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The 7 (Honest) Facts You Should Know About Losing Thigh Fat, Gut Fat, and Fat in Other "Problem" Areas

That stubborn fat around hips, buttocks and thighs for women, and the belly and side "love handles" for men, is every dieter's biggest adversary. It is the last 10 pounds to go, and it is always the hardest to lose.

There are several theories why that stubborn fat is stored in different places for men and women. Some say it's genetic. Your body stores fat where there are fat cells, and for most of us they concentrate on the upper and lower midsection. Exactly where the fat goes may depend on the lipoprotein lipase, which is an enzyme necessary for fat storage.

Women have more of this enzyme in the thighs and buttocks while men have higher concentrations in the abdomen.

Contrary to popular belief, doing sit-ups will not help you lose abdominal fat.

It could also be related to hormone levels. Women with more estrogen tend to have a smaller waist to hip ratio, for instance. And postmenopausal women (who have low levels of estrogen) may feel like they are "spreading out" even as their weight remains the same.

Others say that fat storage is all about evolution. Women store fat around their buttocks, hips and thighs because this makes them more desirable to a mate. Says Mike Adams, the Health Ranger:

"In this way, the fat is stored in predetermined locations on your body for much the same reason that a male peacock has brightly colored feathers--it's part of the mating game, so to speak. Exaggeration of physical traits is a common evolutionary strategy for mate attraction in primates, including humans. And body fat can be used cosmetically to pursue this strategy."

Why we store fat where we do is interesting, but it's certainly not the burning issue ...

How to Get Rid of Stubborn Gut, Butt, Thigh, Hip Fat

There is one common misconception when it comes to removing hard-to-lose fat, and that's the idea that focusing your efforts on one area of your body will help. Men, for instance, may be tempted to do sit-up after sit-up trying to lose their spare tire. And while this may well indeed firm up your midsection, it will not make the fat there go away any faster than it will the fat on your big toe.

A whole-body approach of healthy eating and exercise will make the stubborn fat go away

"There is no food, no exercise, and no herb that will cause your body to remove fat in one place versus another," says Adams.

To remove fat, no matter where it may be, you must follow the basic rule of weight loss: burn more calories than you consume.

As the American Academy of Family Physicians says, "To lose weight, you have to cut down on the number of calories you consume and start burning more calories each day."

For women, this means eating about 1,200-1,500 calories per day. Most men should eat 1,500-1,800 calories a day to lose weight, according to the American Heart Association.

There is good news and there is bad news to knowing this approach. The bad news is that that stubborn fat on your buttocks, thighs and hips if you're a woman, and around your abdomen if you're a man, will almost assuredly be the last to go. Your body is preconditioned to keep fat in those areas, so it won't start burning it up until all the other excess fat is gone.

The good news is that this approach is completely doable and does work. Here are seven tips to get you started.

  • Cut out excess "empty" calories like those from soda, candy, cookies, sweetened drinks and chips first.

  • Exercise regularly (include aerobic exercise like jogging, biking or swimming with strength training).

  • Don't focus your workouts on a specific body area (like abs or legs). Use a whole-body approach instead.

  • Avoid eating too many processed carbs (white sugar and white flour, etc.). These extra carbohydrates are easily converted into fat.

  • Don't get caught up in yo-yo dieting. The more you lose weight and regain it again, the worse it is for your health and the harder it will become to get rid of fat.

  • Limit your alcohol intake. It's high in calories and excessive drinking will leave you little energy to stick with your exercise routine.

  • Bake, grill, steam or broil food instead of frying it (fewer calories and better for health and energy).

For details on how to eat and exercise for optimal weight loss and fat burning, check out this past article.

Recommended Reading

How a Healthy Diet Can Reduce Violence and Rudeness, and Increase Your Child's IQ

"Alkalize Your Body or Die:"Is This Really Among the Most Important of All Health Advice?


News Target: The Truth About Losing Abdominal Body Fat

The Nutrition Notebook: Adipose Tissue

Naturodoc: The Final Frontier of Dieting

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