The Truth About Stubborn Body Fat (part I)
“Stubborn body fat.” Those
three words conjure up some very unpleasant images of those “last few
pounds” in those “hard to lose” places. In men, it’s the annoying
pockets we get right around our navel, lower abs, lower back, and sides
of the waist that make us want to leave our shirt on. In women, it’s the
“grandmother arms” tricep flab that sort of flaps around in the breeze
when you wave to someone… and those dreaded “saddlebags” – the upper
thigh, hips and butt area – especially that place where the back of your
thighs meet your gluteus maximii.
If you want to “minimize your maximus” and other trouble spots, I have a
theory about SO-CALLED “stubborn fat” and what to do about it. Some
people might not agree with me, holding fast to a belief that certain
fat cells are simply harder to burn due to some kind of alpha 2
receptors or hormonal anomaly, but I at least want to offer my
hypothesis for your consideration.
Even Bodybuilders Have “Localized” Fat Deposits
If you’ve seen my pictures, you might be shocked to hear that – like
many men - I store fat VERY easily on my lower abs. You might not even
believe me (unless you’re one of my college buddies, then you know what
I used to look like).
It’s true. I’ve had challenges losing lower ab fat just like everyone
else. I don’t call it “stubborn fat” though. I call it “localized fat.”
It was extremely challenging to lose the first time because I didn’t
know how the human body worked. I didn’t understand the weight
regulating mechanism, starvation mode, feedback loops, thyroid, leptin,
lipoprotein lipase, insulin, metabolic rate and so on. But I searched
for answers and eventually found them.
I was able to lose these localized abdominal fat by learning human
physiology and by changing my attitude towards the entire situation. I
definitely didn’t lose it by using some “magical” spot-reducing machine,
drug, supplement or “fat melting crème” because such an animal does not
Would YOU like to learn how to permanently lose localized fat deposits
no matter how “stubborn” you think they are – and do it the NATURAL WAY?
…The permanent way?…. so it never comes back?…. if so, then this might
be the most important article you ever read.
Do You Cling Onto Self-Limiting Beliefs?
A big part of the problem is that many people BELIEVE in stubborn fat so
much that they literally manifest more of it! I don’t know everything
about everything... heck, I’m just a “muscle head” from New Jersey… but
one thing I am 100% certain about is that if you walk around all day
long complaining, "I can’t get rid of this stubborn
fat!", well, my friend, you aint gettin’ rid of the fat! No person ever
became successful by thinking about failure all day long.
The ironic thing is, nearly ever email I receive from distraught
overweight people starts off with, “Help Tom, I CANT LOSE THIS FAT!”
It’s rarely, “Hey, Tom I know I can lose this fat, I just need some
coaching. Teach me how to lose it. Show me what to eat and how to
exercise. Just tell me what it takes and I’ll do it.” Nope, hardly ever
get emails like that.
I don’t believe in "stubborn fat.” There is no such thing as stubborn
fat in the sense that one pocket of fat does not burn in the same way
that all the other fat on your body burns – There is only “stubborn fat”
if you’re referring to certain areas as being
the LAST place to go.
Genetics and Fat Storage
To explain energy in – energy out, I’ve often likened the body to a bank
account when referring to caloric energy deposits. Ironically, however,
the body is NOT at all like a bank account with respect to fat
withdrawals. You could deposit 20 five dollar bills, 10 ten dollar bills
and 5 twenty dollar bills in that order, and you’d have $300 stored in
your account. If you wanted to take out $100, you could selectively
withdraw the FIRST $100 you deposited - the 20 five-dollar bills. Body
fat cannot be withdrawn this way.
Fat storage patterns are genetic. The first place you store fat is where
you’re genetically predisposed to deposit it. Over the years, I’ve
measured body fat on thousands of people. It’s always been interesting
to see the disparities in the places that individuals store fat. I’ve
seen women with very small iliac crest (hip bone)
skinfolds of only 4-5 millimeters in thickness, but they have very large
tricep skinfolds (20 millimeters or more). I’ve seen guys with arms and
legs that were ripped and veiny, with 3 millimeter skinfolds, while
still having a roll of lower ab fat.
It’s very frustrating for many people to be lean in most of their body
while still storing fat in one localized spot, but it’s actually more
common than having fat
spread evenly throughout the body.
Most men store fat first in the lower abdominals, sides of the waist and
lower back. Women tend to store fat first in the hips, upper thighs, and
often the back of the arms. As body fat percentage increases further,
you will continue to deposit fat in those spots and everywhere else on
your body - even your face and fingers. Once deposited, you can’t
selectively choose where you withdraw the fat – you will lose fat all
over your body and it will more or less come off in reverse order: The
first place you put it on will be the last place it comes off.
Spot Reduction STILL Doesn't Work
You might have the desire to remove the fat on these concentrated,
localized fatty spots first, but unfortunately, that’s not how human
physiology works. In fitness lingo, we call this “spot reduction.”
It’s the idea that you can do certain exercises, rub cream on one part
of your body, or take a certain drug, and it will melt the fat off one
part of your body and one part only. The idea is wrong - spot reduction
is physiologically impossible.
Not only do most people believe in stubborn fat, they also believe in
spot reduction. Unethical marketers, without a shred of integrity, have
taken advantage of this fact for years by selling worthless gimmicks
which claim to remove fat from a specific area.
Every year, promotional articles and advertisements come out claiming
that a breakthrough has been made and spot reduction is “now possible.”
The infamous “cellulite cream” is one spot reduction scam that never
seems to go away – it keeps popping up with a new name wearing different
Other spot reduction scams include abdominal machines, ab rollers, ab
wheels, electronic stimulators, pills, soaps, wraps, girdles, and so on
– all of which claim to remove fat from the stomach, thighs or other
specific areas. Some of the exercise machines are effective at
developing the muscles underneath the fat, so they aren’t totally
worthless, but the claims of local fat loss are where they fail.
No matter how many times we fitness professionals give this speech:
“Spot reduction doesn’t work – it’s a myth,” the public still wants to
believe so desperately that it IS possible, that they keep plunking down
their hard-earned cashola, scam after scam after scam, hoping that
science has finally produced the real McCoy.
I’ve read the ads for these new topical fat burners and they can be
EXTREMELY persuasive. They quote scientific studies and get testimonials
from big names, some of whom you would assume are very trustworthy. But
ethics often melt quickly in the rays of big money endorsements.
Let me save you a lot of time, money and frustration: “Spot reducing”
products are not effective for permanent fat loss and never will be. Do
not waste your money!
The good news is that if you learn the physiology of fat loss –which is
really quite simple – and if you work with your body naturally, you can
lose ANY fat. All you need is a little bit of patience, persistence and
some good old-fashioned hard work.
The Truth About Stubborn Fat
Here’s why these fatty areas appear “stubborn” and why people continue
to call it "stubborn” fat: By the time someone loses enough fat overall
to be down to that last localized “pocket” (the place they put it on
first), most people have caused metabolic and hormonal damage from
overly restrictive dieting. THAT is what makes the last fat harder to
lose; not because the thigh/butt/tricep/ab fat cells themselves are more
stubborn, but because you’re simply not burning as many calories as you
For example, if a you’re a guy with a total daily energy expenditure of
2800 per day and you stay on 1500 calories per day for 90 days
(starvation diet), then according to the mathematical calories in versus
calories out calculations, you’ve accumulated a 117,000-calorie deficit.
With 3500 calories in a pound of fat, that means you should have lost
33.4 pounds of fat. But you didn’t!! You lost maybe 19 pounds and then
got stuck at a plateau with that last bit of lower ab flab still
defiantly clinging to your waistline. Why? Because you’re no longer
BURNING 2800 calories per day!!! Your metabolic fire has dwindled to a
weak flicker. There is no longer a 1300 calorie per day deficit.
In other words, you hit a plateau – metabolically and hormonally. Your
fat-burning hormones and enzymes have decreased. Your metabolic rate is
depressed. You’ve lost lean mass, which has slowed your metabolism even
further (and permanently so until you put that muscle back on through
weight training and eating like a human being instead of a mouse). Last,
but certainly not least, your appetite has gone haywire and you seem to
get constant cravings that are practically irresistible.
If you had not slowed down your metabolism and created an unfavorable
hormonal environment due to improper dieting and lack of exercise, you
would not be stuck and that last bit of fat would just continue to come
right off just like the rest of it did – it would be the very LAST place
to come off, but it WOULD come right off.
Your solution for losing the last bit of localized fat is to avoid
metabolic slowdown in the first place and then to patiently and
persistently follow through until you’re as lean as you want to be. In
part two, I’ll reveal the all natural Venuto methods for losing even the
very last bit of localized fat – even if you’ve tried everything and
have never been able to lose it before. Stay tuned. (In the meantime,
you can get more information on my complete natural fat burning system
About The Author
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural
bodybuilder, personal trainer, gym owner, freelance writer and author of "Burn
the Fat, Feed The Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World's
Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models.
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