understanding stubborn fat
Diet Fitness Health & Wellness

Understanding Stubborn Fat & Expert Ways to Get Rid of It

Sometimes the fat that we are trying to lose appears stubborn. We lose fat everywhere else and weight overall, but that stubborn part just doesn’t seem to go. You may be wondering, what gives? Well, stubborn fat is a unique phenomenon that requires specific methodologies to address. We will be going over some expert ways to remove stubborn fat from your physique.

What is Stubborn Fat?

Stubborn fat is adipose tissue that you find particularly difficult to lose. There are a number of biological mechanisms that can render fat stubborn. The storage and release of fat are regulated by LPL or lipoprotein lipase and HSL hormone-sensitive lipase, respectively. These enzymes act on the body’s adrenergic receptors. The alpha-adrenergic receptors are responsible for slowing the release of fat, while the beta-adrenergic receptors speed it up.

The various hormonal states of different areas of fat can render certain areas stubborn. Additionally, there are different kinds of fat. For example, there is something called visceral fat, which is the fat that is deep inside your abdominal cavity surrounding your organs. This type of fat is easier to lose than subcutaneous fat, which is fat that is just underneath the skin, not to mention that the hormonal effects of adipose tissue on your body are more pronounced with subcutaneous fat, which can make it stubborn.

What is the Best Way to Lose Stubborn Fat?

The best ways to lose stubborn fat are the same as losing any other type of fat. You will just need to apply those methods more intensively or for a longer time in order to lose the stubborn fat. The mechanisms of losing stubborn body fat are the same as losing any other type of fat. Consequently, the same methods will work for stubborn fat as work for any other fat.

Different Tools to Lose Stubborn Fat

Now we will go over some of the best methods for getting rid of stubborn fat once and for all!

Diet & Exercise

The most reliable fat-loss solution that exists is proper diet and exercise. You need to intake fewer calories (a calorie is a unit of energy) than you are expending daily in order to be in a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit causes you to be in what is called a negative energy balance, which is when you are intaking fewer calories than you are expending.

If you are in a negative energy balance/caloric deficit, you will inevitably lose body fat. The best way to lose body fat with regard to diet and exercise is to track your daily caloric intake. You would typically use your height and weight to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), then multiply that by a constant representing activity level to get your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is how much energy in calories you spend each day, and if you eat fewer calories than this, you will lose body fat. There are plenty of online calculators that can calculate your BMR and TDEE for you, so all that remains for you to do is to track your daily food intake to make sure it is below your TDEE. There are many apps and online resources that will track your daily food intake for you.


Occasionally weight gain and fat retention are the results of mental health issues. For example, binge eating disorder is a mental disorder that can lead to obesity. Even if a mental condition isn’t necessarily the cause, many people gain weight or are unable to maintain a healthy weight because they have an unhealthy psychological relationship with food. They oftentimes comfort themselves or reward themselves with food.

For these reasons, therapy is a viable option for weight loss for many people. A therapist will help you get to the root of the problem and address why you are overeating, and will consequently help you lose body fat. Therapy can be a very helpful tool in your weight loss journey.

GLP-1 Agonists

These are a type of medications that can cause increased satiety and fullness when eating. GLP-1 agonist medications imitate a hormone called incretin, which is responsible for the feeling of satiety, thereby increasing fullness and decreasing hunger. This results in weight loss through caloric restriction being far easier, as the person is not as hungry and feels significantly fuller from the same quantity of food.

Individuals will be less hungry and remain full for longer while on this medication, though they will still have to adjust their eating habits in order to lose body fat. However, unless the eating issue is purely psychological, this will be far easier to do, as the cravings for food and general hunger will be significantly diminished.

Cryolipolysis (Fat Freezing)

Fat freezing, also called cryolipolysis, is a medical procedure in which fat cells in your body are exposed to freezing temperatures in order to kill them and reduce overall body fat. This is done with the use of a cryolipolysis device, which freezes the fat cells in a specific part of your body but leaves the skin cells intact. Fat freezing is an FDA-approved medical technique, and it is typically administered in a doctor’s office or outpatient facility.

The purpose of fat freezing is to cause localized fat loss around particular areas of the body for aesthetic reasons. However, there is a known complication called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, in which the amount of fat in the area treated actually increases. For this reason, this treatment is riskier than other cosmetic interventions, such as laser lipolysis.

Radiofrequency Lipolysis

This cosmetic procedure involves the use of radio waves to heat fat deposits in the body until they are destroyed. The process is similar to other types of cosmetic procedures in that the patient is prepared, and the area to be treated is marked off. Then with the application of a device one centimeter from the body, radio waves are fired into the fat deposit. The radio waves pass through the skin harmlessly and then heat up the fat inside the body, eventually killing the fat cells in the treated area.

This is a permanent fat loss solution, as the fat cells are dead and gone afterward. Typically, a cooling device is utilized at the same time to keep the skin at a comfortable temperature during the procedure. This procedure is relatively side effect free, with the most common side effects being redness and heating in the affected area, as well as some tissue tenderness.


Liposuction is a surgical procedure by which adipose tissue (body fat) is physically sucked out of the body and removed. This procedure is performed under general, regional, or local anesthesia, depending on a variety of factors. The majority of liposuctions are to improve the aesthetic appeal of a person’s body, and it is this type of liposuction that we will focus on in this article.

In liposuction, the fat is sucked out of the body by negative pressure and thereby permanently removed. This is used by many individuals as an easy way to lose body fat and improve appearance.

There are several different ways to perform the procedure, but, in general, a cannula is introduced to a fat deposit in the body, and that cannula is attached to an aspirator that applies negative pressure through the cannula. This is moved around the fat deposit, and the fat is sucked through the cannula and into the aspirator by the use of negative pressure, permanently removing the fat from the body.

Liposuction is considered a very safe surgery, and thousands of procedures are performed each year in the United States alone. There are certain complications that can occur with liposuction, just like with any surgical procedure. However, liposuction is generally considered very safe by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Laser Lipolysis

This procedure, also referred to as “laser lipo,” involves the application of a low-intensity laser to the fat areas you wish to lose. Lasers can generate singular-directional light and heat to a minimal area. With laser lipo, the technician will target the cell with the laser. The laser penetrates the skin, reaches the targeted fat cells, and bores a tiny pore into the cellular membrane. In addition to creating a small hole, the laser emulsifies (melts) the lipids inside the cell, which allows them to seep through the pore.

The body’s lymphatic system then naturally disposes of the lipids. Emerald Laser by Erchonia works differently from other laser lipolysis methods. Emerald’s system uses ten 532 nanometer lasers to target fat cells. While the system allows the cells to drain, they remain intact. Other laser systems destroy the fat cells, which can lead to fatty deposits developing in other areas of the body.

Additionally, Emerald Laser is relatively painless when compared to other laser systems. Most patients don’t feel anything at all. Laser lipolysis is a minimally invasive weight loss method that targets body fat exclusively. It is innovative and relatively new. Laser lipolysis by Emerald Laser is the first FDA-approved laser lipolysis process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stubborn Fat

Here we will go over some of the most commonly asked questions about stubborn fat, losing it, and what makes some fat stubborn.

I Have Heard of White and Brown Fat. Is That Relevant to My Stubborn Fat?

So there is something called white fat, which is the fat that stores energy and insulates organs and constitutes most of the fat in your body. There is also brown fat, which stores and burns energy to help regulate your body temperature. It burns calories when you are cold to heat you up, and it also helps regulate glucose and fat metabolism.

There is also a third kind of fat, known as beige fat. This third type of fat is a mixture of white and brown fat cells, and it turns white fat cells into brown fat cells to burn calories and regulate body temperature.

Now, does any of this have to do with why certain areas of body fat are so stubborn? Not in particular, as most of your body’s fat is white fat, and that is what most people struggle to lose. Brown and beige fat does not impact overall fat mobility much, and it is more essential than white fat, which mostly just stores energy. The different types of fat in white, brown, and beige fat are not the reason for stubborn fat.

Why Do I Not Lose Fat Around My -Insert Body Part-?

The body tends to lose body fat from different areas in an individually predetermined order. This means that if you are not losing fat from a specific area, you simply have to lose more fat overall in order to affect that area, as your body may have a proclivity to lose fat from that area last. This doesn’t mean that losing that pesky fat is impossible, just that you will have to lose more body fat overall to target it specifically.

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