All fat is not equal. The truth is, some areas of fat are easier to lose than others. So if it seems like fat comes off in some places and not in others, youre not imagining things.
Working toward a healthy body weight is a noble goal, and our team at Creekside Family Practice is here to help. Hammad Qureshi, MD, specializes in medically supervised weight loss programs customized to meet each patients needs.
In this blog, Dr. Qureshi explains the science behind fat and weight loss.
The types of fat
There are two basic types of fat white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue and they both have different purposes.
White adipose tissue (WAT)
White adipose tissue is what most people think of when they hear fat. WAT cells store energy from the food you eat. If you consume excess calories, the cells get larger, and this is what causes weight gain.
Brown adipose tissue (BAT)
Brown adipose tissue burns energy instead of storing it. If you get cold, BAT cells activate and begin burning calories to warm you up. It helps you maintain a healthy body temperature. Most BAT is found around major organs and blood vessels.
Common fatty areas, such as your abdomen and thighs, usually contain a combination of WAT and BAT. Both types of fat are essential for health, but too much or too little can throw your hormones and body functions out of balance.
Location and weight loss
WAT and BAT make up the fat in your body, but where this fat is located usually determines how hard it will be to take off.
Fat thats located deep inside your abdomen is called visceral fat. It cushions organs and blood vessels, and small amounts of visceral fat are important for your overall health.
Excess visceral fat can pose serious health risks, but when you embark on a healthy diet and exercise plan, this fat is often the first to disappear. This means youre likely to notice weight loss in your abdominal area first.
Too much visceral fat can make your belly protrude. If your belly is hard and not squishy, its likely due to an excess of visceral fat. This can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Fat thats located just below the surface of your skin is called subcutaneous fat. Its the kind of fat that you can pinch on your stomach, legs, and arms. It pads and protects your bones and muscles and also acts as an energy reserve for your body. A healthy amount of subcutaneous fat actually helps protect you from overeating and Type 2 diabetes.
When excess visceral fat is burned, the body then begins tackling excess subcutaneous fat. Unfortunately, subcutaneous fat is harder to lose. Subcutaneous fat is more visible, but it takes more effort to lose because of the function it serves in your body.
If you have too much subcutaneous fat, this can increase the amount of WAT in your body. People who are overweight or obese may have high WAT levels and experience hormonal changes, which can increase their risk of developing chronic health issues.
Get help achieving a healthy weight
Trying to lose weight in specific areas of your body with targeted exercises usually isnt effective. If you want to lose subcutaneous fat around your hips or thighs, for example, the best way to achieve your goal is to adopt a whole-body wellness routine that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet.
At Creekside Family Practice, Dr. Qureshi and our team can develop a customized program to help you see results. We offer nutritional support, exercise plans, and the accountability you need to make a difference in your weight and health. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Creekside Family Practice today.