“There are two types of fat; white fat cells and brown fat cells,” explains Joannah Pearce, nutritionist and body expert at Body Catalyst. “White fat cells typically accumulate in areas like the butt, thighs, abdomen, arms, and breasts. The function of these fat cells is to store energy and regulate our hormones.”
“Brown fat cells, on the other hand, are typically found around the neck/collarbone. The function of these cells is to heat the body. White fat cells (otherwise known as ‘white adipose tissue’) aren’t as metabolically active as brown fat cells (which burn calories to generate heat), which is why those areas like the waist/thighs/butt (which contain more brown fat cells) tend to be harder to shift.”
Joannah explains that several factors contribute to where and why we store fat in our body—genetics, stress, medication, environmental factors, diet, exercise, and age, furthermore, where your body stores fat is also often indicative of what’s happening on a hormonal level within the body.
Here are some of the reasons why fat is harder to shift in specific parts of your body—and of course, what you can do about it, according to Joannah:
How to get rid of body fat and why we store fat in different parts of our body…
Back of the hips
Usually associated with elevated insulin levels.
Besides our not liking their look, love handles can underlie a more serious issues such as heart disease, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes. The best way to monitor your insulin levels is via nutrition and exercise. The first step would be to reduce the consumption of all types of refined sugar, such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, and chocolate. Step two would be to practice mindful eating. Keeping a food journal is an easy way to keep up with mindful eating. Apps such as MyFitnessPal or Recovery Record are great at keeping track of what you are eating. Having a visual record of your daily diet will make you mindful of what you eat and how your body feels after each meal.
Furthermore, exercise is key to keeping a healthy metabolic balance. To target a slim waistline, cardio exercises such as swimming a winner or HIIT will help bulge the stubborn fat accumulation. If you don’t have time to exercise daily, try a few short workouts at home, including bird dog crunches, side plank with leg raise, spider crunch, and single-leg toe touches.
Usually associated with elevated estrogen levels—the primary female sex hormone.
The thigh structure and gap depend on how the muscle is formed. People with low muscle tone struggle to shred the excess fat in this area. The key is toning up the muscle and burning the excess fat. A combination of cardio workouts and inner and outer thigh routines will get you those dream legs. Cardio workouts such as bike programs between 5-6 times per week for 20-30mins will encourage healthy fat loss, then combine it with an inner thigh routine including leg lifts with a stability ball, sumo squats, hamstring curls with stability balls, lateral lunges, and side-to-side walk with an elastic band.
Adding resistance elastic band workouts will help build stronger muscles and tone up the thighs. As we know, the power of protein to bulk up the muscle, consuming good fats such as avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, and salmon helps lose weight.
Back of arms
Usually associated with Low testosterone levels and elevated insulin level
Poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, or a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to lowering your testosterone levels in the body. Testosterone is a hormone found mainly in men, but women have a baseline amount that enhances the sex drive, energy, and building muscles; therefore, the lower the level, the more likely your arms will be flabbier and less toned.
To reduce the fat accumulation in this area, it is important to increase the consumption of organic protein sources such as meat, chicken, eggs, beans, and legumes and set up an arms exercise routine that will consist of lifting weights.
Mix up your weekly cardio workouts by adding a session or two of intervals, which involve alternating high-intensity bursts with low-intensity ones. Actively reduce stress by attending a yoga class, meditating, and delegating duties at work or home. A quality seven to nine hours of sleep per night also helps weight loss by regulating hunger hormones and giving you energy for workouts.
Usually associated with hormones such as elevated estrogen, insulin, and cortisol (our stress hormone).
This is the most common place for storing body fat and the most dangerous. Increased belly fat increases our risk of heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and blood sugar. How do we get rid of belly fat? Firstly, start with the diet and start eating more fat-burning foods, mainly fresh and whole foods. Eliminate all processed foods and focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, and legumes. As your diet becomes cleaner, your body will use the excess fat for energy production.
Then, stay away from sugar, liquid calories, and grains. Although grains are high in fiber, they may cause bloating; therefore, opt for fruits and vegetables for your daily fiber intake. Eat mindfully and watch your portions, the quality of your products, and the times you eat.
Try to eat smaller portions regularly and aim to have your last meal before 8 pm. Also, intermittent fasting has proven to show fast and effective results in losing belly fat. However, intermittent fasting requires expert advice, so consult a nutritionist or a dietitian before starting any diet. On the other hand, HITT workouts, reducing your stress level, and sleeping longer will also contribute to reducing fat.
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