Dumping That Last Bit of Body fat
I’m often asked about the best ways to eliminate stubborn fat so I figured it’s time to do an in-depth series on the subject. There’s much to talk about and it would hard to cover everything in a single blog-post.
Let me start this discussion on clarifying exactly what I mean by “stubborn” body fat. This is that last layer of fat, typically around the midsection, inner thighs, and hips that persists after dieting and exercise has effectively leaned out the rest of the body.
To say this fat can be stubborn is an understatement. There’s no doubt that men and women alike can find that losing the last bit of fat to be extremely frustrating. This often conjures up thoughts of considering liposuction or other invasive techniques which aren’t always in your best interest.
Now before you go down that road it’s best to understand what makes some fat more stubborn that others and how to best go about reducing it. The reality is most people don’t understand the differences and thereby go about trying to lose that last bit of fat incorrectly.
The different types of fat in your body…
To put in bluntly, not all fat is created the same. The reason for this goes back to evolutionary processes where we evolved to hold onto certain fat stores as part of a built in survival mechanism. Quite simply we’re designed to store fat much more efficiently than burning it, especially so with women. After all the continuation of the species often depending on it.
Without getting into extensive detail on all the various levels and types of fats let me try and keep this simple for the purpose of this blog-post. I’ll have to get somewhat technical for a minute but stick with me.
What makes some fat stores different than others has to do with the receptors located on the fat cells themselves. Stubborn fat simply has different cell receptors compared to fat located in other parts of the body.
Understand that in order for fat to be removed it must be burned. It doesn’t get zapped, melted, or simply eliminated through the digestive tract like some quick-fix products will lead you to believe. Stored body fat is simple fuel and must be used for energy production and therefore “burned” off.
The process for “releasing” this stored fat is one where hormones attach to the receptors at the fat cells and work with activators to open the doors and release into the bloodstream. From there the fat can be shuttled to muscle cells where it can be burned for energy production.
Ok this is where it gets really interesting and somewhat complicated depending on how you look at it. I’ll do my best to explain what makes stubborn fat different without losing you.
Basically, there are two major groups of receptors in fat cells, alpha and beta.
Beta receptors are the active ones which respond well to the adrenal hormones and work to active lipase (an enzyme that breaks down fat). These are the good guys.
Specifically, it’s nor-adrenaline which is the hormone that lights them up. Adrenaline could do the same thing except it’s only transmitted through the blood stream. The sister hormone nor-adrenaline is actually transmitted through the central nervous system and therefore it can reach fat cells (which lack major arteries or veins) through nerve endings.
This will all be important later on in discussion through this blog – series . For now just know that beta receptors are the good guys and it’s nor-adrenaline that lights them up.
Alpha receptors on the other hand are antagonistic to fat burning. These are the bad guys. Alpha receptors, specifically A2′s, block lipase in the fat cell and decrease the generation of nor-adrenaline at the nerve sites. All you need to know is alpha receptors aren’t conducive to fat loss.
On a side note, I should point out the prolonged low-calorie dieting causes an increase in alpha receptors. This is a seldom discussed reason why “yo-yo” crash dieting makes it so hard to lose fat with each repeated attempt. Ok, you already know that crash dieting sucks so let’s move on. Diets don’t work folks – lifestyle management is the key .
I tell you all of that so you could get your head around this important difference.
Stubborn fat tissues have fewer beta receptors and more alpha receptors.
In short, they’re not giving up the fat very easily. Stingy they are for sure. To make matters worse stubborn fat tissues are also typically high in estrogen receptors and therefore very “estrogen sensitive.”
More on that in a minute…
Just know that some fat tissues have more beta receptors and therefore “let go” of their fat stores much easier. This is one of the reasons why when you see someone who’s lost a lot of weight it’s most noticeable in their face, neck, arms, and chest for example.
The last bit of stubborn fat you’re carrying around your waist, hips, or thighs is “wired” to be much more stingy with being released while simultaneously being designed to easily store fat due to the high number of estrogen receptors.
All this plays in to how you’ve got to go about your attack plan.
Before we get into specific strategies for breaking through and attacking this fat, let’s discuss how stubborn fat stores are most frequently increased.
What causes an increase in stubborn fat?
Ok, we all know that if you consume way more energy (calories) than your body needs, it responds over time to storing the excess as fat. That’s obvious.
What you may not know however are the ways in which stubborn fat stores can specifically be increased. Let’s get past the concepts of a crappy diet as it invariably leads to weight gain and insulin resistance issues over time.
More specifically you need to be aware that excess estrogen or exposure to estrogenic chemicals (xenoestrogens) can directly contribute to stubborn fat stores (or your inability to reduce them).
Excess estrogen often occurs due to the inability of the liver to break down and detoxify estrogenic substances or chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body.
I’m not going to get into all the chemicals and by-products of plastic that contain xenoestrogens, but it’s worth investigating and doing some homework. This could be the subject of a future blog-post.
From a dietary perspective what I will say is you’re best served to eliminate or significantly reduce your consumption of processed soy products and omega-6 vegetable oils like canola and corn.
I’d also suggest eating as much organic food as possible, thereby minimizing exposure to estrogenic substances like petroleum based fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and hormones found in conventional meat, poultry, and diary – yes folks DAIRY ! Yes , dairy not only causes an inflammatory affect – it causes significant resistance to proper fat breakdown ( weight loss ).
I know it’s wishful thinking to avoid plastic altogether in this day and age, but I’d certainly look for ways to reduce your exposure to foods packaged in plastic. Look for “BPA free” containers, water bottles, and the such.
Personally I’ve gotten into using a lot more glass storage, including mason jars and glass shake machines for my protein shakes, in spite of the awkward looks and jokes and I get from my not so informed co-workers.
Summary of how to prevent stubborn fat stores…
- Avoid repeated low-calorie “yo-yo” type diets which only serve to increase the number of A2 fat cell receptors (the bad guys).
- Avoid estrogenic foods and xenestrogens that contribute to excess estrogen in the body.
- Look to consume as much ORGANIC produce, meat, and dairy as possible.
- Dump the plastic when possible and look for “BPA free” containers for storage or water bottles.
- Avoid excess alcohol consumption (yes this increases estrogen, more in part 2)
- Follow a clean diet that works to stabilize insulin and improve sensitivity.
- Manage stress and get adequate sleep (hands down the most important lifestyle change)
- Exercise regularly ( everyday – minimum 3x per week )
In part two of this blog , we’ll move into dietary and supplemental strategies that can help get rid of stubborn fat.
As always feel free to send me your comments and questions .