Targeted fat loss isn’t a thing. So, if you want to lose a little in your tummy, there’s really no way to target it specifically — no matter how many crunches you do.
So, where do you lose weight first?
There are several factors that impact where you lose weight, including:
- Genes. DNA plays a major role in where you’ll lose weight first. If your mom and sis always lose weight around their middles, there’s a good chance the same will happen to you.
- Sex. One study found that women tend to lose weight all over, while men tend to lose more weight from their torsos.
- Current weight. The same study found that people with obesity tend to drop pounds in their arms and legs first.
What does that mean for you? Wherever you tend to gain weight first is where you’ll prob lose it first.
Where you’ll lose weight on your body first will depend on several factors.
Types of body fat
- Essential. Essential fat is what’s necessary to have a functional and healthy bod. For women, that’s at least 12 percent body fat and for men, it’s about 3 percent.
- Subcutaneous. This is the kind that lies just under your skin. For the most part, this stuff is harmless and at least some of it is essential.
- Visceral fat. Visceral fat is often dubbed the “invisible fat” because it tends to hide between your vital organs and muscles, usually around your middle. This stuff’s more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. It can increase your risk of developing health probs like cardiovascular disease (especially for women).
Where women lose weight first
Findings from a study suggested that women tend to lose weight all over but hang onto it in their hips and thighs. That might change around menopause when women’s fat distribution tends to change with hormonal shifts.
The same study found that people with obesity tend to lose weight first in their arms and legs, regardless of sex.
According to a 2012 research review, “women are better [than men] at defending weight” when they exercise. Yeah, basically, that means women’s bodies are willing to fight harder to hang onto that fat, even after hours on the treadmill. (Thanks, body! Love ya. 🙄)
But srsly, women truly need more fat than men, so pat your bod on the back.
Where men lose weight first
According to one study, men tend to drop weight around their torsos first. However, men with obesity tend to drop it first in their arms and legs.
A 2014 research review showed that men also tend to lose weight much more easily than women.
Genes, hormones, current body weight, oh my! Lots of things impact where you’ll shed fat first. Here’s the lowdown on dropping lbs.
Genes (thanks, fam)
You can thank your ancestors for your fit-fam results — genes play a big role in body fat distribution. A research review found that genetic factors also impact weight loss, so if your rents’ Mediterranean diet worked for them, there’s a good chance it’ll work for you, too.
Another research review found that the link between genetic factors and body fat distribution seems to be stronger in women than in men.
Hormones (thanks, thyroid)
Hormones play a major role in weight loss. Estrogen (one of the main sex hormones for women) may cause women to accumulate more weight around their hips and thighs. Meanwhile, higher levels of testosterone in men help them build muscle and burn off fat in their 20s and 30s.
With age, these hormone levels drop, which is one reason why both sexes tend to gain more weight around their midsections as they get older.
Other hormones like cortisol, insulin, ghrelin, and leptin impact weight. A research review found a strong link between cortisol (your stress hormone) and abdominal obesity. So, if you’re packing a little extra tummy flub, blame your stressors!
Current body weight (thanks, bod)
Fun fact: Your current body weight influences where you’ll lose weight first. According to a study, if you have obesity RN, you’re more likely to drop pounds first in your arms and legs.
More research in this area is needed though. But it seems that people who have obesity may lose weight differently (at least initially) than those in a moderate weight range.
Here are the deets on spot toning these three specific areas.
How to make your belly look more tone
Let’s be real: Losing belly fat means losing weight all over.
How to banish your bb face
No, you can’t wave a magic wand and make your bod lose weight face-first. Losing weight from your face only happens when you work to burn fat all over.
How to make your thighs seem trimmer
By now, you know where this is headed: Yes, the only way to truly lose weight in your thighs is to burn cals and fat all over.
To make this area look slimmer and trimmer, here’s what to try:
- Eat lean protein and plenty of veggies.
- Fit in your cardio and strength training.
- Eat fresh fruit for dessert.
- Eat foods that satisfy your hunger with fewer calories.
- Try some lunges, squats, and thigh lifts.
Losing weight typically requires a nutritious diet and regular exercise, and what exactly that means will differ from person to person.
Be wary of any diet, pill, or supplement that claims to help you “lose weight fast.” Dropping pounds overnight is rarely healthy, attainable, or sustainable.
To get to a healthy weight as safely as possible, try the following on for size:
- Don’t skip out on strength training. Building muscle helps burn fat, so don’t skimp on strength training. No need to go all Arnold on us –– anyone can benefit from pumping a little iron (or if that’s not your thing, try a resistance band).
- Go loco for cardio. Walk, run, skip, swim, jog, jump, skate, bike, cartwheel –– the cardio possibilities are endless. Whether you opt to play fetch with your furry friend around or leap-frog through your living room, fitting in 20 or 40 mins of moderate-to-hardcore cardio a day is easy when you get creative.
- Nutrients!!!! Eating nutritiously doesn’t have to be hard (or expensive). You already know that eating lean protein, curbing carbs, and nomming on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies is ideal. But to find out the perfect meals that work for your needs, consider writing in a food diary and tracking your meals and how you feel. When you know what works for you, you’re more likely to stick to your plan.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is a safe and healthy rate. As an added perk, going slow and steady means you’re more likely to keep it off.
While everyone’s different, the USDA recommends that women eat at least 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day and men eat 2,000 to 3,000.
- Where you lose weight first depends on lots of factors like genes, sex, current weight, and hormones. If your family members lose tummy weight first, you’re more likely to, as well. If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to lose weight across your body while men tend to lose it in the core area first.
- Targeted fat loss doesn’t work, full stop. There’s no way to lose weight in isolated areas, though spot toning might help certain areas appear slimmer. In order to lose weight, you’ll have to aim to drop pounds overall.
- Healthy weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. Losing weight safely typically means no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
- Everyone’s different — that’s what makes life so great. If you need help finding a weight loss regimen that works for you, talk with a nutritionist, fitness expert, or your doctor.