A flabby gut, bingo wings and a couple of extra chins, it’s easy to see where the fat goes when we gain weight, but when you start losing weight, where does the excess fat go and where can you expect to lose it from?
I’m sure you’ve seen many headlines in fitness and health articles citing special workouts you can do to get rid of awkward fat in individual places, the scientific evidence however tells of a different story, here are somethings you should know about bodyfat and weight loss.
You Can’t Edit Your Shape, Just Your Size
Sadly you cannot edit the individual places where you would want to lose bodyfat, weight loss is not just a point and click affair.
Doctors have used MRI’s, CT scans and Dexa scans to measure body composition and have found no evidence of individual spot reduction on bodyfat. Susan Fried, the director of the Boston obesity and nutrition research center in the Boston university school of medicine had this to say on the matter: ‘when we lose weight, we lose it in a proportional manner to how it is stored in our bodies’.
For example, a pear shaped woman will remain a pear shape even after losing weight, the same as men in general are apple shaped with larger bellies than the rest of there body, your body will still retain it’s original shape after weight loss, this was the case with Maggie Sorrells aged 37 who weighed over 500 pounds with a pear shape, she reduced her portion sizes and attended weekly weight loss meetings. She began to notice her 73-inch hips getting smaller and in less than five years she had lost nearly 300 pounds! ‘i’m still a pear shape’ Maggie explains ‘although a much smaller one’.
Another example of your body staying the same shape during weight loss is found with Joe Dragon aged 34,
an insurance company supervisor based in New York who weighed a colossal 425 pounds before beginning a hard workout regime, the main weight was in his stomach: ‘I was never very heavy at the bottom, it was more on my gut area’ says the 34 year old, ‘ I now have a flat stomach were before I had a huge butterball!’.
Where It’s Stored
Like Joe, many men store fat around there abdomen and belly area making them apple shaped, this is known as visceral fat. This is classed as a dangerous type of bodyfat because it surrounds abdominal organs and is metabolically active, it essentially interferes with your bodies mechanisms.
The fat cells stored there can release biochemicals causing inflammation, this can lead to heart attacks, strokes as well as joint and muscle pain, Dr. Blackstone, a well-known surgeon and medical director at Scottsdale health care bariatric center in Arizona says that ‘These biochemicals and toxins can accumulate in the liver and create many issues going forwards’.
‘You can think of fat as an energy source, when you need energy fat is broken down into free fatty acid and sent to the liver for energy. With excess bodyfat, your liver cannot process all of it, so instead it is stored.’
This can in turn trigger a whole host of problems including non-alcoholic liver disease, insulin resistance and diabetes.
The fat in the hips causes the most alarm as it is most visible, also known as ‘subcutaneous’ fat, whilst it looks unsightly it is much less harmful than internal abdominal fat.
So Where Does That Fat Go?
When people consume more energy than they burn fat cells expand, when exercising and losing weight they sh
rink, ‘The fat is a very specialized cell as it takes the fat we eat and stores it in the form of triglycerides’ says Fried, who researches how fat is stored, ‘this process is done for the purpose of releasing the cells when other parts of the body need it’.
An average human carries between 10 and 30 billion fat cells, whereas an obese person can carry upto 100 billion, overeating will cause more fat cells, however losing weight does not get rid of these cells.
The size of the cell shrinks down, but the capacity to expand again is still there, liposuction helps remove these fat cells and is ideal for people who are not obese, although the fat cells are being removed it doesn’t mean the remaining fat cells cannot get bigger.
This short article should clear up and misconceptions you have about where the fat goes in your body when you lose weight as a lot of people are unsure on this subject, please feel free to comment below.