Stubborn Fat : The Facts

EVERYONE walking the face of this earth has an abundance of
fat cells throughout their bodies. In fact, if you’re a healthy
adult with normal body composition, you have approximately
30 billion fat cells. This is an astronomical number when you
think about it. Did you ever wonder why you have so many?
Have you ever wondered what those fat cells are for?

Fat Cells Are Genetically Programmed

The answer is, fat cells are part of our genetic code and they
enable us to use stored energy when food is scarce. This survival
mechanism works very much the same today as it did 10,000
years ago. However, there is an abundance of food in modern
society today, and we no longer need to store so much fat to
survive.

When you consume too many calories, your body goes into
storage mode for the “lean times,” so to speak, but the lean
time never comes. So your body simply stores those extra
calories as fat. When you eat fewer calories than your body
demands, your cells release stored fat for energy. Pretty simple
equation; however, not all fat is the same.

Placement of Fat Deposits in Your Body

The placement of fat deposits on our bodies varies depending on
each person’s genetic influences, lifestyle choices, and nutritional intake.

Men tend to store their body fat around their
bellies and chest. Women tend to store it around their hips,
buttocks, thighs, and the backs of their arms. A complete
discussion of hormones and fat storage is beyond the scope of
this article, but let it suffice to say that certain hormonal
processes do determine body fat distribution.

The Primary Factor in Failing to Lose Fat

Many people who attempt to lose body fat fail to account for
one major factor, a stumbling block to long-term success. They
approach fat loss and fitness with great enthusiasm and
determination and, with this attitude, they lose body fat and
feel great. Even so, they just can’t seem to get rid of all the fat
they want to. They lose fat successfully for a time, but ultimately
get stuck just before all of the fat is completely gone.

This is commonly known as a plateau, and this phenomenon
causes many people who were previously successful to lose their
enthusiasm and return to their old ways. When old habits take
over again – and this happens to the majority of dieters – the
body fat comes back with a vengeance. This is due to
programming of the fat cell. Each time you try to lose body fat
again, it seems to take longer and require more effort.

The Solution to Stubborn Fat

So what is the real solution? It’s simple: you must understand
how fat cells work and how to move past the plateau
phenomenon and lose the last bit of body fat-what we call
“stubborn fat.”

I have worked with many clients and I would say most of them
have a good amount of stubborn body fat. This fat is literally
programmed to be very difficult to lose. It seems to remain on
our bodies no matter what we do, hence the phrase stubborn
fat. Most modern diets and weight loss programs seem to work
in the beginning, but they never really address this crucial part
of fat loss -the last bit of stubborn fat.

Your Hormones and Stubborn Fat
Stubborn fat develops when your hormonal pathways are
broken down. Age does play a role in this: fat deposits increase
and become more resistant to fat loss methods as you get older.

This you have little control over, but some things that lead to
stubborn fat development are under your control. Yo-yo dieting
is one of them. Losing weight on crash diets and then regaining
it-often known as the “ebound effect” – only increase
stubborn fat in the long run. A decrease in exercise and activity
level also compounds the stubborn fat problem. This is why
people who crash-diet on low calories and refuse to exercise
often have the worst stubborn fat problems of all.

Our ancestors really never had to deal with this problem
because they moved and engaged in physical labor as a regular
part of daily life, whereas technological conveniences and the
modern lifestyle have caused many of us to become lazy and
inactive.

Stubborn fat is metabolized extremely slowly and resists the
hormonal process that takes place when the fat burning process
starts up. To burn fat, the adrenal hormones (better known as
adrenaline and noradrenaline) attach to the fat cell receptors
and essentially “open them up” so the fat can be used in the
energy pathways. There are two kinds of receptors in your fat
cells: one is alpha and the other beta. The beta receptors are
much more active and respond to adrenal hormones. To lose
body fat, the adrenal hormones switch on and the body begins
to use fat as energy. However, in the case of people with
stubborn fat, this does not occur, so no body fat is lost.

According to my good friend and colleague Ori Hofmekler,
author of The Warrior Diet, stubborn fat has a lower ratio of beta
receptors to alpha receptors. Therefore, your body’s hormonal
“fat dissolver,” adrenaline, is unable to enter the fat cell and
open the door. Hofmekler also points out that “to make these
matters worse, stubborn fat has more estrogen receptors, which
cause even more stubborn fat.”

If all this sounds bad enough, what makes it even worse is that if
you indulge in the typical modern diet and sedentary lifestyle,
this often results in insulin sensitivity. (For more information,
read my past article on “Insulin Sensitivity.”) On top of
everything else, your fat tissue becomes so incredibly resistant
to your attempts to lose it, it seems like you will be stuck with it
forever.

Why Dieting Alone Doesn’t Work

Diets fail because they only look at the caloric reduction side of
the equation. You need to understand the other variables in the
equation – exercise and lifestyle. You must understand the
deeper issues you are really dealing with. Getting rid of
stubborn fat is not nearly as simple as just slashing calories and
dieting. Stubborn fat is the result of a complex interplay of
biological and hormonal processes – all of which are affected by
how you eat, how you move, and the type of lifestyle you lead.

The Crucial Question

Now that you understand why you have stubborn fat, right
down to the hormone and receptor level, the question is: How
do you alter your nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle to get rid if this
EVERYONE walking the face of this earth has an abundance of
fat cells throughout their bodies. In fact, if you’re a healthy
adult with normal body composition, you have approximately
30 billion fat cells. This is an astronomical number when you
think about it. Did you ever wonder why you have so many?
Have you ever wondered what those fat cells are for?

Fat Cells Are Genetically Programmed

The answer is, fat cells are part of our genetic code and they
enable us to use stored energy when food is scarce. This survival
mechanism works very much the same today as it did 10,000
years ago. However, there is an abundance of food in modern
society today, and we no longer need to store so much fat to
survive.

When you consume too many calories, your body goes into
storage mode for the “lean times,” so to speak, but the lean
time never comes. So your body simply stores those extra
calories as fat. When you eat fewer calories than your body
demands, your cells release stored fat for energy. Pretty simple
equation; however, not all fat is the same.

Placement of Fat Deposits in Your Body

The placement of fat deposits on our bodies varies depending on
each person’s genetic influences, lifestyle choices, and nutritional intake.

Men tend to store their body fat around their
bellies and chest. Women tend to store it around their hips,
buttocks, thighs, and the backs of their arms. A complete
discussion of hormones and fat storage is beyond the scope of
this article, but let it suffice to say that certain hormonal
processes do determine body fat distribution.

The Primary Factor in Failing to Lose Fat

Many people who attempt to lose body fat fail to account for
one major factor, a stumbling block to long-term success. They
approach fat loss and fitness with great enthusiasm and
determination and, with this attitude, they lose body fat and
feel great. Even so, they just can’t seem to get rid of all the fat
they want to. They lose fat successfully for a time, but ultimately
get stuck just before all of the fat is completely gone.

This is commonly known as a plateau, and this phenomenon
causes many people who were previously successful to lose their
enthusiasm and return to their old ways. When old habits take
over again – and this happens to the majority of dieters – the
body fat comes back with a vengeance. This is due to
programming of the fat cell. Each time you try to lose body fat
again, it seems to take longer and require more effort.

The Solution to Stubborn Fat

So what is the real solution? It’s simple: you must understand
how fat cells work and how to move past the plateau
phenomenon and lose the last bit of body fat-what we call
“stubborn fat.”

I have worked with many clients and I would say most of them
have a good amount of stubborn body fat. This fat is literally
programmed to be very difficult to lose. It seems to remain on
our bodies no matter what we do, hence the phrase stubborn
fat. Most modern diets and weight loss programs seem to work
in the beginning, but they never really address this crucial part
of fat loss -the last bit of stubborn fat.

Your Hormones and Stubborn Fat
Stubborn fat develops when your hormonal pathways are
broken down. Age does play a role in this: fat deposits increase
and become more resistant to fat loss methods as you get older.

This you have little control over, but some things that lead to
stubborn fat development are under your control. Yo-yo dieting
is one of them. Losing weight on crash diets and then regaining
it-often known as the “ebound effect” – only increase
stubborn fat in the long run. A decrease in exercise and activity
level also compounds the stubborn fat problem. This is why
people who crash-diet on low calories and refuse to exercise
often have the worst stubborn fat problems of all.

Our ancestors really never had to deal with this problem
because they moved and engaged in physical labor as a regular
part of daily life, whereas technological conveniences and the
modern lifestyle have caused many of us to become lazy and
inactive.

Stubborn fat is metabolized extremely slowly and resists the
hormonal process that takes place when the fat burning process
starts up. To burn fat, the adrenal hormones (better known as
adrenaline and noradrenaline) attach to the fat cell receptors
and essentially “open them up” so the fat can be used in the
energy pathways. There are two kinds of receptors in your fat
cells: one is alpha and the other beta. The beta receptors are
much more active and respond to adrenal hormones. To lose
body fat, the adrenal hormones switch on and the body begins
to use fat as energy. However, in the case of people with
stubborn fat, this does not occur, so no body fat is lost.

According to my good friend and colleague Ori Hofmekler,
author of The Warrior Diet, stubborn fat has a lower ratio of beta
receptors to alpha receptors. Therefore, your body’s hormonal
“fat dissolver,” adrenaline, is unable to enter the fat cell and
open the door. Hofmekler also points out that “to make these
matters worse, stubborn fat has more estrogen receptors, which
cause even more stubborn fat.”

If all this sounds bad enough, what makes it even worse is that if
you indulge in the typical modern diet and sedentary lifestyle,
this often results in insulin sensitivity. (For more information,
read my past article on “Insulin Sensitivity.”) On top of
everything else, your fat tissue becomes so incredibly resistant
to your attempts to lose it, it seems like you will be stuck with it
forever.

Why Dieting Alone Doesn’t Work

Diets fail because they only look at the caloric reduction side of
the equation. You need to understand the other variables in the
equation – exercise and lifestyle. You must understand the
deeper issues you are really dealing with. Getting rid of
stubborn fat is not nearly as simple as just slashing calories and
dieting. Stubborn fat is the result of a complex interplay of
biological and hormonal processes – all of which are affected by
how you eat, how you move, and the type of lifestyle you lead.

The Crucial Question

Now that you understand why you have stubborn fat, right
down to the hormone and receptor level, the question is: How
do you alter your nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle to get rid if this
resistant body fat?

The answer is revealed in Part 2. Read on-

The answer is revealed in Part 2. Read on-