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Where we store fat

Coach Helen Wong by Helen Wong
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Jelly tummy...Thunder thighs... Bingo Wings...all terms that we jokingly refer to our unwanted wobbly bits.

We spend so much time looking in the mirror, analyzing and agonizing over our body shape. We observe our bodies naturally changing over the years as our bodies adjust to pregnancies, menopause , hormones and thyroid problems. But do you wonder why we store fat in certain places?

For some, it seems to go around the middle area and for others, the legs and arms are affected. Fat doesn't usually seem to be evenly distributed when we gain weight. Even when we are on the road to weight loss, there still seem to be areas of our body that are harder to shift the pounds from. Many complain about the spare tyre they carry around their middle and how hard it is to lose. Others say that their hips and bum area cause major problems and find it very difficult to get into shape.

So is there a reason why we store fat in certain places and what does it actually mean? While many people think their shape and size come down to pure genetics, this is a misconception. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you'll have to stop blaming your parents for this...genes play a small role but it turns out it's not their fault. Research has shown that the fat that collects in certain areas of our body has more to do with our hormones and diet than anything else.

STOMACH
Let's start with the stomach, which for so many women is a problem area. Many find that, even when they start to lose weight, their stomach fat seems slower to shift than fat everywhere else. Well, the stomach area may be causing you problems, but your diet may not be totally to blame. It is thought that the weight you gain around this area could be related to stress. When we feel stressed, a substance called cortisol is released from our adrenal glands into the body and this causes fat to be deposited around our tummy area. So, if you are stressing over the fat that you are not losing weight here, the chances are that you won't be helping the problem. Much better to focus your energy on eating foods that give the body a chance to get the cortisol balance back to normal levels. And guess what? They are all foods I will be advising you to eat anyway! Cut out all the sugary foods and empty calories. They will not help the problem area. Instead, eat plenty of lean or plant protein and healthy fats in the form of whole food.

THIGHS AND BUM
Women often describe themselves as being "pear" shape, which means that they carry most of their weight around the thigh and bum area. Well, I'm not a fan of comparing our body shapes to fruit. We all come in very different shapes and sizes. If you are one of those women who carry weight around this area, it could signify that you have high oestrogen levels. The best thing you can do is try to eat a diet with plenty of vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprout. They might not be to your liking, but they could be the answer to your problems. You also have to cut out processed foods as well as eat natural produce. Also exercise will help. Spot reduction is not possible but you can tone your lower body to get a slimmer look. The good news? A study from the University of Oxford in 2010 showed that women who carry weight on their lower body are less likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes than those who carry weight around the middle area.

ARMS
A recent study has shown that the cause of this problem area could be related to the toxins found in the plastic bottles we drink from or the plastic containers we eat our lunch out of. The best way to work on this area is through exercise. You need to strengthen the muscles in order to say goodbye to your bingo wings! So, if this is an area that you have been neglecting, it's time to get working. The wings won't go away by themselves and even women who lose weight find they still struggle with them. So try taking up the cross trainer or the rowing machine if you want to banish your bingo wings for good


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