited when aiming to lose weight. The project will demonstrate how these treatments can help reduce body fat and assist body firming.

To understand the topic better, a number of key issues need to be examined.

The Healthy Body

What is fat

Fat is “a natural oily substance and is found as a layer underneath the skin or around certain organs” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2019). There are many types of fat, for example, brown fat, white, fat, visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, and cellulite. Brown fat is activated when the body temperature drops (Doheny, 2009). Brown fat helps burn down calories in the body to create heat – exercise can stimulate hormones that active the brown fat (Doheny 2009). White fat is the main body fat and is stored in the subcutaneous layer of the skin (Weiss, 2019). White fat has sensors that are important for certain hormones, for example, sex hormones, insulin, and stress (Weiss, 2019).

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Visceral fat is a build-up of adipose tissue, and it is stored around the abdominal area and covers the organs such as liver and kidneys (Visceral fat: What it is and how to reduce it | Evergreen Life, 2018). If an individual has too much of this fat, it can increase the risk of heart disease and even dementia (Doheny, 2009). Subcutaneous fat is most commonly found in the buttocks and thighs. The amount of this type of fat depends on diet and exercise. Subcutaneous fat helps store energy for the body, protect muscles, serves as passageways for nerves and blood vessels, and helps regulate body temperature (Frothingham, 2018). Finally, there is cellulite.

Cellulite occurs when toxins are built up in the dermis and form lumps and dimples in the skin (Hannan, 2017). Cellulite comes in three stages. Stage 1 is a mild stage where very small dimples are seen. Stage 2 is moderate, where the dimples are slightly more visible. Stage 3 is severe, where the dimples are deep and very visible (Hannan, 2017). Cellulite can be caused by diet and lack of physical activity. Cellulite can be genetic as it can link to metabolism and circulatory levels in the body (Hannan, 2017). Below is a picture of the stages of cellulite and what they can look like.

Weight and Tone

Weight is “relative mass by giving it a downward force, the heaviness of a person or thing” (Weight | Definition of Weight at Dictionary.com, 2019). To measure how healthy your weight is, BMI is used – height divided by weight (What is the body mass index (BMI)? – NHS, 2016). If a person’s BMI is below 18.5 then that means you are underweight. If it’s between 18.5-24.9 it means that the person is a healthy weight and if it’s between 25-29.9 it results in an overweight reading. Finally, 30-39.9 means the person is obese (What is the body mass index (BMI)? – NHS, 2016).

Body toning means “physical exercise and the activity of moving muscles in different ways to keep fit.” (Farlex, 2019). An individual can tone their body in a number of different ways from using machines to undertaking physical activity – for example, walking, running, squats, sit-ups, lunges, and rowing. From the machine perspective, there are faradic, elliptical machines, and seated rowers. (Ayuda, 2018).

Gender differences in storing fat

Research states that women have a higher rate of body fat than men (20-25% for women as a healthy range and for men, 10-15% body fat (Vella, C. and Kravitz, L. 1997). For example, it is more common for men to be carrying fat around the abdominal area, whereas women generally carry fat around the hip area and thighs (Vella, C. and Kravitz, L. 1997). The main reason why there is a difference in fat storage is hormones (Vella, C. and Kravitz, L. 1997).

Other research indicates that the subcutaneous layer of fat on the upper body is higher in men than in women and that digestion is slower in the upper body in men than in women. (Blaak, 2001)

Metabolism is different between these genders, and there is an energy difference in men and women as women are more likely to lose weight after going to the gym rather than men. (Blaak, 2001)

Physiology behind body fat and tone

Systems involved with weight control and body firming

There are many systems in the body that contribute to weight gain, for example, the endocrine system, the muscular system, and even the lymphatic system (Leibowtiz, 2015).

The Endocrine system can contribute because of hormone imbalances in the body that can cause people to lose or gain weight. For example, Addison’s disease can cause people to lose their appetite, which could result in weight loss (Leibowtiz, 2015).

The Muscular system can contribute because of metabolism and how this can impact the body and the weight with the storage of glucose and glycogen in the body (Leibowtiz, 2015).

The Lymphatic system is how fluid is transported around the body. The speed of this process has an impact on body fat (Leibowtiz, 2015).

The main system that contributes to this is the Digestive System.

The Digestive system breaks down the food that individuals eat. This system is important for the controlling of fat because the food gets broken down as it passes through the system and gets eliminated through waste products (Leibowtiz, 2015). The more food that the person eats at once, the harder it is for it to get broken down and therefore results in the build-up of fat on certain areas on the body (Leibowtiz, 2015).

What contributes to body fat

There are lots of reasons why some people have more body fat than others. Dan Benardrot, an expert in sports and nutrition, researched seven main factors that contribute to body fat. These are genetics, age, sex, menopause, activity, and nutrition (Isacks, 2014).

One reason could be genetics, where the individual is born with the factors to gain more body fat. Another reason could be age, where the body systems are becoming weaker, causing the body to have more body fat (Isacks, 20114). Sex is another cause of body fat since research states that women have a higher body fat than men due to the hormones that are in the body (Isacks, 20114). Activity is a big part when it comes to body fat as exercise can help to burn off calories and keep the body healthy. Finally, nutrition is important to body fat because the body will store any excess (Isacks, 20114).

To improve body muscle tone, the muscles need to be worked. Good muscle tone is called hypertonic, and bad muscle tone is called hypotonic. Exercise is key to improve the condition of the muscles and help to tone the body because it helps increase the length of the muscle (known as isometric exercise – Leibowitz, 2015). Exercise causes the muscles to become stronger, and the body to become healthier (Leibowitz, 2015). Improving muscle tone can help improve the contours of the body and can contribute to breaking down excess fat.

Factors on how to lose weight

Exercise and how to tone

Having an active lifestyle can really improve the body and fat deposits. This is because by doing exercise it helps burn off calories that the person is digesting (Isacks, 20114). Certain types of exercise can help, for example, cardio such as running, spinning classes, rowing, sit-ups and lunges. There are other forms such as kickboxing, boxing, and weightlifting to help tone the muscles and reduce fat content (Ayuda, 2018).

Going to the gym or exercising around 2-3 times a week can to help tone and reduce fatty deposits.

How Body types have changed through time

Body types have changed throughout time so that bodies can fit better in society.

For example, during the Palaeolithic era girls were very curvy and even overweight with larger features. This showed that women could hold many children and that it also showed that people were able to survive (Petty, 2019).

Today, there are many ways in which people see body shapes and sizes in society. For example, Kim Kardashian has a small waist with big hips. She underwent surgery so her waist would look smaller and her hips would be made more round, as you can see in the picture below (Kim Kardashian’s New Body – Plastic Surgery, A Waist Trainer Or A Strict Diet – Luxx Health, 2019).

Kim reached this body goal by using various techniques.  Many people have said, “plastic surgery, waist trainer or a strict diet and exercise” (Kim Kardashian’s New Body – Plastic Surgery, A Waist Trainer Or A Strict Diet – Luxx Health, 2019). This is what got people thinking, and because Kim Kardashian is such as big role model for the younger generation, other people tend to follow her example (Kim Kardashian’s New Body – Plastic Surgery, A Waist Trainer Or A Strict Diet – Luxx Health, 2019).

Another example is Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, and this was the “ideal women”. After the second world war, women had big features and fuller hips (the hourglass figure – Flood, 2018). The hourglass was known as the perfect look.

In the 1980’s the size eight would be the effective equivalent of 16-18 in the 1950’s (Pemberton, 2019).

In the 2000s, it became fashionable to have a fake tan, flat stomach and curves. The younger generation would see this as a role model and start not to eat and exercise so much.  Some women would even do injections to make them look small and skinny (Flood, 2018).

People can go to extreme measures to get what they want, even remove ribs to get a smaller waist.

Lifestyle and Diet

A good and healthy lifestyle is very important to lose weight. There are four main objectives that an induvial should carry out to get a healthier lifestyle. These are: eat fewer fatty foods, eat less sugary foods, eat more fibre, and cut down on alcohol (Cressy, 2010). This way, the person can lose weight effectively without feeling, deprived, tired, or starved.

Above is a picture of a plate that shows what people should be eating in order to gain a healthy lifestyle. There are four main food groups: starch, dairy, meat including poultry and fish and vegetables and fruits (Cressy, 2010). It is good to get all these groups in a meal based on starch to get a well-balanced and equal meal.

It is important to drink around 2 litres a day of water whilst reducing consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks such as coke and sprite (Cressy, 2010).

This can help someone lose weight because the diet consists of healthy foods that have equal calories, and the body can digest quickly to help balance our weight across the body.

A healthy lifestyle consists of a balanced between exercising, diet and relaxation. The individual shouldn’t be over-doing these activities just to lose weight or become healthier as this can cause harm. A good example of a healthy lifestyle is working-out 2-3 times a week, while eating a good balanced diet, containing a fair amount of vegetables, carbohydrates and protein. Also allowing the body to rest and relax by either socialising with friends and family, going on holiday or even joining a local club/hobby can have a positive impact (Cressy, 2010). Another important factor is stress, and an individual should try and keep a stress-free life as it can contribute to weight problems (Cressy, 2010).

Fats in food, labels and traffic light system

There are foods that contain good fat and bad fat, but many people don’t know what foods contain what. For example, good fat is in foods such as avocados. This is because it is filled with fat and potassium. It can therefore be beneficial to health, especially the cardiovascular system. (Gunnars, 2018).

Cheese is another source of good fat with calcium, vitamin B12, and other nutrients that can lead to stronger bones. It is very high in protein and it can reduce the risk of people getting type 2 diabetes (Gunnars, 2018).

Full fat yoghurt contains a high proportion of fat. This type of yoghurt contains probiotic bacteria that improves health, for example, helping with digestion, heart disease, and obesity (Gunnars, 2018).

On the other hand, there are bad fat foods that can increase cholesterol and can cause damage to health. Typically, these foods are biscuits, cakes, pastries, ice cream, and chocolate. These types of foods can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (NHS, 2019).

Food such as french fries, deep-fried foods, margarine and any processed foods contain “trans fatty acids”. This raises cholesterol and can inflame the body bringing about strokes (Madell and Nall, 2018).

When it comes to the public buying food in supermarkets, there have been reports that food labels have been “tricking us” into thinking that the products they are selling are healthy.

The Telegraph states that shoppers are reading the packaging on foods and believing what it says, and they look for “buzz words” such as “gluten-free2 or “fat-free” (Knapton, 2014). There was the case of the 7UP can that had the words “antioxidant” written on it. This was making people buy the drink more, rather than reading what was actually in it (Knapton, 2014). Reports say that “a drink might include anti-oxidant, but that still doesn’t mean that it mitigates the sugar level – it might make things worse.”(Knapton, 2014).

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The BBC news wrote an article about food labels and how it impacts the body. For example, when a consumer buys a product from the shop that states it has more calories than others, the body responds as if they have (BBC foods, 2019).  In 2011, an experiment on the sale of a milkshake. One bottle was labelled “sensishake,” with low-calorie content (140cal) and zero % of fat and sugar. Another milkshake was called “indulgence,” and labelled with 620 calories (BBC foods, 2019).

As the study went on, observers watched how the participants’  “hungry hormone” levels reacted and whose levels would drop. Those that drank the “indulgence” milkshake, experienced a drop three times deeper than those that drank the “sensishake.” These results demonstrated the placebo effect as, in reality, both milkshakes had 380 calories (BBC foods, 2019).

Food labels show the sugar, fat, salt, calories, and saturated fat content (British Nutrition Foundation, 2018).

If the colour is green, that means it’s healthy and good. However, if it shows amber that means its medium whilst red shows that its bad and there is a lot of poor quality ingredients in the product (British Nutrition Foundation, 2018). The intention of this is to show the buyers what substances are in the product and how much it contains. People can then control what they eat. (British Nutrition Foundation, 2018)


There are many beauty treatments that therapists can do to help clients feel better in their bodies and make them comfortable. Some treatments can also help with slimming, for example, join a slimming programme. Body electrical treatments offer a wide range of opportunities to help people in what makes them happy. The most common types are G5, Galvanic, Faradic, and Vacuum Suction (Cressy, 2010). Each treatment does a specific function. G5 can help improve skin appearance such as cellulite, and because it goes deeper into the subcutaneous layer of the skin, it can help reduce fatty deposits(Cressy, 2010). Vacuum Suction works similarly to G5 as it can help improve the appearance of the skin but also can help fluid retention and break down fatty deposits. There are some products on the market to help with fluid retention; for example, the hydroslim herbal water retention capsule (Evolution Slimming, 2019).

Galvanic treatment focuses on cellulite and can help to reduce it. This can be done over a course of 6-10 treatments over 2-3 weeks (Cressy, 2010). It can also help the texture of the skin and focus on reducing fatty deposits in the area. There are lots of cellulite specific products on the market. For example, Elemis Body Brushing Cellulite Programme which uses an oil and exfoliating brush to reduce the appearance of cellulite. There are also various creams such as Cellulinov Intensive Anti-Cellulite cream from Sisley (Bazaar, 2018). In addition, there are other treatments on the market such as laser. This could be a tiny laser called Cellulaze that uses a fibre going through the skin and breaks up the deposits to get through to cellulite. On the other hand there is also a treatment called subcision (Cellfina). This is a medical procedure that has been approved by dermatologists and involves a needle that gets injected into the skin (Academy of Dermatology, 2018).

Finally, faradic is a technique to tone muscles and help to improve overall structure. It helps to strengthen those muscles that aren’t as strong. Currently, on the market, there are body firming creams that help bring up elasticity and a youthful appearance (Clarins, 2019). The treatments that are on offer help to tone and improve the body, such as there Liposnix, a thermal, ultrasonic energy procedure that stimulates collagen around the specific area. The heat destroys the fat cells and helps to tone and firm the area (Bradford, 2018).

There are slimming treatments that help reduce inches on a person’s body. The way this works is that a person is wrapped up in bandages with a very cold solution. This gets left for 20-30 minutes and then removed. Each time the person comes in for this, they will lose inches on the area of concern. On the market, there are slimming products that help shrink the fat cells rather than destroying them. This allows the product to give the client a slimming look. This product typically contains Aminophylline. When it comes to treatments, there are a number available. For example, liposuction, cool sculpting and radio frequency liposuction. All of these treatments help reduce the fat cells and make them cold to help the fat metabolize (Walansky, 2017).

Beauty Therapy Case Histories

Case History 1

My client is a 21-year-old female, and she is currently a student. Krista leads an inactive lifestyle with heavy drinking and smoking. She is very sociable and loves seeing her friends in her free time. At this moment, she states that she is very stressed and carries a lot of tension with the amount of work she has with her studies. My client is not on any current medication, and she doesn’t suffer from high/low blood pressure. However, she does get insomnia every other night she claims and says that this is caused by stress.

Every other day, she walks around 20 minutes to the local shops and gets 1.5 hours a night to relax and have time to herself.

Krista rarely eats a balanced diet as she doesn’t get a lot of time to cook as she is so tired after coming home from college. Her typical day is that breakfast would either be missed out or consists of an apple or just some coffee. Her lunch would be carb based with chicken nuggets, pasta or rice, and dinner would be red meat such as lamb or would order a takeaway every other night. In-between these meals, she would snack a lot with crisps, chocolate or biscuits and drink sugary drinks such as coke. She also would have late night snacks with leftovers from food the previous night or from the takeaway.

My client would like these treatments as it will make her feel comfortable in herself with a slimming treatment and a toning treatment. My client hasn’t had either of the treatments before, and I will be explaining to her the procedure and what will happen and what results she is going to expect.

Case History 2

Ben is 25 years old, male, and is a system Engineer. He leads an active lifestyle with going to the gym doing cardio based activates with weight groups, three times a week, 1 hour a day.

He is mostly based at an office and works a minimum of 6 days a week, which causes him stress, and he carries tension in his back. Ben doesn’t suffer from any insomnia and doesn’t smoke or drink and is not on any current medication. His diet is fairly balanced with three meals a day. Breakfast includes scrambled eggs; lunch is mostly carb based with pasta and rice, and then dinner is meat and chips. Between these meals, he balances out fruit and vegetables, but he states he doesn’t eat much of this.

My client’s main concern is to help tone his abdomen, lose weight in this area, and improve posture. The best treatment that would suit him would be faradic on the abdomen as this can help tone his stomach and can strengthen his muscles to aid his posture. Ben hasn’t had this treatment before, and I will explain to him what he is going to expect and how it will feel so that he gets a good idea of what the machine is like.

Case History 3

Stefania is a 21-year-old female that currently unemployed. She has an inactive lifestyle but walks for 1 hour walk every day. She drinks alcohol only on weekends and has poor blood circulation on her lower legs. She isn’t on any current medication and doesn’t suffer from stress. Stefania’s diet is balanced as she has porridge every day for breakfast. For lunch, she has rice and vegetables and for dinner, she mostly has roast meat. As for snacking, she only has one snack a day in-between lunch and dinner.

As she is sitting down most of the day and isn’t active, a build-up of toxins occurs in the body, causing cellulite, and this is a concern of hers. Her cellulite is stage 1, but she would like this procedure even as a preventatives measure.

My client’s main concern is the cellulite on her upper legs, and therefore, the best treatment for her is galvanic. She hasn’t had this treatment before, but it will help reach her goals and improve all the targets that are set. This will help improve the area of the skin, appearance, and can help improve the cellulite.


In conclusion, my research project was about examining the different aspects of weight gain, fat, toning and seeing what contributes to these factors. I go on to investigate how they can be dealt with and what treatments might be the most effective.

Throughout my research and my case histories, I found that, by changing people’s diet and giving them advice on exercise, this can affect the treatments and how quickly progress can be made.

My research indicated that diet and exercise are key when it comes to body fat and weight control. These factors, when combined with treatments, play a vital role in improving both the mental and physical wellbeing of my clients,

In my Case Histories, I found that the most effective treatments were faradic and galvanic as these resulted in a consistent and steady improvement of my client’s concerns.













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