How Body Fat Is Lost

Layer by Layer

Many people compare subcutaneous fat to the layers of an onion. Rather than disappearing from a particular place, it comes off layer by layer from the whole body.

Moreover, the way fat is shed is different from person to person. 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, for example, a man may complain of getting too 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 the hips may have barely moved in inch.

Excess skin is also an issue after excessive body fat loss. Unfortunately this skin won't just disappear, so many who have lost 100's of pounds may have to resort to surgery. A tummy tuck can be expensive, therefore those that have a lot of weight to lose should start saving from the beginning of the fat loss journey.

Complications of Cellulites

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.

Targeting Certain Areas

There are variations between men and women, and with the use of exercise.

  • Obese men tend to lose more visceral (internal) fat while obese women lose more subcutaneous fat.
  • Exercise seems to result in more subcutaneous fat loss. Diet alone results in more visceral fat loss (and less surface fat loss) (reference). This explains how you can lose weight - but not necessarily have any radical change in appearance.

Spot Reduction Is Not Workable

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. Neither will high-repetition (e.g. 20-30 reps) weight training 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.

Everybody is 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.

See also: Body Shape or Somatype


Updated Dec. 02, 2011