Can you choose where to lose fat also known as spot reduction, is something that we are always questioning, is it really possible? I decided to debunk the fitness industry myth
This is something that I have been thinking about for a while. You hear a lot of people wanting to lose belly fat, under arm fat or even fat above their knees and they’re convinced that there are ways that you can do this. Then again, fitness product advertising really makes us believe that it is possible. Buy the ab belt to lose stubborn belly fat, drink apple cider vinegar to lose fat or train your arms to lose under arm fat.
I am sure that these things have their role in helping you lose fat. They are not as significant as you may think though. You have to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat (eat less calories than you burn, consistently). The problem is that people think that their fat loss journey is one that happened in a month or two, when in actual fact it was probably over two to four months of a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn, consistently).
It is important that you have the work ethic and patience to lose that fat in at least the same amount of time you gained it. You need to understand why and how you’re trying to lose fat and what happens when your body loses fat.
The Keys to Fat Loss
This is your why, there are many reasons you would want to lose fat in certain areas:
- Physically prepare for a certain sport
- Fit in smaller clothing
- Get a lean looking physique
- Impress a love interest
- Improve physical health related to a certain area
The reason this is so important is because you’ll have to use it as a reference on if it will be achievable in the time you want. You will also want to see if it is really worth achieving it then, is the goal long-term?
You can read books that get you driven to work on yourself daily. Morning prayers or meditation to center yourself in getting the day started the same or better every day. Developing a routine that ensures that you’re mentally prepared to work towards your goals.
This is the fuel you’ll be using to achieve a calorie deficit (eating less calories than you burn). It is vital that you get your nutrition from nutritious food. There is nothing wrong with indulging on fast food every now and then, but majority of your diet should come from nutritious food (high in nutrients).I try follow the 80/20 principle in nutrition which teaches you balance and prevents hunger, cravings or binge eating, ultimately a bad relationship with food. It supports balance in your diet which in turn supports a healthy lifestyle that allows you to enjoy life. You can make fat loss easier through small changes in your eating habits.
Training is the best way to burn the calories that you consume daily. You should train enough to burn those calories. It is vital that you be consistent with this because to ensure a caloric deficit, your training should coincide with nutrition. Otherwise, you can lose fat without training at all, it is just a lot easier when consistently training.
What Happens Inside Your Body When You Lose Fat
When you’re trying to lose fat, you have to consistently be in caloric deficit. Your body stores fat cells caused by excess amount of calories (energy) consumed from all the food that you eat (take note that most calories usually come from carbs and fats).
When you consistently eat in a caloric deficit, your body releases fat from the fat cells to be transported to mitochondria, which produces energy in your body through biochemical processes using that released fat. Your body usually gets rid of the fat around internal organs (kidneys, livers etc.) before the rest of the body. The visible changes take longer to achieve, due to this.
Continuing the caloric deficit will result in your body continuing to use fat as an energy source which results in you losing fat, decrease in body percentage and ultimately your physique changing.
Is Spot Reduction Possible?
Can you choose where to lose fat? The problem with this idea of spot reduction is that there is not enough evidence to support it, you cannot choose where to lose fat. A process only under the control of how your body reacts to the changes.
Your genetics and environment play the greatest role on where you lose fat, no matter how you train. Building muscle will not replace your fat either. If you’re in caloric deficit, you will lose fat and just not build much muscle or even build muscle on top of the fat until you’ve been in a long enough calorie deficit. What long enough is is dependent on how much fat you already and again, your genetics and environment.
Put your effort in a diet that ensures a consistent caloric deficit and consistently training at least three times per week for generally good fat loss results.