Not Losing Weight in Stomach, Thighs, Face?

Evan is a male aged 20, 5′ 6″. He went from 180 lbs to 140 lbs, BUT now….

He can’t understand how he’s lost all this weight but thinks “my stomach still looks terrible!”

His first 33 were from dietary changes alone, the last 6.5 lbs he introduced cardio. (he got a stationary bike).

Why isn’t fat melting off of his stomach yet?

Relax. There is an Answer to This

Do you aspire to a certain body shape?

I guess we all do. The bad news is that genetics dictate certain things. The good news is that we do have the power to change some things.

We can’t change our bone structure, and the way our body burns fat in specific areas is also something that is unique to us.

Check out these inspiring folks who have found the answer.

Where Does Fat Disappear First?

Do you find when you lose fat it disappears from the places you want to stay big?2186-bodyfat

Maybe it stubbornly holds on to the places you really want to slim down.

Some of the books we’ve read tried to sell us “spot reduction”. It’s a myth. We cannot choose to burn the fat on our waist over that in our face.

There Are 2 Kinds of Fat

We have adipose tissue all over the body.

This tissue is made of adipocytes (fat cells) whose sole job is to store energy in the form of fat. Body fat distribution differs from person to person.

There are generally two types of fat storage:

  • visceral (surrounding organs).
  • subcutaneous (beneath the skin – about 80% of all body fat is this type (src)).

Does eating fat make you fat? We get to the bottom of that myth here.

Where Do We Gain Fat?

apple-pear
Typical Areas

  • Women – around the buttocks and thighs (gluteofemoral): “pear-shaped”.
  • Men –  around the abdomen: “apple-shaped”.

These are the predominant patterns – but both ‘apple’ and ‘pear’ shaped distribution can be found in either gender.

Specific Areas

Knee Fat often builds up on the inside region of the knees in women.
Upper Arm Common in women, fat build up can occur in the middle to upper area of the upper arm – typically covering the tricep area. Some women elect to have arm liposuction procedure to remove fat from this area without the marks caused by surgery.
Abdomen Fat buildup around the navel area is common in both men and women. It is also one of the few fat deposits that are also found in slim women.
Inner Thigh Fat storage between the thighs is common in women – but also occurs with men. It is more noticeable in women due to the width of the pelvis that in turn influences the position of the thigh (femur).
Outer Thigh Sometimes called “Riding Breeches” – this area is the most likely place for the pitted or ‘quilted’ appearance of cellulite. This fat concentration also blends with fat tissue on the inner thigh and the buttocks.
Buttocks Without fat here – sitting would be quite uncomfortable. Fat is held in place by the gluteal fold. If significant fat is lost from the buttock, only appropriate training can prevent the buttock from sagging down against the thigh.
Lower Back This fat concentration often merges with the buttock area.
Chest Breast tissue comprises the mammary gland (one’s ‘endowment’) surrounded by fat. Men also have atrophied glands and fat in this area. Both sexes gain fat in this area. In men this can sometimes be mistaken for gynecomastia – a condition that includes not only fat build up, but growth in gland tissue.

Ethnic Variation
There is considerable research showing that fat distribution varies between ethnic groups.

  • Asian adults are more prone to visceral and central obesity than Europeans.
  • Mediterranean women are prone to fat gain in the outer thighs.

Where You Lose Fat First

For most people, fat acts like the layers of an onion.

It doesn’t disappear from a particular place, but comes off layer by layer from the whole body.

However, in some people there are localized areas where fat loss (and gain) is more pronounced, and while fat is still shed from all over the body, the loss is proportionately different in different areas.

It tends to go from the most recent place it appeared.

If your tummy started gaining first – this will be the very last place for the fat to disappear from.

This is why a man can get thin in the face – and yet still have a small ‘spare tire’ around his waist. Or a woman may complain of a smaller bust, and yet her hip size has dropped only a tiny amount.

See here: The most important tool for fat loss

Cellulite is Different

White areas are fatty tissue. The person on the left has fat surrounding internal organs.

White areas are fatty tissue. The person on the left has fat surrounding internal organs.

This is further compounded by cellulite. With cellulite tissue, fatty acids are contained in a net of fibrous connective tissue.

As fat loss occurs the net becomes compressed – making it difficult for the blood supply to readily remove the fat from these stubborn areas.

Why Do I Lose Weight But Look the Same?

fat-jiggler

  • Obese men tend to lose more visceral (internal) fat while obese women lose more subcutaneous fat (src).
  • Exercise seems to result in more subcutaneous fat loss.
  • Diet alone results in more visceral fat loss (and less surface fat loss) (src).

This explains how you can lose weight – but not necessarily have any radical change in appearance.

What You Can Do

There is very little you can do to influence specific subcutaneous fat distribution.

Exercise should always be a part of any fat loss program – but vigorously exercising a specific body part will not have any influence on local fat in that area. This myth has been debunked again and again.

High-repetition (e.g. 20-30 reps) weight training will not lead to greater fat loss.

In fact the loss of intensity may ultimately result in less fat loss than lower-reps with heavier weights. Higher reps are good for muscular endurance (more).

Switch Up Your Diet. If you have been in regimented plan and your fat loss has stalled, it may be time for something different.

It can be very frustrating but everybody is different.

Stay committed to your training and nutrition – and don’t be dissuaded by the commercials and images that show perfectly proportioned clones.

Understand how your body works, and set achievable goals accordingly.

Photo: Pareerica countrykitty

102 Comments

  1. Sayaka Takayama 5 months ago

    Wrong.. eat more your gonna be fat plain and simple

    Reply
  2. Jb Parrothead 8 months ago

    People in concentration camps during WWII were definitely “not eating enough.” Why didn’t weight loss stall keeping them fat? Science doesn’t back that up.

    Reply
    • Tooti 8 months ago

      Because they weren’t sitting on their asses like we do! Try adding a rucksack or other military equipment to bump up your fitness routine!

      Reply
    • brandy jewlz 8 months ago

      😂😂😭😭

      Reply
  3. Ali Browning

    I am a woman but have that hideous apple shape I wish I did have fat on my legs and bum but I have skinny legs, knobbly knees and a fat belly and thick waist, not to mention fat fingers, yuck yuck yuck . Got 28lbs to loose wish I could shift it all to my hips and bum as I have nothing there at least hip and bum fat looks nice and is healthier. One of my male friends is fat and he’s ever so pear shaped, he has a really small waist compared to the rest of him, visible collar bones even but real thunder thighs and tree trunk legs, he’s also got less body hair than me, I reckon our hormones are totally messed up.

    Reply
    • Manda 1 month ago

      Sounds like PCOS. That’s what I struggle with daily!

      Reply
  4. Kavitha

    im 156cm weighing 61kg mother of 6 months baby. I’m doing surya namaskar since 2 months.I started gradually and now I’m doing 30 rounds daily.I lost 1.25 kg in 40 days but my waist has not dropped even 0.1 inch.my tummy still looks same.pls guide to reduce my postpartum weight and to attain my pre pregnancy weight of 53 kg

    Reply
  5. ANONMYOUS

    im 153 cm and 49 kg i need to loose 11 kg in order to be healthy for my age but im just not bothered tbh

    Reply
  6. Shona Olway

    I need some advise as I want to make weight but I can’t seem to cut any healthy food out if my diet, I have found a diet pill that seems to work, but I am not sure about it cause you can lose a lot of weight in a month. I am about 140+ pounds, 5″3 and 17 years of age. I don’t know what to do….help me please!!

    Reply
    • Jessica

      Dear Shona,

      My name is Jessica. I’m a certified nutrition coach from Finland.
      I believe I can help you. If you want to skype I can offer you advice.
      I don’t charge for the first session, and no obligation to continue.
      If you’re interested, let me know

      Kind regards
      Jessica

      Reply
    • Marlyn Banks

      email me marlofly95@gmail.com

      Reply
    • Wafaa

      Hi I’m also 5″3 and I weigh 151 my shirt that was tight on me is now kinda loose it’s all because of cutting of my calories I try to stick in the range of 900 calories but if I go over that’s okay because I’m eating healthy foods now seriously counting your calories is big and if you want to loose weight faster work out with it and maybe in 2 months tops you’ll be down to be slim and skinny 🙂

      Reply
      • Ted

        900 calories is too few. You should really have a safer approach see our calculator: https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator

        Reply
        • Jb Parrothead 8 months ago

          900 calories is fine unless she bonks out. As long as she gets daily nutrients & vitamins she should be fine. If she’s exercising intensely then a few more calories might be needed.

          Reply
      • IdRatherNot

        I’m also 5’3″, and I used to be 148. I’ve lost 17 lbs in the last two months. The first month I ate 1200 calories a day, and the second month I cut down to 1100. That worked well for me, so I thought I’d share.

        Reply
    • Jb Parrothead 8 months ago

      Intermittent fasting will also help. That old byline of “you’re not losing weight because you’re not eating enough” is pure BS. It’s misleading and keeps people fat. You need to cut calories, eat foods high in nutrients and reset your weight set point. Slow and steady, low carb helps too. Keep to small amounts of healthy fats.

      Reply
      • Sarah lynn 8 months ago

        It’s eating more of healthy fats like nuts and certain fishes and fruits. It’s not eating more of everything in general. People should really specify or else it will keep people fat, but plenty of studies have shown that an approach to a healthier lifestyle is exercise and diet with healthy fats. It’s not just eating more red meat or eating more chips. It’s certain foods

        Reply
  7. Nora Zinoxa

    This is not always the case. When you get older you build up bad
    oestrogens in your system from chemical pesticides in food (oestrogen
    mimickers) and stress, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how little you
    eat, you can’t lose weight. Testosterone in males converts to oestrogen
    and they get big bellys.
    http://www.healthfitnss.com/

    Reply
    • Justin Kuenstle

      Umm… No. And absolutely ridiculous. Testosterone converts to estradiol 2 in men, it is perfectly natural, and has nothing at all to do with pesticides. It is a process called aromitization and yes it occurs in adipose cells, but it is simply a part of aging, and it does not really influence weight loss at all. Weight loss is just math, really really simple math— eat fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. And that applies to EVERY LIVING THING.

      It is beyond crazy to suggest that eating less would not cause some people to lose weight, do you think those folks are magically generating energy without eating? 10kcals convert to 41.84 kjoules of energy, if you use it, it is gone, and that’s all there is to that.

      Reply
      • Claire Hanson

        Agree to a point. Eat less but wrong foods and ur body stores fat to store energy. It depends on what u eat and not just calories. U have to eat clean too, it doesn’t just come from exercise alone. Saying that I ate low and clean for a month and exercised a lot and lost nothing, until I added one small treat a day then the weight started moving, body needs some carbs, fat and protein and u have to find the right balance for u as we are all different

        Reply
        • Jon Watson 8 months ago

          You can eat dirty and lose weight, just means you’ll feel like shit and probably end up sick.

          If weight loss is the exclusive goal keeping calorie intake below sedentary TDEE is the exclusive requirement to success.

          Reply
  8. AnonymousChild

    I’m a 14 yr girl and weigh 110lbs. I’m trying to get a toned body. I know I have muscles when I flex them but when I don’t, my muscles become loose so they won’t stay in the same shape as when I flex them. How do I fix this? This happens to my stomach and thighs.

    Reply
    • Drock450

      That’s natural. No-one has a hard body without flexing. Every picture you see of someone with tight abs or a hard body is in a flexed state. Naturally, the body looks softer.

      Reply
  9. RandomPersonOnInternet

    So, i’m 185cm tall and i weight around 75 kilograms and that’s the perfect weight for a guy this tall, yet i have fat around my stomach and some on my chest and i can’t get rid of it! I’m eating 1,500cal a day and i workout but nothing’s happening[it’s gotten a little better in the last week tho]. My arms/face/legs are perfectly slim yet my chest/butt/stomach aren’t.

    Reply
  10. LexiTV

    Thank you so much for the useful information! Each time I read a blog like this I already feel healthier! For those of you who are interested in beating the scale and really targeting weight loss please read below!
    I am casting for a new TV show with a nutritionist, looking for people who are trying really hard to eat well and maintain a healthy diet, but are having trouble losing weight or seeing dramatic changes on the scale. If you have friends and/or family members that might be interested in learning more about the casting, please email me at untitlednutritionshow@trueentertainment.net

    Reply
    • Melissa

      I am a 5’5 140 pound, 33 year old woman . I work out daily and eat nutritious foods. I don’t “diet” per se, but I do watch my fat and calorie intake and I do not eat junk food anymore. I also cut out soda completely. I can not lose a single pound. I feel like I’m gaining some muscle and getting toned in most places except my stomach. My stomach won’t budge an inch literally. I have been stuck at this plateau for about 2-3 months now. Also, I am very interested in being on a tv show for weight and nutrition help . I live in southern Florida if that matters.

      Reply
      • Renee Koegel

        Hey, I’ve been going through what your going through. Just hang in there. I’ve been doing cardio 45/60 mins 5-6 days a week & just started circuit strength training 3 times a week last month and changed my diet to all healthy. Four months and the scale did not move. I was so frustrated & just the other day I noticed all my clothes are getting baggy on me! It takes a while. I’m 43. I even went to Dr. To check my thyroid. I’m only trying to lose 10 pnds. I also weigh 140 at 5’4. I too love in Florida. Just keep doing what ur doing & maybe go get a thyroid test if that don’t work.

        Reply
  11. Livo

    I just want to lose 6 kg. I have been training 5 times per week weight lifting, and HIIT. I have lost just 1,5 kg in one month, (0,4kg per week). I also measure my waist and I went from 72 to 66 cm waist, but my hips are still the same 🙁 why? why? why?

    Reply
    • alkareemi

      keep the same rhythm of what you are doing for three months more and you will see what you are looking for ….(( no pain ..no gain ))

      Reply
  12. Cordonbleu

    I’ve lost 45 pounds as of last Friday. I was 202lbs now I am 154lbs, I’m 5’6. I’ve seen some differences in my body. I guess my question is, I’ve been exercising and watching my portions but not eating as healthy as I should. The more pounds I lose even tho I’m not eating as healthy as I should, is that gonna make it so my stomach doesn’t get smaller?

    Reply
    • Ted

      no, belly fat is often the last to go, so keep doing the great job you are doing and be patient. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Abigail Grant

    I’ve been overweight for 10 years and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 23 pounds in one month without any exercise and it’s been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

    Reply
  14. Corinne Elizabeth

    I’m a woman weighing 9 stone I started eating clean and working out 3 weeks ago I’ve already lost half a stone so am now 8 stone 7 but by belly fat is still here. I can’t afford to lose weight off the rest of my body as I’m already slim. Any advice would be much appreciated

    Reply
  15. frank

    I am an older male, 74, ok old vs -er. Over a period of months went from 230 to current 170, which is am guessing ok for my height, 6 ft. But…am still grossly fat, and not just in imagination Have bosoms ta striptease artist would would envy, and blubbery hips and stomach that are, would call them obscene. Don’t know have much more places to go, is it necessary to get to 110 pounds? Incidentally, my face and shoulders already look like I just came out of Auschwitz (Google if necessary…and it is NOT “a German theme park,” as you would be surprised how many people believe). Very discouraged.

    Reply
    • Ted

      It sounds like some of that could be loose skin. As we age skin becomes less elastic and can stretch and sag easily. You lost the fat but the skin that covered those areas is still the same size as it was before, possibly? You may have to give it some more time to return to a more normal state.

      Reply
      • Peter Petropolis

        Thanks for info. Am now down to 160, from shoulders up am a skeleton. Massive bosoms and immense blubber from shoulders down are, if anything, increasing in magnitude. Don’t know that many years left for improvement, but will hope for best. Thanks again and rgds.

        Reply
        • Marie

          You don’t know how much time you so keep working out use heavy weights with less reps so you can gain size and fill out your skin and eat more protein.

          Reply
    • Claire Hanson

      Try collagen (not fish oil) supplements daily for at least 6-12 months to give your skin the elasticity it needs to recover from weight loss and age and you should see your skin start to recover

      Reply
  16. Jacques Strap

    im a bloke and apparently i am obese, but then again i work out 2 hours a day…. weight means nothing because muscle is so much denser!

    Reply
    • Peter Petropolis

      What is a “bloke”? Sounds menacing somehow.
      Your name really is Jacques Strap?

      Reply
      • Ted

        a bloke means a man in Australia and New Zealand.

        Reply
      • good one

        hahahahaha

        Reply
  17. Nonty

    Great Read! I am a female currently weighing 62 kg from 75 kg and my goal is to be 59 kg for a healthy BMI as I’m short. I’ve noticed most of my weight came off from the lower body especially my thighs and my upper body hasn’t reduced much and I was a bit worried as I would have preferred losing stomach fat more than anything, but your article was enlightening, I’ll continue eating healthily and exercising till the belly flattens as well. Thanks!

    Reply