Stubborn Fat Areas

stubborn fatAlmost everyone, male or female, has a “problem area” where they seem to deposit fat. Women want to know how to slim their thighs and how to get a flat stomach, while men want a “six pack”. Problem areas often tend to be the places that fat loss occurs last on, i.e. the last 10lbs. Research shows that regional fat loss depends on your sex (not your workout routine!).

In women the first place the fat is stored, tends to be the last place the fat comes off (unlike men).


Women store fat in their lower bodies, this includes the upper thighs, hips and butt (thunder thighs, saddlebags, muffin top?!) and also on the back of their upper arms. However, after the menopause this changes when estrogen levels decrease and women start to accumulate more fat in the abdomen (like men).  Men tend to store fat around their waist and thus struggle with abdominal fat, which includes their lower abs, lower back, the sides of their waist and visceral fat (harmful fat).

If your weight keeps rising, you simply continue to deposit fat all over your body, including your face and even hands.


Women are inclined to experience fat loss first in their trunk and arms, then lastly their lower body (hips and thighs). Generally weight loss is most noticeable early on in areas where there is little fat, such as the clavicles. Though depending on body shape, men generally tend to lose fat first from their trunk, followed by their arms and then their legs. This means that although men tend to store abdominal fat, it is also one of the first place they lose it. Hence, men tend not to struggle with stubborn fat as much as women.

Stubborn fat area

Illustrating areas of stubborn fat in women (front and back) and men (front only)


  • Fat cells have two types of receptor: Alpha-receptor (inhibits the breakdown of fat) & Beta-receptor (stimulates the breakdown of fat). Women have more of the receptors that inhibit the breakdown of fat (alpha-receptors) in their hip and thigh region than in their abdominal region.
  • Women have 3 to 5 times more of an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) that stimulates fat storage in their lower body than their upper body.
  • An enzyme (hormone-sensitive lipase) that stimulates fat breakdown is very slow in releasing fat from the lower abdomen in women.

It is thought that the predisposition of women to storing fat in the lower body is for protection of their reproductive organs.

Why all the information?  You are not the only one! It is not impossible to lose the fat! You cannot spot reduce. You cannot, no matter how many gurus claim, pick an exercise and lose fat only from one place. In order for you to lose weight in your problem area you have to lose fat everywhere. Your consolation? By the time you lose stubborn fat, the rest of your body will be looking great.

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