A few weeks ago I wrote about layers and how we save parts of our selves for other people. Moving on from the relationship to your skin brings us to the next layer, the superficial fascia. This layer of tissue is home to your superficial (closer to the outside) adipose cells, also known as FAT. It’s a bit ironic that this layer is superficially located and we are absolutely superficial and judge-y about it on our selves and others. Fat needs to hire a new PR company, because it has terrible rap in the general public.
I have not always loved my fatty layer, and there are still days where I’m not too keen on it, but it never ceases to amaze me. The superficial fascial layer is totally malleable. It can expand or shrink, depending on how much you move or eat. It also has different densities depending on its location. Have you ever noticed how the tissue on the back of your hand feels completely different then the tissue on your upper back? There is way more tension in the upper back for most people! As a result, the superficial fascia on the upper back (and just about every layer here) is more dense, tough, and in desperate need of a roll out.
The superficial fascial layer is not just a home to adipose – it also serves as a storage medium of water, as a passageway for lymph, nerve and blood vessels, and as a protective padding to cushion and insulate.
And adipose is not just fat – the cells store energy and is also a major endocrine (hormone) organ. In the abdomen, in addition to the adipose, which wraps itself protectively around your organs, you also have a specialized adipose organ called the Greater Omentum. It has the ability to change position within the abdominal cavity to wrap itself around any organ in distress. It helps to bring immune cells to the area, helping to fight infections. Because it can wrap it self around an organ, it also helps to isolate any infections or trauma. HOW COOL IS THAT?
Adipose and superficial fascia are insanely cool when you think about their function, but in our society fat is such a loaded word. Just google “abdominal fat” and you find:
Abdominal Fat And What To Do About It
How To Lose Belly Fat: Tips For A Flatter Stomach
6 Ways To Burn Your Belly Fat
How To Lose Belly Fat (With Quiz!)
Why not “How Awesome your Fat is and 100 ways to Love it More”?
If you’re having a hard time loving the way your superficial fascial layer looks – why not love the way it works? All day, every day, no breaks, kicking invader’s butts and taking numbers!
As I was formulating the idea for this post, my anatomy mentor, Gil Hedley shared this post on Facebook:
What of your body are you ashamed of? Is it your nose? (Too big! Too crooked!) Your skin? (Too dry! Too oily! Too blotchy!) Your sex? (Too juicy! Not juicy enough! Too small! Too big!) Your fat? (Too much! In the wrong place!) Maybe it’s the whole thing!? (Too this and too that!) The problematization of our bodies in their many aspects is a hard habit to break. To break any habit we must do the opposite. So to get beyond the shame, the self loathing, the victim consciousness we have with respect to our bodies, we start with appreciation. “I appreciate my body in all of its qualities.” A mantra for raising body consciousness.