We all gain and lose weight a little differently, with some places putting on weight or slimming down before others. So where do you lose weight first, and why does weight loss occurs faster from some parts of the body and slower from others?
Which Areas Are More Prone to Gaining Weight?
Research shows that regional fat loss depends on your sex (not your workout routine!). In women the first place the fat is stored, tends to be the last place the fat comes off (unlike men).
Women store fat in their lower bodies, this includes the upper thighs, hips and butt and also on the back of their upper arms. However, after the menopause this changes when estrogen levels decrease and women start to accumulate more fat in the abdomen (like men).
Men tend to store fat around their waist and thus struggle with abdominal fat, which includes their lower abs, lower back, the sides of their waist and visceral fat (harmful fat).
If your weight keeps rising, you simply continue to deposit fat all over your body, including your face and even hands.
Which Areas Lose Weight First?
Generally weight loss is most noticeable early on in areas where there is little fat, such as the clavicles.
Women tend to lose weight all over, and experience fat loss first in their belly, breasts, and arms. Generally the last area they lose weight is from their lower body (hips and thighs).
Depending on body shape, men generally tend to lose fat first from their trunk, followed by their arms and then their legs. This means that although men tend to store abdominal fat, it is also one of the first place they lose it. Therefore, men tend not to struggle with “stubborn” fat as much as women.
Why do Women Hold on to Weight on their Lower Body?
- Fat cells have two types of receptor: Alpha-receptor (inhibits the breakdown of fat) & Beta-receptor (stimulates the breakdown of fat). Women have more of the receptors that inhibit the breakdown of fat (alpha-receptors) in their hip and thigh region than in their abdominal region.
- Women have 3 to 5 times more of an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) that stimulates fat storage in their lower body than their upper body.
- An enzyme (hormone-sensitive lipase) that stimulates fat breakdown is very slow in releasing fat from the lower abdomen in women.
It is thought that the predisposition of women to storing fat in the lower body is for protection of their reproductive organs.
However, you cannot spot reduce. You cannot, do an exercise and lose fat only from one place. In order for you to lose weight from a particular area you have to lose fat everywhere.
What’s the best way to lose weight?
Combine four groups of exercise into your weekly workout program:
- Moderate-intensity cardio
- HIIT. By mixing intense bursts with slower periods, intervals torch calories faster than exercising at a steady pace. A study found that after only two routine of interval training, women burned 36% more fat!
- Strength training
You need to get strict with your diet, which doesn’t simply mean reducing your caloric intake further.
- Calculate your calorie requirements. Remember if you’ve already lost some weight, recalculate your calorie needs as you may require fewer calories.
- Small frequent meals.
- Choose complex carbohydrates, and reduce refined carbs.
- High-quality protein and carbohydrates.
Total calories determine how much weight a person gains or loses. Macronutrient ratios can influence what a person gains or loses, and how easy it is to lose weight.
Macronutrient ratios can help you to lose fat and retain (or gain) muscle tissue, preventing the loss of muscle that often occurs during weight loss. This macronutrient calculator can help with determining macros.
- Protein plays an important role in maintaining muscle mass, especially during weight loss, when some muscle is inevitably lost. Include protein with all your meals.
- Watch your fat intake, but don’t restrict it too much, as the body requires some fat for you to feel satiated and thus to avoid cravings.
- Carbs are a much discussed and vilified macronutrient, but mostly because of the overabundance of refined and processed carbohydrates (e.g. foods high in sugar). Complex carbohydrates are healthy and make up part of a healthy, balanced diet.
- Complex carbs such as vegetables in combination with healthy fats and lean protein makes the ideal meal or snack.