A lot of times you come across newspaper and glossy magazine articles, accompanied by pictures of a sexy, slender babes, advising you on what to eat to lose fat in certain areas of the body. They tell you which foods to eat in order to lose bingo wings, for instance. But, is there any truth in this? Can you diet to lose weight in only specific parts of the body and not others?
The answer to these questions is reached by first understanding weight loss and diet, in general. You lose weight when, and only when, you create a negative energy balance. That is, when you create an energy deficit, by taking in less calories than those expended by the body, over a period of time. This eventually leads to the body losing weight as it mobilises its fat stores, to meet its energy requirements. As the body fat stores get depleted for the body’s energy needs, you start to lose weight, usually from the top down.
Weight loss usually follows a specific pattern, with body fat being lost first from the face, then the upper body and stomach, and finally from the hips and thighs. This is why it seems so difficult and almost impossible to shift fat from the hips and thighs, whilst there is really success on the stomach area. Because tummy fat is lost before hip and thigh fat, it makes it seem like diets for a flat tummy work, as inches will be lost from the tummy while the bottom stays more or less unchanged. The flat stomach is not due to the specific stomach-busting diet, but is a general and universal response to a negative energy balance.
If there is any one thing you need to take away from this discussion let it be this, “Weight loss is a result of calorie deficit, irrespective of your diet or weight reduction programme”. Some foods make creating the calorie deficit more feasible, which is probably why they get promoted as calorie-burners or fat-burner diets. An energy deficit inevitably leads to weight loss, which is why these diets, usually low-calorie, enjoy some success, and usually popular.
Nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables are usually low-calorie, and help to create a calorie deficit and lead to weight loss. On the contrary, calorie-rich foods like high-sugar and high-fat diets are loaded full of calories and make an energy deficit almost impossible to create, often leading to weight gain. Now that the myth has been laid to rest, you can now concentrate your efforts on achieving healthy weight loss, instead of indiscriminately following all the latest fad diets.
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In conclusion, eating more nutrient-rich and low-calorie foods, whilst reducing the intake of energy-rich foods, will produce weight loss, from the top down. Its true to say that there is no special diet that targets only specific areas of the body. If you diet to try and lose weight from your hips and thighs you’ll invariably also lose weight off other areas of your body, including the chest and bust.