23 June, 2014
Health & Fitness

Fitness with de Fina: Why do women store fat, where they store fat?

23 June, 2014

Ever seen a newsreader who looks fantastic on television, but in reality she doesn’t look quite so hot? Do you feel like you have a flat tummy, but your arms resemble parachutes should a strong wind come? We all have problem areas, that part of the body that disproportionately tends to accumulate fat, and we have trouble getting rid of it once it’s there. For men, this tends to be the naval, back and hips, and for women it tends to be the hips, thighs and butt. Ask any of your girlfriends which part of their body they would magically change, and the hips/thigh/butt combo is a universal response.

But why is this? Well, in the example of male vs female it has to do with hormones. Men have more testosterone and less estrogen, where women have higher oestrogen and less testosterone. Most people can accept this as a logical reason why there are significant differences to the way men and women build muscle and lose body fat, but what if it wasn’t as simple as male vs female? In actuality the hormonal spectrum is enormous, just think of frail, petite little Sally vs Olga, the rugby-playing, tree-cutting, deer-hunting female competitive shot-putter… You get the point.

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If you have been adopting a well thought out nutrition plan and training effectively, but the body fat isn’t shifting from certain areas – there may be some underlying causes…

Genetics will play a vital role into how your body shapes itself. Some people draw a lucky card, other less so. However this is no reason to throw you hands in the air and claim defeat. On the contrary – a little awareness into what other areas you can focus on will dramatically improve the genetic baseline. No one complains more about their body shape than those who do almost nothing to improve it – a sad fact.

Dr Laurena Law, a leading anti-ageing and aesthetics specialist in Hong Kong says, “Body fat storage in women (and men) in specific areas could be a reflection of underlying hormonal disruption. Adding to this is exposure to environmental toxins that mimic our hormones or increase toxic burden – leading to storage in fat cells

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A cheat-sheet of areas to focus on is:

Genetics
Not much you can do about this. But once you are honest and look at the cards you are dealt with, you can use this as motivation for how you look at the next areas. Turn your Datsun into a Ferrari!

Hormones
There are so many environmental and behavioural elements which disrupt normal hormone production. Getting a full hormone panel done by a physician is a great first step. Once you know what (if anything) is wrong, you can look at natural or synthetic options to optimise hormonal levels.

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Insulin
Insulin is one of the most powerful hormones in your body. It can save your life, or kill you. In regards to body fat storage, this is probably one of the most misunderstood factors whilst being the biggest contributor! Cut all sugars, refined carbohydrates and get busy researching this devil hormone.

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Digestive health
People are increasingly growing aware of digestive health as allergies, auto immune conditions and other intestinal issues are affecting record numbers of people… As it turns out, overly processed foods is not what you body likes! Try an elimination diet where you remove sugars, gluten containing carbohydrates and anything processed – as this will give you initial feedback about these most common causes of poor digestion.

Toxins
Toxins cause bloating, lethargy, poor metabolism, irregular fat deposits and can make you very sick. We all have them, but little know much about how to avoid, and how to eliminate. Research environmental toxins and focus on food quality. A great resource is www.ewg.org

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Vitamins and mineral deficiency
Vitamins and minerals regulate all metabolic systems and play an important role in detoxification. Being deficient in any of these can be a result of imperfect nutrition or fast-paced Hong Kong lifestyle.In particular, look at: zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, omega 3 and glutathione.

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So ladies, the clear message here is that there are a multitude of factors which may be responsible for you having increased body fat in a certain area (assuming that late night kebabs and jelly shots aren’t to blame).  Now that you know what these key areas are, you can active steps to negate these possibilities.

It’s a long road and there are no simple solutions. Remember that nutrition and exercise is all about improving your quality of life, not detracting from it. Embrace the challenges, train hard, and seek clinical or qualified support in eliminating these additional factors and watch your body transform!

All images sourced via Pinterest

 

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