Which areas of the body tend to hold onto fat more than others/are harder to shed?
There is a Genetic predisposition to storing fat, but that does depends on the diet and lifestyle, these are the environmental factors that increase genetic risk for any dis-ease, including obesity.
Various hormonal factors play a significant role, for example an underactive thyroid tends to present with excess fat on the hips and can lead to a pouch of fat on the upper outer thigh area.
Poorly functioning Adrenal glands that are overworked (burning the candle at both ends, being a workaholic, not addressing sources of stress etc.) can produce higher levels of Cortisol which can lead to a ‘swallowed a beach ball’ look, and a rapid drop in oestrogen, as occurs at Menopause, can precipitate a ‘muffin top’ on the abdomen. The key hormone underpinning these hormonal influences to store fat is insulin.
If there is a genetic predisposition to storing fat under the chin and on the front of the neck, this can be close to impossible to shed; this particular area has been successfully treated with Coolsculpting.
It is harder to shed pockets of fat that result from chronic intake of excess calories, and for those yo-yo dieters, fat tends to be held onto more readily because the body has experienced ‘famine’ too many times, and sparing these deposits is therefore pro-survival.
-What should you be looking to do in your dietary choices if you wanted to reduce that fat? (generally and specific diet tips)
Generally speaking, anyone wanting to shed fat must exercise regularly, have good sleep habits, with quality sleep daily, and avoid white doughy foods that lead to a white doughy body! Massaging the specific area can also help.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips:
- Reduce sugar intake in all its forms, especially avoiding ‘white’ flour products like bread, pastries, and pasta; desserts, alcohol, fruit juices, and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Insulin is well known for reducing blood glucose, but it also has a secondary function to store excess glucose as adipose (fat) tissue. Insulin inhibits the breakdown of fat and signals fat cells to store more fat. An excessive intake of carbohydrates causes the excessive release of insulin. When the cells are saturated in glucose from lunch, there is nothing to be done with excess sugars at supper other than to store them as fat.
- Sleep is essential in controlling appetite and food choices. The tired individual will crave sugary foods for a quick energy fix. Insufficient sleep results in a higher production of the hunger hormone Ghrelin and subsequently an excess intake of calories.
- Balance meals and snacks ensuring they provide a carbohydrate, a protein and a healthy fat. This helps to slow down the release of glucose and therefore reduces insulin release and keeps one satisfied for longer.
- Red, yellow, green, orange and purple vegetables are loaded with health-giving nutrients and should play king at any meal.
- To stimulate brown fat to burn energy, turn the shower to cold for the final 3 minutes. Brown fat burns calories and is activated by the cold.
- Ensure your Vitamin D levels are adequate. Deficiency of Vitamin D negatively affects mood (may lead to comfort eating), sleep (increased production of Ghrelin), and joints can be affected leading to lower desire to exercise.
- Including the following foods in your diet is recommended in assisting weight loss: probiotic foods like yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso and pickles), oily fish at least 3 times per week, apple cider vinegar, vegetables in abundance, high fibre foods and green tea.