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.
Where Does Fat Disappear First?
Do you find when you lose fat it disappears from the places you want to stay big?
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?
- 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.
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|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 the upper area of the upper arm – typically covering the triceps 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.|
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
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?
- 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 a regimented plan and your fat loss has stalled, it may be time for something different.
- You May Not Be Eating Enough! Learn why low calories could be sabotaging you here.
- Learn about the Flexible Diet here
- See our macronutrient amounts for weight loss calculator
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.