All fat is not equal. The truth is, some areas of fat are easier to lose than others. So if it seems like fat comes off in some places and not in others, you’re not imagining things.
Working toward a healthy body weight is a noble goal, and our team at Creekside Family Practice is here to help. Hammad Qureshi, MD, specializes in medically supervised weight loss programs customized to meet each patient’s needs.
In this blog, Dr. Qureshi explains the science behind fat and weight loss.
The types of fat
There are two basic types of fat — white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue — and they both have different purposes.
White adipose tissue (WAT)
White adipose tissue is what most people think of when they hear “fat.” WAT cells store energy from the food you eat. If you consume excess calories, the cells get larger, and this is what causes weight gain.
Brown adipose tissue (BAT)
Brown adipose tissue burns energy instead of storing it. If you get cold, BAT cells activate and begin burning calories to warm you up. It helps you maintain a healthy body temperature. Most BAT is found around major organs and blood vessels.
Common fatty areas, such as your abdomen and thighs, usually contain a combination of WAT and BAT. Both types of fat are essential for health, but too much or too little can throw your hormones and body functions out of balance.
Location and weight loss
WAT and BAT make up the fat in your body, but where this fat is located usually determines how hard it will be to take off.
Fat that’s located deep inside your abdomen is called visceral fat. It cushions organs and blood vessels, and small amounts of visceral fat are important for your overall health.
Excess visceral fat can pose serious health risks, but when you embark on a healthy diet and exercise plan, this fat is often the first to disappear. This means you’re likely to notice weight loss in your abdominal area first.
Too much visceral fat can make your belly protrude. If your belly is hard and not squishy, it’s likely due to an excess of visceral fat. This can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Fat that’s located just below the surface of your skin is called subcutaneous fat. It’s the kind of fat that you can pinch on your stomach, legs, and arms. It pads and protects your bones and muscles and also acts as an energy reserve for your body. A healthy amount of subcutaneous fat actually helps protect you from overeating and Type 2 diabetes.
When excess visceral fat is burned, the body then begins tackling excess subcutaneous fat. Unfortunately, subcutaneous fat is harder to lose. Subcutaneous fat is more visible, but it takes more effort to lose because of the function it serves in your body.
If you have too much subcutaneous fat, this can increase the amount of WAT in your body. People who are overweight or obese may have high WAT levels and experience hormonal changes, which can increase their risk of developing chronic health issues.
Get help achieving a healthy weight
Trying to lose weight in specific areas of your body with targeted exercises usually isn’t effective. If you want to lose subcutaneous fat around your hips or thighs, for example, the best way to achieve your goal is to adopt a whole-body wellness routine that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet.
At Creekside Family Practice, Dr. Qureshi and our team can develop a customized program to help you see results. We offer nutritional support, exercise plans, and the accountability you need to make a difference in your weight and health. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Creekside Family Practice today.
Which fat is easier to lose? ›
Visceral fat is actually easier to lose than subcutaneous fat. This is because it metabolizes quicker and your body can get rid of it as sweat or pee. If you start regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet, you should start to see results in two to three months.Why do some people lose fat easier? ›
Muscle mass matters
If someone has more muscle mass than you, they are likely to lose more weight (whilst eating more calories). This is because muscle is directly related to metabolic rate and the amount of energy your body burns.
Some people seem to lose weight more quickly and more easily than others. But everyone loses weight by burning more calories than are eaten. The bottom line is calories count. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories or burn more calories through physical activity.Is soft fat easier to lose? ›
Compared to men, women are more likely to store soft fat in their bellies. Luckily, soft fat is considerably easy to lose. With regular exercise and a healthy diet, soft belly fat may melt on its own.Is it easier to lose fat if you're fat? ›
The goal is to proceed at sustainable pace and one that does not compromise health or performance. That said, generally speaking, the heavier you are the easier it is to shed those first few fat pounds simply because you can eat more than a lighter person (the heavier you are the more calories you burn).Is being fat easier to lose weight? ›
on 17 May, 2022. Years of sedentary living and excess food intake gradually make people overweight or obese, but once they control their calorie intake and increase their physical activity, obese individuals can lose weight much faster than their leaner counterparts.Is some body fat harder to lose? ›
Unfortunately, subcutaneous fat is harder to lose. Subcutaneous fat is more visible, but it takes more effort to lose because of the function it serves in your body. If you have too much subcutaneous fat, this can increase the amount of WAT in your body.Why is my fat so stubborn to lose? ›
Some fat cells have receptors that allow easy access to the fat stored within, while others have receptors that tend to protect the fat. Abdominal fat cells tend to have the receptors that do not allow for easy release of fat; this is the key to why belly fat is so resistant to weight loss efforts.Why can't some people lose fat? ›
If you have a slow metabolism, your genes may be to blame. Or you may not have enough lean muscle mass. People with lean, muscular bodies burn more calories than people with a higher percentage of body fat.At what age is it harder to lose fat? ›
As we reach our 30's, our bodies usually need less energy, meaning we may not be able to eat the way we did in our 20's. Then, as you move past 40 and head to middle age, changes in muscle, hormones and metabolism all make it harder to stay trim.
What foods slow metabolism? ›
Foods high in fat are difficult to digest and can slow down metabolism. Carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes, full-fat curd, parathas, a plate of brown rice, and whole milk can also help slow down a fast metabolism.How are people naturally skinny? ›
If you diet and hit the gym regularly but are not seeing the results you hope for, it could be down to your genes. In a new study, thin people were shown to have specific gene regions in their DNA keeping them slim, while also having fewer gene variants that have been linked to being overweight.Where is the hardest place to lose fat? ›
As against areas such as legs, face and arms, our stomach and abdominal regions possess beta cells that makes it difficult to reduce the fats easily and lose weight in these areas. However, as per research, belly fat is the most difficult to lose as the fat there is so much harder to break down.How do you get rid of jiggly fat? ›
You can lose stubborn jiggly fat by modifying your lifestyle to include regular aerobic exercise, strength conditioning and proper nutrition.How do you know your body is burning fat? ›
You'll see changes in your body composition. Losing pounds or losing inches is the primary sign you're burning fat. It leads to a slimmer appearance and more muscle definition. Your exercise stamina increases, and you are getting fitter.How to speed up metabolism? ›
- Exercise more. Add interval training to your cardio routine and burn more calories in less time. ...
- Weight train. Add muscle mass to your body and you can burn more calories at rest. ...
- Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. ...
- Eat fat-burning foods. ...
- Get a good night's sleep every night.
As your body metabolizes fat, fatty acid molecules are released into the bloodstream and travel to the heart, lungs, and muscles, which break them apart and use the energy stored in their chemical bonds. The pounds you shed are essentially the byproducts of that process.How long does it take to lose 30 pounds? ›
Setting a realistic time frame
Generally, most health experts recommend aiming for about 1–3 pounds (0.5–1.4 kg) of weight loss per week, or approximately 1% of your total body weight ( 33 , 34 ). Therefore, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to lose 30 pounds safely.
How can I reduce visceral fat?
- exercising for at least 30 minutes every day (for example by brisk walking, cycling, aerobic exercise and strength training)
- eating a healthy diet.
- not smoking.
- reducing sugary drinks.
- getting enough sleep.
For example, a person weighing 300 pounds (136 kg) may lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg) after reducing their daily intake by 1,000 calories and increasing physical activity for 2 weeks.
Why is my belly fat so soft? ›
In most people, about 90% of body fat is subcutaneous, the kind that lies in a layer just beneath the skin. If you poke your belly, the fat that feels soft is subcutaneous fat. The remaining 10% — called visceral or intra-abdominal fat — lies out of reach, beneath the firm abdominal wall.What foods cause visceral fat? ›
One of them is trans fats, which are found in meats and dairy as well as in deep-fried or processed foods. Also bad are sodas, candy, processed baked goods, and other foods sweetened with fructose.Why am I losing weight but my stomach is still big? ›
You're Into the Wrong Foods
Unhealthy eating is the biggest driver of big bellies. Too many starchy carbohydrates and bad fats are a recipe for that midsection to expand. Instead, get plenty of veggies, choose lean proteins, and stay away from fats from red meats.
Most research recommends between 150–300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly, or roughly 20–40 minutes of cardio each day (41). Running, walking, cycling and swimming are just a few examples of some cardio exercises that can help burn fat and kick-start weight loss.Can fat cells be destroyed naturally? ›
You were born with tens of billions of fat cells and they aren't going anywhere. You'll likely have them, and maybe more, for the entirety of your life. That's because, while you can't naturally destroy fat cells, you can add more adipose tissue. And once it's there, it doesn't go away, either.What medical conditions stop you losing weight? ›
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related condition that affects millions of women. ...
- Hypothyroidism. ...
- Insulin Resistance. ...
- Hormonal Changes. ...
- Mental Health Conditions.
- Eat enough protein at every meal. Consuming adequate amounts of protein is extremely important. ...
- Engage in regular exercise. ...
- Maintain a moderate weight. ...
- Take care of your gut health. ...
- Lower your sugar intake. ...
- Try stress reduction techniques.
Muscle is denser than fat.
While one pound of fat weighs the same as one pound of muscle, muscle occupies about 18 percent less space. In addition, muscle burns calories while fat stores them. So, if your weight isn't decreasing but your clothes are starting to fit more loosely, you may be building muscle.
Here's something to ponder as you consider whether to ditch that New Year's resolution to exercise more: Your 20s are your prime weight-gaining years, according to data from the CDC. The charts above are approximations of typical lifetime weight gain, based on CDC data, which is reported in 10-year increments.Is it harder to lose weight after age 70? ›
Losing weight after turning 70 is a lot like losing weight after turning 30 or 40 or 50: It's often way harder than you think it is going to be. But it is also very doable, and if your health depends on it, it's very worth it.
At what age does weight begin to decline? ›
Men often gain weight until about age 55, and then begin to lose weight later in life. This may be related to a drop in the male sex hormone testosterone. Women usually gain weight until age 65, and then begin to lose weight.What blocks your metabolism? ›
A shift in your hormones can put the brakes on your body's energy use. That can make you tired. Some conditions, like an underactive or overactive thyroid and diabetes, are hormonal diseases that affect your metabolism. Stress also releases hormones that can trigger a slow-down.
Seven Metabolic Superfoods to Boost Metabolism
- Flaxseeds. ...
- Brazil nuts. ...
- Broccoli. ...
- Spinach. ...
- Kale. ...
- Chickpeas. ...
- Chia seeds.
People with more muscle mass often have faster metabolisms that burn more calories. Age: You lose muscle as you get older, which slows down the metabolism. Sex: Males tend to have faster metabolisms than females. They have more muscle mass, larger bones and less body fat.Why are skinny people healthy? ›
Many underweight people are physically healthy. Low body weight is due to a variety of causes, including: Genetics. If you've been thin since high school and it runs in your family, it's likely that you were born with a higher-than-usual metabolism.Is Skinniness genetic? ›
The 'skinny' gene
The gene may play a role in resisting weight gain in the metabolically healthy, thin people. It is found in the hypothalamus, the region in the brain responsible for controlling appetite and how a person controls fat.
Research has found that men tend to lose more weight from their trunk area, while women lose more weight from their hips.Where is the first place fat goes? ›
The first place men typically lose weight is the belly, while women tend to lose weight all over, but hold onto weight in their thighs and hips, Dr. Block explains.Where does most fat leave the body? ›
You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it's lost as urine or sweat. If you lose 10 pounds of fat, precisely 8.4 pounds comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6 pounds turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.Which body type gets fat easily? ›
Endomorph You tend to have more body fat than the other body types in this framework. Catudal says that women who are endomorphs may be described as curvaceous, while men may be called stocky. You tend to carry weight in your belly, hips, and thighs.
Does old fat take longer to lose? ›
Yes, unfortunately. Although it is possible to lose weight at any age, several factors make it harder to lose weight with age. Even those who remain active lose muscle mass every decade beginning in their 30s, research suggests, replacing it with fat.What is the most stubborn fat in the body? ›
The most stubborn fat of all is subcutaneous fat, and for females it is much more difficult to lose this type of fat compared to men because it holds 9 to 10 times more alpha receptors than male body fat.Which is the hardest fat to burn? ›
As against areas such as legs, face and arms, our stomach and abdominal regions possess beta cells that makes it difficult to reduce the fats easily and lose weight in these areas. However, as per research, belly fat is the most difficult to lose as the fat there is so much harder to break down.What area of fat is the hardest to lose? ›
Unfortunately, subcutaneous fat is harder to lose. Subcutaneous fat is more visible, but it takes more effort to lose because of the function it serves in your body. If you have too much subcutaneous fat, this can increase the amount of WAT in your body.Which fat is best for weight loss? ›
- Weight loss: Olive oil is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)
- Weight loss: Avocados are rich in healthy fats.
- Ghee is packed with omega-3 fatty acid DHA along with omega-6 fatty acids.
- Nuts are filling which can help check cravings.