e you looking to reduce body weight? Perhaps you've heard about spot treating fat. As you might have guessed from the name, spot treating fat is the concept of being able to change the shape and size of our bodies. However, this isn't something we can do dramatically.
To learn more about spot treating fat, why it fails, and the more effective options that are available, we chatted with some experts. Jacy Cunningham and Roxie Jones of Alo Moves, and the founder of Revitalize and Summa Health System medical director Dr. Tara Scott, MD, shed some light on the concept. Read on for more about their thoughts on spot treating fat.
What Is Spot Treating Fat?
The idea of spot treating fat is simple: when we lose weight, we can only lose it one just one part, Cunningham reveals. It stems from the understanding that we're unable to lose weight in more than one section of the body at once, seeking to improve one part individually.
But is it true: can we lose weight in one part of the body while the rest remains unchanged? Jones criticizes online influencers who swap out beliefs about how to change our bodies in a bid to make a profit. Quite often, the promise of buying their products is stamped with the notion that we're able to shift weight in one specific area of our bodies. Jones informs us that it's not uncommon for clients to approach her with the desire to lose love handles, lose weight in their bellies, and shred off fat from their triceps. Seen as "problem areas," there's a growing concern among people today that their body shape is out of balance and it needs to be corrected. Cunningham is opposed to this notion and outwardly expresses that it's futile to deduce our bodies down to single components when we are, in fact, whole human beings. He proceeds with the example that if we're suffering from back pain, we don't just hone in on the back - we consider all the possible areas that be contributing to the pain.
Why Doesn't Spot Treating Fat Work?
While overlooking the fact that our bodies are complete systems, spot treating fat also fails to pinpoint the source of the problem in specific areas where fat's hard to shift. Scott highlights that spot treating fat offers solutions that provide a temporary fix to a long-standing problem. The doctor explains that fat cells grow in size and so if the root of the problem isn't addressed, the fat will reappear with time.
Even if the results are positive, they don't last long-term. Cunningham makes the point that when we perform exercise, we're using multiple areas of our bodies for movement and so it's unreasonable to think that we could only lose weight from one targeted region. He notes, for example, that our skin is the largest organ covering the whole body, and therefore we should have the expectation that we'll lose weight all over.
What Are the More Effective Options Available to Spot Treating Fat?
The truth is that our bodies are fine just as they are - regardless of whether or not we carry weight in some areas. So why do we hone in on our imperfections? The ideal body that the influencer would have you aspire to can't truly be achieved. In fact, our emotional health is what's really important, and accepting that we'll always have flaws is part of maintaining a positive mental status.
Through understanding how to perform body neutrality, you can learn how to better appreciate any extra weight that you carry. That's exactly what it means to take your body as it is, removing the necessity for change. For Cunningham, a healthy lifestyle begins with a healthy mindset about the shape and size of our bodies. Whether it's showing ourselves love or gratitude, we restore balance when we accept the current place in our bodies are in rather than feeling ashamed or striving for an upgrade. Our opinions about our weight can have a deep effect on how we live, so it's important to always display kindness to ourselves.
For some of us, however, it's not simple to drop the want to change our bodies, and offering self-love doesn't always come that easy. Scott advises that knowledge of why we have fat in certain regions is central to our success in shifting it. She tells us that hormonal fluctuations can play a big role in fat being directed to specific areas. An example she uses is that when females are born with an estrogen imbalance, fat can be directed towards the breast or hip areas. For males, the same hormone imbalance can cause 'man boobs' to form or more weight in the midriff, similar to that of a pregnant woman. Low testosterone in males is what causes this due to a testosterone and estrogen imbalance. Being born with a low thyroid function is another instance which results in females experiencing more weight in lower areas. Detecting the source of the problem is the first step toward providing the right solution.
Jones marks nutrition as having central importance in reducing fat. This is because the right dietary approach can lead to weight loss across all areas of the body, resulting in less body fat overall. Jones also believes that improving muscle is beneficial since it allows more calories to be burned, even at rest, and leads to an increase in metabolism that makes weight loss more manageable. Cunningham supports these recommendations sharing that full body training can help build muscle which, in turn, improves energy expenditure to burn more fat.
What Are the Top Exercises for Fat Loss?
It's best to focus on exercises that burn off the most calories if your goal is to burn off as much fat as possible. By increasing the number of calories expended, you can lose weight across your whole body. For Cunningham, some of the top exercises to add to your routine include burpees, weighted squats, Turkish get-ups, crawls, mountain climbers, and rope jumps.
There's no problem with wanting to be your healthiest or fittest. But it's important to understand that hoping to achieve weight loss in specific areas of your body individually just isn't possible. If you do wish to target a particular area, it's best to first find the cause. Then, make healthy changes to your diet and add fat-burning exercises into your routine.