By David Grisaffi, CHEK
Corrective Exercise Kinesiologist
Golf Biomechanic Certified
Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach
Everyone walking on the face of this earth has an abundance of fat cells throughout their bodies.
fact, if you’re a healthy adult with normal body composition, you have
approximately 30 billion fat cells. This is an astronomical number when
you think about it. Did you ever wonder why you have so many? Have you
ever wondered what those fat cells are for?
is, fat cells are part of our genetic code and they allowed us to use
stored energy when food was scarce. This survival mechanism is very
much the same today as it was 10,000 years ago. However, today our
needs have changed. There is an abundance of food in modern society
When you consume too many calories, your body
goes into storage mode for that “rainy day,” so to speak, but the
“rainy day” does not happen. So your body simply stores those extra
calories as fat. When you eat less calories then your body demands your
cells release stored fat for energy. Pretty simple equation, however it
does not appear that all fat is the same.
of fat deposits on our bodies varies depending on each person’s genetic
influences, lifestyle choices and nutritional intake. Men tend to
store their body fat around their bellies and chest. Women tend to
store it around there hips, buttocks, thighs and back of their arms. A
complete discussion of hormones and fat storage would be beyond the
scope of this article, but let it suffice to say that certain hormonal
process do determine body fat distribution.
one major factor that many people do not realize when they are
attempting to lose body fat and this can be a stumbling block in
anyone’s long term success. Many people approach fat loss and fitness
with great enthusiasm and determination. With this attitude, they lose
body fat and feel great, but even so, they just do not seem to get rid
of ALL they fat they want to. They lose fat successfully for a time,
but ultimately get stuck just before all of the fat is completely gone.
is commonly known as a plateau and this plateau phenomenon causes many
people who were previously successful to lose their enthusiasm and
return to their old ways. When old habits take over again – and this
happens to the majority of dieters - the body fat comes back with a
vengeance. This is due to programming of the fat cell. Each time you
try to lose body fat again, it seems to take longer and require more
So what is the real solution? It’s simple – you
must understand how fat cells work and how to get past the plateau
phenomenon and defeat this last bit of body fat, that we often call
I have worked with many clients and I
would say most of them have a good amount of stubborn body fat. This
fat is literally “programmed” to be very difficult to lose. It seems to
remain on our bodies no matter what we do, hence the word stubborn fat.
Modern diets and weight loss programs almost all seem to work in the
beginning, but then they never really address this crucial part of fat
loss – the last bit of stubborn fat.
develops when your hormonal pathways are broken down. Age does play a
role in this: Fat deposits increase and become more resistant to fat
loss methods as you get older. This you have little control over, but
some things that lead to stubborn fat development are under your
control. Yo yo dieting is one of them. Losing weight on crash diets and
then regaining it – often known as the “rebound effect” – will only
increase stubborn fat in the long run. A decrease in exercise and
activity level also compounds the stubborn fat problem. This is why
people who crash diet on low calories and refuse to exercise and move
their bodies, often have the worst stubborn fat problems of all.
ancestors really never had to deal with this problem because they moved
and engaged in physical labor as a regular part of daily life, whereas
technological conveniences and the modern lifestyle have caused many of
us to become lazy and inactive.
Stubborn fat is
metabolized extremely slowly and is resistant to the hormonal process
that takes place while the fat burning process is started up. To burn
fat, the adrenal hormones better known as adrenaline and noradrenaline,
attach to the fat cell receptors and essentially “open them up” so the
fat can be used in the energy pathways. There are two kinds of
receptors in your fat cells: one is alpha and the other beta. The beta
receptors are much more active and respond to adrenal hormones. To lose
body fat, the adrenal hormones switch on and the body begins to use fat
as energy. However, in the case of people with stubborn fat, this does
not occur, so no body fat is lost.
According to my good
friend and colleague Ori Hofmekler, author of the warrior diet,
"stubborn fat” has a lower ratio of beta receptors to alpha receptors."
Therefore, your body’s hormonal “fat dissolver,” adrenaline, will not
be able to enter the fat cell and open the door. Ori also points out
that “to make these matters worse, stubborn fat has more estrogen
receptors which cause even more stubborn fat.”
this sounds bad enough, what makes it even worse is that if you indulge
in the typical modern diet and sedentary lifestyle, this often results
in reduced insulin sensitivity (read my past article on Insulin
Sensitivity for more information). Added on top of everything else,
your fat tissue becomes so incredibly resistant to your attempts to
lose it, it seems like you will be stuck with it forever.
fail because they only look at the caloric reduction side of the
equation. You need to understand the other variables in the equation –
exercise and lifestyle. You need to understand the deeper issues you
are really dealing with. Getting rid of stubborn fat is not nearly as
simple as just slashing calories and dieting. Stubborn fat is the
result of a complex interplay of biological and hormonal processes –
all of which are affected by how you eat, how you move and the type of
lifestyle you lead.
Now that you understand why you
have stubborn fat, right down to the hormone and receptor level, the
question is “How do you alter your nutrition, exercise and lifestyle to
get rid if this resistant body fat?” The answer will be found in part
two. Stay tuned.
If you enjoyed the information in this article, you will also enjoy
David Grisaffi Walking Guide, which is a complete walking exercise
that comes FREE with the Firm And Flatten Your Abs program at
David Grisaffi, C. H. E. K. II, CFT, PN
Corrective Exercise Kinesiologist II
Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach II
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