Even with a proper diet and regular exercise, you probably noticed that fat bulges on certain areas of the body won’t simply budge down. This is usually the case for fat deposits around the belly, hips, and inner thighs. If other areas slim and tone down with your fitness efforts, your abdomen, hips, and thighs seem to hold on to fat.

Stubborn Deposits Why Are Some Fats Harder to Lose Than Others

If you have been trying to lose weight and slim down in these areas but see no results with your efforts, it makes sense to understand why they are so hard to lose. What causes these fat bulges to accumulate? What makes them different from other types of fat in other areas of the body? Is there any way to lose inches off them?

Continue reading as we discuss fat accumulation in these stubborn areas and why they do not go away even after exercising and eating a healthy diet. 

Types of body fat 

Not all fats are created equal. In understanding why fat deposits around the belly and inner thighs are hard to lose, let us first explain in brief the different types of body fat.

  • White fat – is composed of white cells and is located beneath the skin or around organs in the belly, thighs, arms, and buttocks. This type of fat stores energy from the food you consume for later use. Too much of it can lead to obesity. 
  • Brown fat – adults have a small amount of this type of fat, commonly in the neck and shoulders. Brown fat stores and burns fat and helps regulate your body temperature. It activates in cold temperatures and starts burning calories by creating the right heat or warming you up.
  • Beige fat – is a combination of both white and brown fat cells that perform similar functions. They store energy, but then burn it when exposed to cold temperatures. They also help regulate body temperature.

Fat location and storage

While the body has different types of fat, most of it is white fat. In most cases, however, the location of the fat can determine how hard or easy it will be to get rid of.

  • Visceral fat – stored in the abdomen and around the major organs, including the liver, intestines, kidneys, and heart. Small amounts of it are good for your overall health, but too much can pose serious health risks. Fortunately, this type of fat responds to a healthy diet and exercise.
  • Subcutaneous fat – located underneath the surface of the skin and pads bones and muscles. This fat is jiggly and pinchable, commonly found in your stomach, legs, and arms. It serves as an energy reserve in the body, as well as provides heat and produces hormones. The sad part is it is hard to get rid of even with diet and exercise. 

Excess visceral fat has to be burned first before the body can start tackling or burning excess subcutaneous fat. And because of the different functions it serves in the body, it can take much time and effort to lose this type of fat. Subcutaneous fat, furthermore, makes up most of the fat in the body. 

Fat receptors and fat burning

Fat cells have two receptors (Alpha-2 and Beta-2 receptors) that determine the way they are used. A fat cell can have lessor or more of these receptors, which also determines how they react to regular diet and exercise. 

  • Alpha-2 receptors – tell the cells to store energy for future use. Subcutaneous fat has more alpha-2 receptors, which can hinder fat burning. They usually resist diet and exercise.
  • Beta-2 receptors – tell the cells to release fat, which helps accelerate fat burning. Having more beta-2 receptors helps your body to burn fat more easily. 

The areas of the body with more visible fat have cells that the alpha-2 receptors control. These include the lower belly, hips, thighs, and chin. The fat cells in these areas don’t usually respond well to diet and exercise. 

What causes fat to accumulate in the belly, hips, and thighs?

Eating more calories than what you spend or burn can lead to excess weight. This can contribute to an expanding waistline or more fat in the lower part of the body, such as the hips and thighs. Aging is also a culprit, as fat normally increases with age while muscle mass and function decrease.  

In many women, hormonal fluctuations can also contribute to the development or storage of fat in the midsection. This can happen even if they are not gaining extra weight. It is said that the declining level of estrogen influences where the body distributes and stores fat.

Your tendency to carry weight around the belly and other stubborn areas also has a genetic component. This, of course, varies from person to person and can be as high as 70 to 80% and low as 25%. Also, having undergone life events that result in weight gain, such as pregnancy can cause you to accumulate fat on the belly and inner thighs. 

For further reading:Belly Fat in Women: What Causes it and How Can You Trim It?

What can help trim the fat?

Lifestyle changes do help, but you need to be consistent with your efforts. These include eating a balanced diet or lowering your intake of sweets and processed foods, high-impact interval training (HIIT) if possible, as well as cardiovascular activity and strength training.

A consultation with your healthcare provider or dietician will also let you know the changes you need to make, as well as create a diet and exercise plan for you. Finding a physical activity or workout routine that you enjoy can help you stay consistent in losing weight and improving your body shape.

What about aesthetic treatments?

If you are looking to target stubborn fat in the belly, hips, and thighs without surgery, non-invasive fat reduction procedures can help. At Cutis, we have the Vanquish ME for circumference reduction in the abdominal and thigh areas, and Exilis Ultra 360 for targeting fat cells and skin tightening. 

Vanquish ME – uses selective, contactless radiofrequency energy to heat, target, and melt fat cells. When exposed to heat, the fat cells naturally die over time, which will then be processed as waste in the liver and cleared naturally through the lymphatic system. This then reduces the fat layer thickness in the area.

This procedure works well for larger areas such as the belly and thighs. Clinical studies suggest that it can get rid of up to 59% extra belly fat after failing to respond to diet and exercise, which is higher compared to fat freezing’s 15 to 25% fat reduction. It also doesn’t require a specific BMI; most can qualify as long as they are in good health.

Vanquish can treat different areas including the abdomen, upper arms, thighs, and flanks without direct contact to the skin. Improvements can be seen in as early as three weeks, but full results appear within 60 to 90 days. The fat cells are gone for good, but you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep the results.

Exilis Ultra 360 – combines radiofrequency and ultrasound energy to provide head-to-toe rejuvenation. It has a small applicator for treating smaller areas of the body and a big applicator for targeting fat cells in larger areas. Exilis Ultra also assists in collagen production to tighten the skin and reduce cellulite appearance

Good candidates include those with small pockets of fat in certain areas or mild skin laxity due to minimal weight loss or pregnancy. You may need about two to four treatments depending on your needs and goals, with significant results appearing within a period of three months. 

For further reading: Exilis Ultra: The Non-Invasive Skin Tightening for the Face and Body

Schedule a consultation and body assessment 

Got stubborn fat in the belly, hips, and thighs? You can supplement your fitness efforts with non-invasive fat reduction procedures. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore to schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor or for more information.

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