You probably know that not all dietary fat is created equal: some fats are healthy while others should never show up on your menu. The same is true of body fat: it may look the same from a distance, but different types of it have different chemical makeup and role in the organism, and they won’t melt at the same pace, which is why you’ll have to approach them in different ways if you want to melt fat fast and for good. So, what are the main types of body fat, why does some of it stick to your tummy, and which steps should you take to lose different fat types quickly and efficiently?
Main Fat Types: Code Brown or Code White?
Body fat is usually classified into different categories based on makeup, function, and location. The most popular classification includes the differentiation between brown and white fat based on the function of fat cells. Let’s take a quick look at these two fats lurking under your skin, shall we?
If you thought skinny folks have no fat at all, you’re utterly mistaken. Researchers found children and individuals with lower BMI index to have more brown fat than those on the heavier side of the scale.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise since brown fat functions more like a muscle than its white counterpart and can nudge calorie and fat burn onto the speedier track when activated. In this light, brown fat can actually serve as a deterrent to obesity and related health conditions.
Compared to brown fat, white fat may not seem as healthy at first glance – but if you look more closely, you’ll see it’s no less important for proper functioning of your organism. As a general rule, the role of white fat is to store energy and release hormones into the bloodstream. One of these hormones is adiponectin and its role is to control insulin levels and keep heart disease and diabetes at bay. When people become overweight, adiponectin production decelerates or shuts down completely, which can increase the risk of diseases. The good news is you can turn white fat into brown by diet and lifestyle changes, so don’t stress it all that much even if you’re not as handsomely sculpted as you’d like to be.
Not just an eyesore: Subcutaneous vs. visceral fat
Based on fat stock location, experts distinguish between subcutaneous and visceral fat, as well as belly fat, buttocks fat, and thigh fat. Each of these fat types has specific features and roles in the body, but in most cases, we tend to regard it as just an eyesore. Sadly, there’s more to body fat than meets the eye: hidden fat can seriously jeopardize your health and increase the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
Subcutaneous fat lurks directly under your skin and it can be measured using skin-fold calipers to get an estimate of total body fat. In most cases, subcutaneous fat found in thighs, belly, and buttocks isn’t as bad for your long-term health as visceral fat but it can become a serious health risk (and a serious eyesore) if you don’t take steps to bust it without delay.
Compared to its visible counterpart, visceral fat is a much nastier fellow. The biggest problem with hidden fat stock lies in the fact it can’t be measured with precision. In most cases, visceral fat is found in the abdomen, where it’s distributed around organs such as liver, pancreas, and/or kidneys in the form of jelly. Visceral fat can’t be burnt as easily or as fast as subcutaneous fat, and it increases the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis, coronary heart disease, sleeping disorders, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. Unless identified and treated on time, belly fat (a.k.a. deep or active fat) can disrupt hormonal balance and create a fertile ground for insulin resistance hitches and elevated toxin and LDL cholesterol levels.
Five shades of fat: The skinny on belly fat
Of all fats out there, belly fat is considered as most dangerous, and for a reason, too. Made from both subcutaneous and visceral fat, belly fat can be classified in a few categories, including spare tire, pooch, stress belly, bloated belly, and mommy belly. And while it may seem that these five belly fat types are all equally aesthetically challenging, each of them has a different background story and requires a different type of treatment.
1) The spare tire belly
The punctured tire or spare tire belly is a common sight in people who eat the wrong foods and get little or no exercise. In most cases, the Michelin Man belly is made from white fat caused by excess intake of sugar and alcohol, and it’s closely linked to increased frequency of carbohydrate cravings and irregularly distributed blood glucose spikes.
2) Stress tummy fat
Fat type which afflicts high fliers, perfectionists, workaholics, and other chronically stressed out individuals who often suffer from indigestion, stress belly is made of cortisol accumulated in the tummy, around the belly button, and it can feel hard to touch. Combined with water retention and elevated sugar intake, stress fat can evolve into a serious health issue, so if you notice your belly getting heavier, don’t take the symptoms lightly.
3) The classic pooch
A type of belly fat which commonly afflicts clerks and office workers, the pooch is made of equal parts of inactivity and unvaried diet, and it afflicts overweight and skinny people alike. Typically stuck in the lower abdomen, the belly pooch can also be caused by improper sitting posture and excess stress placed on the lower back during extended sitting.
4) The bloated belly
If your belly fat seems to develop n the course of a single day and disappear overnight, odds are you have a bloated belly. The bloated belly is a side effect of a poor nutrition plan and food sensitivities and allergies, but it can also be a sign you’re eating too much of the same stuff (i.e. dairy or protein).
5) The mommy belly
During pregnancy and delivery, pelvic floor muscles are exposed to intense stress and they take time to return to original shape. The same is true of the uterus: along with pelvic floor muscles, uterus will need to be retrained if you want the fat distributed in mommy’s belly to vanish. In a way, the mommy belly fat resembles the rounded belly of a pregnant lady, but it feels softer to touch and it’s usually linked to elevated estrogen levels, ovarian cysts, and hormonal imbalance which naturally accompanies pregnancy.
Fixing fat down below: Type-based belly fat busters
To do away with ab flab, you’ll first need to identify the type of fat you’re plagued by and then take type-specific steps to burn stubborn tummy fat stock. Each of the fat types above is caused by different factors, which is why you should address the underlying cause if you’re to eliminate the belly fat fast and for good.
No punctured tires in sight
To melt the spare tire in the belly area, ditch sugar from the menu, structure your meals around healthy staples such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and healthy fat, and increase your fiber intake. You should also take up a sport or light exercise such as walking to nudge belly fat burn onto the right track and keep tabs on daily stress levels.
No stress in the belly area
If you’re down with stress belly, you should go back to the drawing table and devise a fixed meal schedule. To speed up belly fat loss and trim stress, don’t skip meals, cleanse your menu of junk food, caffeine, and soft drinks, and take up light resistance training or another beginner level workout. You can also try stretching sleep hours and practicing yoga to do away with anxiety which can contribute to digestive problems.
Poach the nasty pooch
To poach that pooch, up your fiber and protein intake and take up a workout targeting core and surrounding muscles, such as push-pull exercises, planks, push-ups, crunches, jumps, squats, and lifts. In addition to melting a stubborn pooch, core exercises will strengthen your lower back and build you a whistle-worthy six pack.
Bust that bloated belly
To bust a bloated belly, take a quick look at your menu and see how and where you can tweak it to strike a balance in terms of macronutrients and micronutrients. If you’re looking to speed up digestion and fat burn, it would be smart to add probiotics to your menu and spring clean your diet of food allergens such as dairy and gluten. For peak weight loss success, you should take a walk every evening and combine the light workout with yoga poses, conscious breathing, and meditation to set blood flow on the right and speedy track.
Wow-worthy mom abs
As nasty as a mommy belly may look, try not to put your body through physical stress in the first few months after delivery. Start by slight nutritionist-approved diet tweaks, up intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, start building your next summer body by gentle stabilizer exercises, and work your way up to stretches and yoga as your overall shape improves.
Looking to bust stubborn belly fat?
Be careful how you go about the fat loss project: after all, if you’re going to spend weeks sweating fat out of your system and limiting intake of your sweet tooth’s favorite snacks, do your best to make the lifestyle change count. Good luck!
Author Bio: Nicole Noel
Nicole is a lifestyle blogger at HighStyleLife passionate about yoga and healthy living. She enjoys sharing her experiences and ideas on how to lead a happy and healthy life. If you want to read more from Nicole you can find her on Twitter and Facebook.