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  1. #1
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    Is it possible to lose fat from specific areas

    I have always heard that you lose fat from all over the body and that you can't just lose stomach fat or just hip fat.

    I have some stomach fat that just does not want to go. My arms and legs have very little fat left. I am 6'-0" and 155 lbs and I am thinking that there is atleast 10lbs of stomach fat left. Maybe this is my last fat reserves and it will go when I lose another 10 to 15 lbs.

    But I have to ask if anyone has had any success at targeting specific areas for fat loss.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JT Burkard's Avatar
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    6' and 155lbs doesn't sound like there's any fat left.
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    To the best of my knowledge it is not possible to lose fat in just one specific area. I am no expert in this field, but I believe the difference you are seeing is because there are two different types of fat at play here. The first is subcutaneous fat, it is located between the skin and muscle tissue all over your body. This is the fat that is measured when you have your body fat checked with a set of calibers. The second type is visceral fat, it is located around your internal organs, to include your intestines. It kind of acts as a cushion between everything on the inside. Visceral fat is much harder to measure, and also much harder to loose. Your body sees your subcutaneous fat as an energy warehouse, but views you visceral fat more like bubble wrap for your important parts. That is why it seems like you have lost all the fat from your arms and legs (subcutaneous) but still have fat around your mid section (visceral). Just keep working hard and watching what you eat, your body will let your subcutaneous fat get very low before it starts tapping into your visceral fat stores.

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    I don't know what kind of fat it is but it is quite a challenge to lose. I am beginning to think that I may be the only person in the world to have no abs. I know that most people would be very grateful to have my current BMI. And I am also grateful, I just want to see if I can take this weight loss to another level and see if there are any benefits from being skinny. I don't like the idea of carrying around an extra 10 lbs if I don't need it.

    In the past I have been able to lose 5 lbs per week but now it seems that I may have to settle for 1 lb per month and be happy if I can get that.

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    Nope, spot reduction is just not possible. The rule pretty much is first in - last out, where you gain it first is where you lose it last. Now you CAN exercise and build muscle in these pesky areas which may help SHAPE these areas into a more pleasant figure but if it's covered in fat it will remain so until the body decides to pull it out and burn it.

    Options are: surgical removal or dieting to the point that you lose the area - which can be VERY difficult with those last remaining areas. All the BMI charts that I see all say that you are already underweight, at 155 lbs and 6' tall so further dieting would require starvation and then you get in to a dangerous area. Unless you made a mistake with your dimensions then I'd say pursue surgical options if it bugs you that much. Don't be surprised if they discourage you from it though.
    Last edited by Rootman; 07-26-13 at 10:37 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Hard to spot reduce, for sure. Do you have a routine to work your abs and deep abdominal muscles? And while you are at it, perhaps build some muscle overall. Squats, deadlifts, pullups, that sort of thing.

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Yes, with surgery. Otherwise, forget it.
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    I am not even thinking about surgery. So I will just live with it or maybe I can continue watching what I eat and maybe it will slowly be consumed.

    My exercise consist of road biking, yoga, and cutting and splitting firewood, along with other things like cutting grass. I am currently averaging 60 miles per week riding and 7 hours of yoga per week. The grass cutting doesn't do much with a riding mower and it has been raining so much that the grass is knee high.

    A couple of months ago I decided that I would starve the last few pounds off but that didn't work. I was eating about 500 calories per day for a week and i noticed that my resting heart was skipping every 3rd beat. So I decided that I needed more calories and then my heart went back to beating normally. So it is going to be a slow process if it happens at all.

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    I have very recently noticed that my calves have gotten very lean, and my thighs a little leaner. Still have a lot of belly fat but am now down to "slightly" obese, and knocking on "overweight's" door. My dad did fifty sit ups every morning most of his adult life and kept a flat stomach well into his seventies. I know this is anecdotal, but worth investigating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    Yes, with surgery. Otherwise, forget it.
    There is a small chance that when I hit my ideal BMI I may be a candidate for skin removal surgery, though hoping that it tightens up on its own.
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    You may want to talk to a dietitian about what foods will help in your fight. If you are a member of a gym they may have one on staff, if not your local hospital will have at least one on staff that you may be able to meet with. Just make sure if you do a search for a local one that you get a dietitian and not just a nutritionist. In most areas anyone can call themselves a nutritionist even if they have had no real training, but a dietitian will have training and certifications.

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    A hula hoop is a great way to tone up abdominal muscles and flatten out your stomach. My daughter has a weighted fitness hoop we got at Walmart and she has had visible results from using it several times a week for a month. Her only other exercise was riding her bike, and that's never reshaped her belly before, so I'm pretty sure it's from using the hoop.

  12. #12
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    I have always heard that you lose fat from all over the body and that you can't just lose stomach fat or just hip fat.

    I have some stomach fat that just does not want to go. My arms and legs have very little fat left. I am 6'-0" and 155 lbs and I am thinking that there is atleast 10lbs of stomach fat left. Maybe this is my last fat reserves and it will go when I lose another 10 to 15 lbs.

    But I have to ask if anyone has had any success at targeting specific areas for fat loss.
    1) you never lose fat - fat cells always remain - you can only shrink the cells. This is why its so important never to have developed the fat cells to begin with.

    2) depending on the accumulation of fat cells, even after losing considerable weight, there may continue to be a problem. This is why so many people turn to lipsuction which is the only way to remove fat cells short of full blown body reconstruction surgery.

    People who have those 6 pack abs were never ever fat in another life. It is very difficult for a formerly fat person to get a lean trim body. Some people are lucky and never gained in certain area... when I lose weight my stomach is not a problem but my legs are. No matter how skinny I got my legs (which are also very muscular) remain big.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 07-26-13 at 10:44 AM.
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  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Hey OP,

    Would love to see a photo of you.
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    To my knowledge, area specific fat loss is pretty much a pipe dream. When you gain weight, your body creates new fat cells to store fat once your current fat cells are full. When you lose weight via fat loss, your body uses the fat in fat cells. Those cells tend to remain in place even when depleted of reserves. This is one reason why gaining weight back can be oh so easy. Getting your body to cannibalize those fat cells can be tough. I imagine you'd have to keep a very strict diet and maintain a very low body fat percentage to accomplish this.

    At 6' and 155lbs, I'd wager that you aren't carrying much extra fat. Your best course of action would be to get in the weight room and start toning up. If you put on 10lbs of muscle, that perceived spare tire will shrink.

  15. #15
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Nope, all you can do is eat at a deficit, your body will decide where to take the extra required energy from.
    What is important is to not loose weight too fast, increase the protein intake and do a little resistance training. Why? Because you want to make sure that the weight loss is coming from fat loss and not muscle loss.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Hey OP,

    Would love to see a photo of you.
    What kind of photos do you want to see? I can get my wife to take some side shots with my biking clothes. Or whatever photos except nude.

  17. #17
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    What kind of photos do you want to see? I can get my wife to take some side shots with my biking clothes. Or whatever photos except nude.
    I am 6 ft, 210 lbs, Was 175 lb when I got married. Looked thin at 175 lbs.

    Any pics will do.
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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Cool...You look as you weight more than 155 lbs....You look Good to me..

    Ride on.
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  20. #20
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    You obviously are a thin guy with a stomach problem but I wager that is more due to 1) body shape (endomorphic* v. mezzomorphic) and maybe years of overindulging. The only exercise that targets the midrife is sit ups - 100s and 100s of sit ups. Maybe some pilates to strength your core. Overall you look very thin and fit.

    *endomorphic body shape tends to carrry fat around the stomach and hips. If this makes you feel any better, its actually a good healthy shape, more so for women, but men too. Suggest you start doing shoulder lifts to broaden your shoulders and lat pulls to widen your back so your waist appears smaller (if you can't change it hide it!). But all in all, you look fine.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 07-26-13 at 01:29 PM.
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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    My friend at 5/11 172 lbs

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  22. #22
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    I really don't want to gain any weight even if it could be 100% muscle. I don't need any more strength now and extra weight is just extra weight.

    I will put up some biking pictures a little later.

    I am thinking about trying the hula hoop idea because I need to get some more flexibility in my hips and lower back per my yoga instructor. Thanks for the tip.

  23. #23
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Reading over your posts jim p it looks like you want to see your ab muscles. Do you do things like weighted situps or or compound exercises which will help build your abdominal muscles?

    How good is your diet? The equation of calories in vs. calories out is usually a bit simplistic since the foods you eat have an affect on how your body utilizes those calories. Higher protein diets tend to favor muscle repair and building while higher carb diets tend to favor endurance type activities.

    How intensely are you doing things like riding your bike or mowing your lawn? Are you trying to do your 60 miles in 5 hours instead of 6? Have you thought about getting rid of your riding mower and using a push one?

    I don't think you can spot reduce fat loss, but certain things will make it look like you have.
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  24. #24
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    It is possible to lose fat from specific areas, just it won't ever be where you NEED to lose it. Or gain it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  25. #25
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    You can get stronger without adding lots of muscle mass... think of a gymnast instead of a body builder or strongman. There really isn't anything wrong with getting stronger and I would encourage it at any age, it's good for the bones too. I would track calories with myfitnesspal.com and set it to lose a 1lb a week, avoid starvation diets and silly things like that. No amount of situps will burn away the belly. If you slowly chip away at your bodyfat percentage while eating healthy amounts of protein/carbs/fat (think "clean eating") I bet you can get shrink the little bitty belly ya got. I've lost ~85lbs and I have a saggy pouch that is starting to tighten up finally and I hope to get rid of it completely when I get down to 180 or less... currently 5'11 and 200lbs.

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