Everyone has ‘trouble spots’, extra fat under the arms, belly fat, a double chin. But can you lose it just in those areas?
The simple answer is no. When you lose weight you lose it all over. So you have to treat your body as a whole. In most cases your so-called “trouble spot” is where the fat will come off last. You will probably see the weight come off your face and hands before your belly, and in the beginning your friends will start asking you if you are feeling OK. So be prepared for this kind of reaction.
But don’t get disheartened if that belly still wobbles, there is hope. What you need to do is work towards building muscle as well as reducing body fat. Not only will this develop a better physique but muscle is a very active tissue and it requires calories to maintain it.
If you were starving on a desert island your body would turn to its own muscle as the first source of nutrition, as muscle is made up protein, saving your fat for last. Simply put, fat is nature’s way of ensuring survival during times of famine. By building more muscle you become a more efficient energy-burning machine, which translates to mean you can eat more food!
This explains why some people can eat what they like and never seem to gain weight. Its not that your friend is lucky in the fact he or she never puts on weight its simply that your friend has a greater proportion of muscle to fat than you. Muscle is more dense than fat. It’s often said that a pound of muscle is heavier than a pound of fat, but the truth is a pound is a pound. What they mean is a one pound volume of muscle is a smaller package than a one pound volume of fat, or put another way, fat is billowy and fluffy while muscle is sleek and compact.
Take a look at the examples below:
Weighs 120 pounds with 30% body fat so she has 84 pounds of lean tissue and 36 pounds of fat
Also weighing 120 pounds but at 18% body fat is carrying roughly 98 pounds of muscle and 22 pounds of fat.
36 pounds of fat will take up much more space and make Lady One look a lot larger than Lady Two.
That is why body-weight as a number by itself is meaningless, but your ratio of fat to muscle is very important and worth working to change. Strive to decrease your body fat and increase your muscle mass and you’ll look better, you’ll feel stronger, more energetic and you’ll simply be healthier.
There are a number of scales available today that can measure body fat. Some of the best come from a company called Tanita. So, when you have made the decision to lose weight, be brave and find out what your body fat percentage is. It's better to strive to lose a percentage of body fat, than concentrating on weight alone. Those people who think only of how much they weigh tend to do everything to reduce that weight, and it’s usually at the expense of losing the more valuable muscle.
The best way to achieve more muscle and lower your body fat is with a regular exercise programme. It doesn’t matter at what level you start, as long as you start.
To begin with, start with an overall body conditioning exercise programme doing something you enjoy. It can be gardening, cycling, sport or any other activity. Just get the body moving.
Before the advent of washing machines and dishwashers, house- work was quite a strenuous activity. Today with all our modern conveniences our bodies hardly move at all. We don’t even have to get out of our chair to change a TV channel. So unless you want to get fatter and fatter you must do something.
There are all kinds of opportunities for physical movement. Taking the stairs instead of the lift. Parking as far away from the supermarket entrance instead of trying to get as close as you can. It doesn’t matter if you hate the gym, just look around, the world is full of exercise equipment.
Take advantage of any exercise opportunity, the rewards are priceless.