Q: I can’t seem to get rid of my lower body fat, what can I do?
by Gab Gi
A: For women, the lower body is like a reserve fuel tank. You need to burn enough fuel in the regular tank to dip into the reserve. There’s a handful of things you can do that I’ll try to explain.
Look at your mom. Is her trouble area the same as yours? It most likely is, because this is normal. Where our body stores fat has a lot to do with genetics, hormones and enzymes. Women have larger and more fat cells, they also have more lipogenic (fat-storing) enzymes VS lipolytic (fat- releasing) enzymes than men. But there’s no point in talking about things that are out of your control.
What matters? Well hormones do.
Men have more testosterone and women have more estrogen. For that reason men tend to store fat in their abdominals and for reproductive reasons women store it in their lower body. The hormone estrogen has a unique relationship with the fat cells. That’s why most women will gain fat after going on the pill or why women gain weight during menopause.
An influx of extra estrogen into the body can cause fat cells in the legs to grow and become stubborn. Xenoestrogens (imitators of estrogen) like PCBs, BPA and phthalates are all around us and consuming a lot cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli) can help improve estrogen metabolism to a some degree.
Though science clearly shows how bad xenoestrogens are bad for your health I can’t say I’ve ever noticed a big difference changing these things with clients when it comes to fat loss… with the exception of getting off the birth control pill (which may come with a surprise). But there’s still hope.
If we look at the fat cells of the lower body VS the upper body there’s something else that’s very different. The lower body contains much more alpha-receptors than beta-receptors. Alpha-receptors are found in stubborn fat and inhibit fat loss. As it turns out, the best way to inhibit the alpha-2 fat cells is by raising fatty acid levels in the blood. And the best way to do that is to lower your carbohydrate level.
Adding MCT oil or coconut oil to your low carb meals will give you an extra boost. Resistance training and cardiovascular exercise (ideally sprints) is also very good as it will help you get into the right hormonal state for fat burning.