Abdominal fat is considered a greater threat to health than hip-and-thigh fat because abdominal fat

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Abdominal obesity and your health

Updated: January 20, 2017Published: September, 2005

Excess body fat has serious consequences for health. It’ associated with high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides and low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It impairs the body’s responsiveness to insulin, raising blood sugar and insulin levels. Excess body fat contributes to major causes of death and disability, including heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, fatty liver, and depression.

Faced with these risks, it’s no wonder that you want to know how much you should weigh. But this common and important question is actually the wrong question. For health, the issue is not how much you weigh, but how much abdominal fat you have.

Evaluating obesity

Methods have changed over the years. But when scientists recognized that what matters is not body weight but body fat, standards began to change. The body mass index (BMI), remains enshrined as the standard way to diagnose overweight and obesity.

Beyond the BMI

The BMI provides a good estimate of body fat, and it’s more accurate than skinfold measurements. Although the BMI is the official standard, it has several flaws. For one thing, highly trained athletes with big muscles can have BMIs of 30, with little body fat. At the other extreme, the BMI may fail to accurately reflect body fatness in adults who have lost substantial amounts of muscle mass. But the most important problem is that the BMI reflects total body fat without regard to how the fat is distributed. And although no excess fat is good, one type of excess fat is much more dangerous than the others. Research shows that abdominal fat is the worst of the worst.

The inside story

What makes abdominal fat so harmful? Scientists don’t know for sure, but research is providing strong clues. To understand these clues, you must first understand that abdominal fat comes in two different forms. Some of it is located in the fatty tissue just beneath the skin. This subcutaneous fat behaves like the fat elsewhere in the body; it’s no friend to health, but it’s no special threat either.

Fat inside the abdomen is another story. This visceral fat is located around the internal organs, and it’s the true villain of the piece. One of the earliest explanations for this was that visceral obesity was linked to overactivity of the body’s stress response mechanisms, which raise blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cardiac risk.

A newer explanation relies on the concept of lipotoxicity. Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat cells release their metabolic products directly into the portal circulation, which carries blood straight to the liver. As a result, visceral fat cells that are enlarged and stuffed with excess triglycerides pour free fatty acids into the liver. Free fatty acids also accumulate in the pancreas, heart, and other organs. In all these locations, the free fatty acids accumulate in cells that are not engineered to store fat. The result is organ dysfunction, which produces impaired regulation of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as abnormal heart function.

These explanations are not mutually exclusive; all may help account for the hazards of visceral fat. All in all, clinical observations and basic research results agree that excessive fat inside the abdomen is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Evaluating abdominal obesity

The most accurate method is to use computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the amount of visceral fat. But they’re expensive and require sophisticated equipment.

A far simpler method is to determine the waist-to-hip ratio. With your abdomen relaxed, measure your waist at the navel. Next, measure your hips at their widest point, usually at the bony prominences. Finally, divide your waist size by your hip size:
Waist (in inches) / Hips (in inches) = ratio

How does your ratio translate into health risk? The chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke increases steadily as a man’s ratio rises above 0.95; for women, risk begins to rise above 0.85.

The waist-to-hip ratio is a very useful tool. But many experts are now turning to an even simpler technique: waist circumference. Because it involves one measurement instead of two, it’s more accurate and reproducible than the waist-to-hip ratio.

To measure your waist circumference properly, take your shoes off and stand with your feet together. Be sure your belly is bare. Relax and exhale. Using a cloth measuring tape that can’t be stretched, not the stiff metal tape from your toolbox, measure your waist at the navel. Be sure to keep the tape parallel to the ground. Record the measurement to the nearest one-tenth of an inch.

Table 2: Interpreting your waist circumference

Men Women
Low risk 37 inches and below 31.5 inches and below
Intermediate risk 37.1–39.9 inches 31.6–34.9 inches
High risk 40 inches and above 35 inches and above

Girth control

Measuring your waist to learn if you have abdominal obesity and excess visceral fat is easy — but doing something about it is much harder.

Remember the basics. The only way to reduce visceral fat is to lose weight — and the only way to do that is to burn up more calories with exercise than you take in from food. Sustained weight loss requires both caloric restriction and increased exercise.

BMI vs. waist circumference

The BMI is more complex, but waist measurement is more prone to errors than measuring height and weight. So for the time being, you should use both standards. Your BMI will give you the best estimate of your total body fatness, while your waist measurement will give you the best estimate of your visceral fat and risk of obesity-related disease.

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People in both groups consumed fewer calories and lost weight during the four weeks of the study. But the fasting group took in far fewer calories and lost significantly more weight.Fasting every other day may help people lose weight, according to a small clinical trial published recently in the journal Cell Metabolism.

This form of intermittent dieting may also help reduce body fat, lower blood pressure and improve other markers of health, the study reports.

“Why exactly calorie restriction and fasting induce so many beneficial effects is not fully clear yet,” says Dr. Thomas Pieber, one of the study’s authors and an endocrinologist at the Medical University of Graz in Austria, in a released statement.

“The elegant thing about strict ADF is that it doesn’t require participants to count their meals and calories: they just don’t eat anything for one day,” he adds.

The people who participated in this study were all healthy, however, and with a body mass index (BMI) in either the “normal” or “overweight” category. It’s therefore not clear if this form of intermittent fasting would work for people with obesity or if it would be safe for those with medical conditions. And, as Pieber and his colleagues warn in the study, intermittent fasting should not be tried — even by healthy people — without first consulting a physician.

Still, the findings are interesting, for this is the largest clinical trial to date to look at the effects of strict alternate-day fasting on weight loss and various health measures.

How the study was done

For the four-week study, the researchers recruited 60 volunteers between the ages of 35 and 65. Their BMIs ranged from 22 to 30. (A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered “normal” or healthy, and one between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.)

The participants’ blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure were at recommended levels, and none of the people in the study had a history of diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer. In addition, none had used tobacco or recreational drugs within five years, and none reported drinking more than 15 alcoholic drinks per week.

The participants were randomly assigned to either continue with their usual eating habits (the “control” group) or to do alternate-day fasting — specifically, 12 hours of usual eating followed by 36 hours of fasting. While fasting, people were permitted to drink water or unsweetened coffee or black or green tea.

The participants were also instructed to keep food diaries throughout the study. In addition, they wore continuous glucose monitors (which show spikes in blood glucose when people consume calories) to make sure they stayed with the fasting regimen.

The basic results

People in both groups consumed fewer calories and lost weight during the four weeks of the study. But the fasting group took in far fewer calories and lost significantly more weight.

Here are the specifics:

  • The control group consumed, on average, about 840 fewer calories per week.
  • The fasting group consumed, on average, about 4,270 fewer calories a week — a reduction of 37 percent from their pre-study weekly calorie count.
  • The control group lost an average of slightly less than half a pound during the study.
  • The fasting group lost an average of 7.7 pounds — an amount that lowered their BMI by an average of 1.2 points.
  • The control group lost a third of a pound, on average, in total body fat.
  • The fasting group lost an average of 4.6 pounds in total body fat. Most of that reduction involved abdominal fat, which, in excess amounts, is considered a greater threat to health than hip or thigh fat.

Other markers of health also improved for the fasting group. For example:

  • Their systolic blood pressure fell from an average of 121 mm/Hg to 115 mm/Hg.
  • Their heart rate dropped from an average of 63 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute.
  • They experienced a reduction in levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, a marker linked to inflammation and age-related disease.
  • They experienced a drop in the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine, without encountering any problems with how their thyroid functioned. Other research has linked lowered levels of this hormone with longevity in humans.

As part of this study, the researchers also examined health data from a group of 30 patients who had been following an alternate-day fasting regimen for six months or more. They found no adverse effects among this group.

Not for everyone

Although this small clinical trial had positive results for alternate-day fasting, its authors stress that intermittent fasting is not for everyone.

“We feel that it is a good regime, for some months, for obese people to cut weight, or it might even be a useful clinical intervention in diseases driven by inflammation,” says Frank Madeo, a study co-author and a microbiologist at the University of Graz, in a released statement. “However, further research is needed before it can be applied in daily practice.”

“Additionally, we advise people not to fast if they have a viral infection, because the immune system probably requires immediate energy to fight viruses,” he adds.

The researchers underscore the need to consult a physician before going on any kind of fasting diet. “Even healthy adults should not perform without consultation by clinicians to rule out adverse effects due to critical medical conditions,” they write in their paper.

They also point out that “a wholesome and balanced diet is likely crucial to foster the beneficial effects caused by . Thus, appreciable clinical support and a generally healthy lifestyle should be considered before starting” this form of fasting.

FMI: You can read the study in full on Cell Metabolism’s website.

War on waist: Why it matters and when it’s a risk

Our waistlines have a frustrating tendency to increase as we get older.

Rest assured it happens to almost everyone — a combination of changing hormones, changes in lifestyle, and pesky genetics.

But when does an expanding waist start to become a health concern? And what can you do to stop it?

Waist circumference measurement boxout

  • Take off any external clothing around your waist.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Find the point halfway between the bottom of your lowest rib and the top of your hip bone.
  • Wrap the tape around this point, against the skin, and breath out normally. The tape should be loose enough for you to be able to slip a finger inside it.

Source: Commonwealth Department of Health

The circumference of your waist is important because it’s a good indicator of how much abdominal, or visceral, fat you have — the fat you carry around your middle, including your belly.

A little bit of that sort of fat is useful because it protects your vital organs.

But abdominal fat also produces more of the inflammatory chemicals that interfere with the body’s normal function than fat stored elsewhere on the body, like the buttocks or thighs.

“When you have a lot of visceral fat, it releases a lot of these inflammatory chemicals which have profound effects on other parts of the body,” says public health expert Professor Tim Gill from the University of Sydney.

That includes an increased risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

In men, a waist circumference of 94 centimetres or more means you have an increased risk of chronic disease, according to the Department of Health. Measuring 102 centimetres or more means a “greatly increased risk”.

For women, the corresponding figures are slightly lower: 80 centimetres and 88 centimetres.

In 2014-15 the average waist measurement for men was 97.5cm, while for women it was 87.5cm.

More than half of all Australian men had a waist size that placed them in the ‘increased risk’ category, while two in three Australian women fell into this group.

Is waist circumference always a good measure?

It’s often thought waist circumference is unreliable for people of certain backgrounds who may have larger or smaller frames.

But Professor Gill says waist circumference is less affected by factors like ethnicity, height and muscularity compared to other measures like body mass index (BMI).

A higher weight can elevate your BMI, but it doesn’t always mean you’re unhealthy (Flickr.com: Paola Kizette Cimenti (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0))

A higher weight can elevate your BMI, but it doesn’t always mean you’re unhealthy

Flickr.com: Paola Kizette Cimenti (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

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“Of course, you can see in very large Polynesian men they’re likely to be bigger around the waist,” he says.

“But in general, if your waist circumference is going up, you’re putting on fat, and you’re putting on the worst type of fat.”

And though a bodybuilder may have large biceps, they usually have a trim waist too, Professor Gill says.

“You have a look at their waist, it’s actually quite small. That’s because they are burning up all their fat stores and working on putting on just muscle,” he says.

What about BMI?

Your body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of your weight and height — a number that gives a rough idea of the amount of fat you carry.

Waist circumference BMI calculation boxout

  • Measure your weight (in kilograms, to the first decimal place), making sure to remove external clothing.
  • Measure your height (in metres, to the second decimal place — for example, 177 centimetres becomes 1.77 metres).
  • Plug your statistics into this formula: weight / (height x height).
  • For example, a 72 kilogram man with a height of 177 centimetres would do the following: 72 / (1.77 x 1.77) = 22.98 BMI.
  • Or, you could just use a calculator.

A BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is deemed healthy — lower or higher than that and you’re thought to be underweight or overweight.

Professor Gill says on a population level, BMI can be a reliable predictor of health — those with BMIs in the healthy range have less chronic disease than those deemed overweight or obese based on their BMI.

But when you look at an individual’s BMI, it’s more likely to be distorted by factors like height, frame size or ethnic background than waist circumference.

“It can certainly be distorted by the muscularity of a person — a bigger muscle-bound bodybuilder, or a Polynesian person, they’re going to have less fat compared to the typical European person with the same BMI,” Professor Gill says.

And those with lighter frames can have a lower BMI but still have large stores of fat on their body, Professor Gill says.

The ‘middle-aged spread’

It’s a frustration for countless men and women entering middle age. The beer gut, the spare tyre, the muffin top … there are plenty of names for it and none of them are flattering.

This “middle-aged spread” — the weight we gain in our 30s and 40s, often around the middle — is a widespread phenomenon, and occurs because of a combination of physical and lifestyle changes.

Waist circumference teaser

As we age our sex and growth hormones (the ones that maintain muscle mass) tend to drop off, and with less energy needed for our muscles, we store the excess as fat.

That’s especially the case for men whose sex hormones decline gradually as they age, and women who have gone through menopause.

The fat stores are more likely to be around our middle — because those same growth and sex hormones that work to keep it out of there are the ones being lost.

It’s a vicious cycle, Professor Gill says, because the more abdominal fat you have, the more it interferes with the remaining sex hormones, making keeping the weight off even harder.

Most people are also more sedentary as they age, and in some cases eat more — another ingredient in the recipe of middle-aged weight gain.

And that beer belly that can arise around the same time? Professor Gill says the excess kilojoules from large amounts of drinking play a role, but associated lifestyle factors are also to blame — smoking, sedentary behaviour and poor diet.

Some of us are blessed with genes that make us less likely to succumb to middle-aged spread. But consume more energy than you burn, and you’re likely to get a bigger tummy no matter what your genes, Professor Gill says.

Losing the weight

So how do you give the spare tyre the boot?

Start small, says Professor Gill. Losing even a little bit of weight — as little as five per cent of your overall body weight — can have a “profound effect” on your health risk and your waistline.

“That’s the good thing about the waist circumference measurement, it tends to move quicker than your BMI,” he says.

The other good news is the fat stores around our abdomen are “active” — meaning fat moves more quickly into and out of the area compared with other parts of the body.

So though it can be easy to put on, it should come off at a faster rate too: “You lose weight proportionally faster from your abdomen than from other parts of your body,” Professor Gill says.

Want to Burn Hip Fat? Try These 10 Exercise Options

When it comes to losing fat and toning muscles, especially around your hips, the right combination of diet and exercise can make a difference.

However, since you can’t spot-reduce fat in one area of your body through diet or exercise, it’s important to focus on losing overall body fat. Once you start losing weight, you can focus on exercises that can help tone the muscles in and around your hips and core.

Having less fat and stronger lower body muscles may give your hips a leaner, more sculpted appearance. Plus, having more muscle and less fat will help you burn calories at a faster pace, making it easier to control your weight.

Read on to learn more about the best ways to drop inches and tone your hip muscles.

Exercise and workout options

Squats are a versatile exercise that target many of the muscles in your lower body. You can do squats with just your body weight.

Once you’ve mastered this exercise, you can make it more challenging by holding a dumbbell in each hand, or a kettlebell with both hands, while doing a squat.

To do a squat with good form:

  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. For bodyweight squats, you can put your arms out in front of you for balance.
  3. Engage your core, keep your back straight, spine tall, and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  4. Pause with your knees over, but not beyond, your toes.
  5. Exhale and stand back up.
  6. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions.

2. Side lunges

Also called a lateral lunge, the side lunge is a variation of a forward lunge. It focuses more on the outer thigh and hip area.

  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. With your body tall, core engaged, and eyes facing forward, take a wide step to the right and squat down.
  2. Lower your body until the right thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause. Then push off with the left foot and return to center.
  4. Perform this move, alternating sides, 12 to 16 times.

3. Fire hydrants

The fire hydrant exercise is a move that targets your glutes and hip area. It also uses your core muscles for stability. If you have issues with your knees, you may want to use a mat for this exercise.

  1. Get on your hands and knees, with your knees and feet hip-width apart and your palms on the floor.
  2. Keep your gaze looking slightly ahead and down.
  3. Engage your core, lift your right knee off the floor, and rotate it out to the side and up. Your knee should stay bent the entire time.
  4. Pause at the top, then lower your leg to the starting position.
  5. Complete 10 repetitions with the right leg before repeating with the left.

4. Wall sits

Wall sits, also known as wall squats, are great for working your thighs, hips, and lower abs. They can be a great move to build core strength, test your muscle endurance, and lose weight.

  1. Stand up straight with your back pressed against a wall and your legs a few inches away from the wall.
  2. Slide down the wall until you’re in a sitting position with your legs at a right angle and your hamstrings parallel to the floor.
  3. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. As you build your strength and fitness, try to work up to 1 minute.
  4. Rise back up to the starting position.

5. Banded walk

The banded walk exercise uses a resistance band to keep tension on your hips while you move laterally for a certain amount of paces. It’s an excellent exercise for targeting your hips and strengthening your glutes.

Choose a wide exercise band with enough resistance to challenge your lower body, but one that’s light enough to complete 10 reps in each direction.

  1. Put the exercise band around your ankles, bend your knees slightly, and widen your stance.
  2. Walk to the side without letting your feet touch.
  3. Take 10 steps in one direction, then take 10 steps back to your starting point.
  4. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

6. Step-ups with weights

Step-ups work the muscles in your glutes, hips, and thighs. They can also improve your balance and stability.

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart in front of a knee-height bench or step, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Step onto the bench with your right foot, and drive your left knee up while keeping the weights at your side.
  3. Lower down your left leg, stepping backward off the bench.
  4. Complete 10 to 15 reps, leading with your right leg, then switch and do the same number of reps leading with your left leg.
  5. Do 2 to 3 sets on each side.

7. Side-lying leg raise

The side-lying leg raise is an isolation exercise that strengthens and tones the hips. Correct form is critical for this exercise.

  1. Lie on an exercise mat on your right side.
  2. Slowly raise up your top leg (left leg) as high as you can go. Keep your toes pointed forward.
  3. Pause at the top, then lower your leg to the starting position. Make sure to keep your pelvis steady and your core engaged.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

8. Jump squat

The squat jump is an advanced plyometric exercise that takes the basic squat and adds a jump for power training.

  1. Get in a basic squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your weight on your heels, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  3. From this position, explode upward and come back down.
  4. Upon landing, lower yourself back down to the squatting position. Make sure to land softly with the balls of your feet hitting the ground first, then transferring the weight back to your heels.
  5. Repeat for 30 seconds or 10 to 12 repetitions.

9. Stair climbing

Stair climbing is a great way to tighten and tone your glutes and hips, and get an excellent cardiovascular workout all at the same time. If you have access to a set of bleachers, or a multi-level parking garage, you can run or jog up and down the stairs.

Run or jog up to the top to the stairs, then walk back down. Try to repeat for five minutes. You can also use a Stairmaster or stepmill machine at the gym for a stair-climbing workout.

10. High-intensity-interval-training (HIIT)

High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a type of cardio workout that requires you to do short bursts of intense exercises, followed by a short rest period.

You can burn a lot of calories quickly with HIIT, and research shows that it’s an effective way to burn body fat.

One example of HIIT is to do 30 seconds of fast sprinting on the treadmill, followed by 15 seconds of walking on the treadmill. Or, you could do jump squats or burpees for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest period. There are many variations and options with a HIIT workout.

A HIIT workout will typically range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration. Aim to do a HIIT workout at least two times per week.

Other ways to lose hip fat

Exercise is a great tool to help you build lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. It’s also one of the best ways to help keep the pounds off after losing weight. However, if you’re looking to maximize your overall weight loss, it’s important to consider other lifestyle changes, too.

Eat a healthy diet

When it comes to losing weight and trimming down your hips, eating a healthy diet plays a key role. Try to follow an eating plan that focuses on whole foods across all food groups.

Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars, and keep an eye on your portion sizes. Aim to consume fewer calories than you burn each day.

Get good quality sleep

Getting the right amount of sleep each night can help support your weight loss efforts. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.

Keep stress in check

We all have stress in our lives, but research shows that having too much stress can lead to health complications such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and headaches. That’s why keeping your stress in check is a critical part of a weight loss program.

If you deal with stress regularly, you may want to try stress-reduction activities like yoga, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises. Exercise can also help reduce stress levels. Consider talking with your doctor or therapist about ways to manage your stress.

Takeaway

While it’s not possible to spot-reduce fat on your hips, you can design a program that prioritizes fat loss with an emphasis on lower-body strengthening exercises. The end result may include hips that are trimmer, stronger, and more toned.

20 Ways to Lose Weight in Your Hips

In a perfect world, you’d be able to pick and choose where you lose and gain weight. Unfortunately, when your body needs energy, it takes it from all over your body—not just from your hips because you’re sick of your love handles and muffin top. But if you’re specifically wondering how to lose hip fat, there are tweaks that can be made to your diet and exercise plan (and your attitude towards helpful living in general) that make shrinking your hips a feasible endeavor.

We turned to some of the country’s leading health and fitness experts to find out the most effective strategies for how to lose hip fat, all of which eschew quick fixes—and instead encourage long-term weight loss results.

How to lose weight in your hips at the gym.

First, these are the exercises you can add to your gym routine to tighten and tone your hip and lower ab area.

1

Replace cardio with HIIT.

“Slow, steady cardio—think long jogs—will have you going nowhere…slowly,” says Noah Neiman, co-founder of Rumble-Boxing in New York City. “It’s one of the most over-used and least efficient ways to lose weight.” Neiman suggests trading in your long jogs for some harder, more aggressively paced intervals—also known as high-intensity interval training (HITT), a type of training that gets and keeps your heart rate up to burn more fat in less time. The way it works is you push your body to its maximum for 20 to 30 seconds of an exercise (like sprinting), then rest or do a less intense version of that exercise for one to two times that amount, and then keep repeating this pattern for 20 minutes. Sayonara, squishy sides!

2

Forget spot training.

“Most personal trainers no longer endorse spot training, since scientific evidence supports that it doesn’t successfully eliminate fat in the targeted area,” says personal yoga and group fitness instructor Amanda Murdock. She goes on to explain that body fat, unfortunately, works like the ol’ “first in, last out” method.

“The first place you gain weight will be the last place you lose weight, and that’s usually the belly and hips.” Exercises focused on your abdomen, however, do help you to tone that area; but the fastest way to lose excess fat in your stomach and hips is to perform exercises that cause you to lose excess fat overall (like from those intense exercises mentioned above).

3

Train multiple exercise groups.

“It’s best to do moves that incorporate multiple muscle groups since you can’t really spot train one specific problem area,” says Physique 57 co-founder Tanya Becker. “Barre exercises are highly effective since your body becomes the machinery and your muscles have to work together to support your balance at the barre.” Becker also notes that it’s important to combine sprints that incorporate cardio, as well as strength training. “This combination yields quick results when you’re trying to trim and tone all of your muscles.”

4

Focus on core exercises.

We already covered the unfortunate truth that we can’t pick and choose where we lose and gain weight meaning that spot training is vastly over-rated. “Doing core strengthening exercises, however, are important because having a strong core will give you more strength in your workouts,” says Murdock. “And we already know more muscle means less muffin top.”

5

Make your lower body work, too.

“If you want to slim your hips, think of your entire lower body,” says Rachel Piskin creator of Chaise Fitness. “Focus on exercises that build long, lean muscles. This will lengthen your hamstrings and quads, which as a result will create a more lean and toned lower body.” Exercises you should consider include opposite leg and arm lifts and yoga-inspired moves like twisted chair and downward dog.

6

Practice balance exercises.

Balance exercises are a great way to slim the hips and melt love handles. Piskin suggests, for example, going into a lunge then pushing up to a one-legged balance. This will work the core, glutes, inner and outer thighs to help trim the body.

7

Try pilates.

“One of the best exercises is placing a ball between the inner thighs and going into a bridge position with the hips,” says Peskin. “Squeeze from the inner thighs the ball 30 times and then lift your heels and repeat. Take away the ball and get into bridge position again, squeezing your knees together and pulsing your hips up 30 times. This series can be repeated three to five times.

8

Consider metabolic conditioning.

Metcon (aka Metabolic conditioning) is, according to Neiman, the ultimate way to train both hard and smart. “Metcon is a way of training that both builds a lean body and keeps that metabolism roaring throughout the day; even when you stop working out.”

What does that mean for you? It means that, even when you’re watching TV and noshing on your protein-filled sandwich post workout, you’ll be burning calories. An example of a Metcon training circuit would be to do burpees, jump squats, jumping lunges, and rows for 30 seconds each—at a high intensity—followed by a 30-second break; you repeat the circuit five times.

9

Try this routine.

We asked Justin Norris and Taylor Gainor, co-founders of the LIT Method, to put together a special hip workout circuit that can be done anywhere, anytime. Ready? Let’s do it!

Start with a side plank for 30 seconds on each side (drop your hips toward the mat and lift them back up towards the ceiling, keeping your core muscles engaged).

Then do 30 seconds of kick unders (start in high plank position, take one leg and aim it towards your elbow, alternating sides).

Next, do squats to oblique twists for 30 seconds (start with your feet shoulder width apart, cradle your hands behind your head; after you squat and begin to rise, take your opposite knee to opposite elbow, alternating sides).

Next, do 30 seconds of bicycles (lie flat on your back, hands cradled behind your neck, squeeze your core while alternate elbows to opposite knees, with a slow and controlled tempo).

Finish off with knee-to-opposite-elbow mountain climbers (in plank position explosively drive your knee to opposite elbow preparing your other leg to move as your leg comes back to starting position) and then plank marchers (in forearm plank position, slowly drive your knee to the outer part of your elbow, alternating sides).

Lifestyle tips to lose hip fat.

10

Garbage In, Garbage Out

“There is no way around it,” says Neiman. “What you put in your body is 99.9 percent responsible for the composition of your body. It’s not about eating less or even eating more, it’s about eating smart,” says Neiman. These are the best-ever fat-burning foods that you should be filling your cart with.

11

Eat Lean Meats

“Unless it’s for ethical reasons, eat up,” says Murdock. “Organic and grass fed lean cuts of meat are an amino acid powerhouse. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, protein is the building blocks of muscle, and muscle keeps you lean.”

12

Be Mindful Of Powders

Watch out for powdered foods—including protein powder, peanut butter powder and Crystal Light—which Murdock often finds are the culprit for gas and bloating with her clients. “In many cases, these can not only make you feel bloated, but can also cause visible bulging.”

13

Avoid Diet-Based Foods

Stay away from items labeled low-fat or sugar-free. Becker cautions that most of these diet-based foods are highly processed or use substitutes that have very little nutritional value. Instead, she recommends snacking on nutrient dense, fiber-rich foods like raw almonds, carrots and hummus, or apple slices dipped in raw honey, all of which help provide energy and keep you satiated between meals. She also recommends steaming or boiling your vegetables whenever you can to get the most nutrients from them.

14

Monitor Your Fiber Intake

Pay attention to how much fiber you’re consuming; it’s amazing for satiety and important for gut health and optimal digestion. Murdock does issue a note of caution: “If you’re eating a high fiber diet without drinking a lot of water, you’ll become gassy and you’ll notice bloating, which looks a lot like fat but isn’t. I speak from fiber experience. It doesn’t stop me from eating it, but it does stop me from freaking out when I bloat.”

15

Eat More Fat

Studies show diets higher in healthy fats are better for your waistline. “So, don’t feel as bad for crushing that whole jar of almond butter at midnight last night….well maybe not the whole jar,” says Neiman. Nuts, dark chocolate, fatty fish, chia seeds, avocados and extra virgin olive oil are also good sources of healthy fats.

16

Power Up with Protein

While you might have to think twice about your protein powders, protein is good. “Studies have have shown diets rich in lean proteins have the best body composition,” says Neiman. “They keep you full longer and release hormones that help keep your body at a favorable weight. So, eat those whole organic eggs proudly.” Chicken, turkey, fish, seafood and nuts are also good options for protein especially if you’re trying to lose weight in hips.

17

Eat Fish

Murdock tells her clients to load their plates with fish. Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon to be precise. “The fatty acid composition is great for your hair, nails and waistline.”

18

Caffeine Can Be Your Friend

While there are pros and cons to caffeine, it has been shown time and time again that coffee can improve athletic performance. Drink your brew a few minutes before your workout and it will give you an energy boost to help tackle those fat burning, calorie-torching workout moves and burn hip fat.

19

Consistency Is Key

Bad weight takes time to put on—and it takes time to drop off, too. Wondering how to lose hip fat? One of the first things Neiman tells his clients is that it’s important to find a routine of healthy eating and exercise you can maintain. Then, he says, be relentless in achieving your goal. Most health and fitness professional recommend adhering to an 80/20 diet where 80 percent of the time you’re eating healthfully (vegetables, lean protein, etc.) and 20 percent of the time you’re giving into your food vices.

20

Drink More Water

“Think you’re hungry? Chances are you’re dehydrated and it’s messing with your metabolism,” says Neiman. Watching your water intake is especially important if you consume a lot of sodium, which is dehydrating (this tends to be the case if your diet is high in processed foods). Remember that food can be a great source for water—think watermelon and cucumbers. Several of the foods on our list of the most filling healthy snacks have high water density!

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Many women tell me that every stray calorie seems to migrate to their hips and thighs. This is not a figment of their imaginations. And many women are looking for ways to get slim hips and thighs.

Before menopause, many women’s bodies store excess fat predominantly in this area, creating what’s come to be known as the “pear-shaped” body. For thousands of years, fat storage in these areas greatly helped cave-dwelling women survive during times of drought and famine. And women who could easily store fat in their hips and thighs tended to be able to give birth and feed a baby during a drought—during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the body needs as many as 1,000 extra calories a day—thus passing on their thigh-fat-storing genetics to future generations.

MORE: 25 Ways People With Highly Stressful Jobs Keep It Together (Prevention Premium)

This is one reason why thigh fat is so difficult to get rid of. Genes left over from your cave-dwelling ancestors cause hormones and enzymes in your body to direct every extra calorie into waiting fat cells in your hips and thighs. For example, your levels of the female sex hormone estrogen may be a tad higher than other women whose bodies don’t store excess fat in these areas (or as much of it).

But there are ways to coax these fat cells in your thighs to release their contents, and to coax your muscle cells into burning it up! So don’t despair. Read on for the right moves that blast fat from your hips and thighs.

Are you ready to see a slimmer, healthier you? Get the results you’re looking for with our Leave Your Fat Behind Workout Plan.

What Causes Cellulite?
Besides excess fat in their thighs, many women complain to me about a certain type of fat known as cellulite. They tell me that no matter how much weight they lose, they can’t seem to smooth out the tiny lumps of fat on their thighs. Indeed, some of the most slender women have cellulite. Cellulite is created when fat manages to push its way through tiny holes in your connective tissue, the thick web of interwoven fibers just underneath your skin. Strong and healthy connective tissue forms a tighter web of interwoven fibers, preventing fat from pressing its way through. Weak, unhealthy connective tissue, on the other hand, more easily stretches apart, allowing tiny fat pockets to poke through. Many factors can weaken your connective tissue, setting the stage for cellulite. They include:

High Hormone Levels: Women with higher-than-normal levels of the female hormone estrogen tend to suffer more often from cellulite. Other than directing extra calories to fat cells in your thighs, estrogen also weakens connective tissue. When estrogen softens connective tissue around the womb, it makes childbirth possible. Unfortunately, estrogen softens all of the connective tissue in your body, not just that around your womb.

Poor Blood Circulation: Usually, high estrogen levels alone won’t trigger cellulite to form. Many experts believe that you must also have poor blood circulation to your connective tissue, which tends to cause swelling. The swelling stretches the connective tissue apart, allowing the fat to bulge through.

Fluid Retention: Many people think that fluid retention takes place only in the abdomen. That’s not true. It actually occurs all over your body, including your thighs. If you’ve ever pulled on a favorite pair of pants and found them tight in the thighs one day and loose the next, you’ve experienced the ebb and flow of fluid retention. Any type of swelling in your thighs—particularly on a chronic basis—will stretch out and weaken connective tissue.

A Frenzied Lifestyle: Emotional stress has also been shown to weaken connective tissue.

What You Can Do
First, daily exercise will help to normalize your hormonal levels. This not only helps prevent cellulite, it will also help to prevent mood swings. Second, exercising will increase blood circulation to your thighs, helping to keep the connective tissue healthy. Better blood circulation will, in turn, help to remove excess fluid. Finally, as you shed fat in your hips and thighs, you’ll have less of it to press against your connective tissue.

Good News/Bad News
Genetically speaking, there are two predominant body types. Some people gain fat in their lower bodies, creating the pear shape mentioned earlier. Others tend to gain fat in their abdomens, creating what’s known as an apple shape.

Though you may have come to despise the fat on your hips and thighs, you should know that you have a major advantage over people who tend to gain it elsewhere. Research has shown over and over again that abdominal fat—and not hip and thigh fat—is particularly dangerous to your health. Abdominal fat more easily makes its way into your bloodstream, clogging your arteries. Thigh fat is much less likely to do so.

Now for the bad news. Thigh fat is a little harder to burn off than belly fat. You probably know this already. If you and a guy friend have ever resolved to lose weight at the same time, you probably noticed that he had a much easier time dropping the weight in his belly than you did in your thighs.

MORE: Your 5-Minute Routine For Killer, Ageless Arms

Regardless, that doesn’t mean you can’t burn it off. I know that women who have excess thigh fat are generally the most motivated to get rid of it. So I probably don’t have to give you much of a pep talk to help motivate you toward your goal. Abdominal fat is easy to hide with a big sweater. Thigh fat, on the other hand, is almost impossible to hide. And summer can be a very difficult time for women. My female friends and online clients tell me that they hate wearing shorts and swimsuits because they hate revealing their legs. And they tell me that their pants tend to hug too tightly in the thighs.

But you can change all of that! Not only can you slim down your thighs and hips and smooth away that cellulite, but you can also build the muscles in your legs, which are some of the largest and strongest muscles in your body. Stronger leg muscles make your overall life feel so much more effortless. You’ll walk with more confidence and with a spring in your step. You’ll be able to climb stairs without getting tired. And you’ll be able to go on strenuous hikes—all because of your strong legs! You will feel better about yourself from the inside out.

Move 1: Seated Pillow Squeeze (works on inner thighs)

Sit on a sturdy chair (one without wheels). Rest your feet on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Place a pillow between your thighs. Exhale as you squeeze the pillow between your thighs, as if you were trying to squeeze the stuffing out of the pillow. Hold for 1 minute as you breathe normally. Release and proceed to Move 2.

Mitch Mandel

Move 2: Seated Hand Push (works outer thighs and hips)

Sit on a sturdy chair. Rest your feet on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Place your palms on the outsides of your knees. While keeping your palms and arms stationary, push your knees outward against your palms, as if you were trying to push your palms away. At the same time, press inward with your hands, preventing your thighs from pushing them outward. Hold this isometric contraction for 1 minute, breathing normally. Release and proceed to Move 3.

Mitch Mandel

MORE: 8 Ways To Tone Your Back

Move 3: Seated Leg Raise (works fronts of the thighs)

Sit on a sturdy chair. Rest your feet on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Rest your hands on the chair at your sides. Exhale as you lift and extend your right leg. Hold for 30 seconds as you breathe normally. Then inhale as you lower your right leg and exhale as you repeat with your left leg. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing normally. Release and proceed to Move 4.

Mitch Mandel

MORE: 10 Ab Exercises That Are Better Than Crunches

Move 4: Seated Bridge (works the backs of the thigh and rear end)

Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair. Rest your feet on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Rest your palms on the chair at your sides. Exhale as you lift your hips, allowing your palms and feet to support your body weight. Continue to lift your hips until your body resembles the shape of a bridge. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds while breathing normally. Release and return to Move 1. Repeat Moves 1-4 once more, and you’re done.

Mitch Mandel Jorge Cruise Best-selling author Jorge Cruise’s latest book is The Cruise Control Diet (Ballantine Books, 2019).

How to Gain Weight in Thighs and Buttocks Fast 🍑

Healthy snack

High calorie- foods will help you achieve your calorie- intake effortlessly. Foods like avocados and eggs are good for starters. Avoid eating empty calories like sweets, junk and fast foods.

Eat small frequent meals per day to increase the amount of calorie intake. Instead of buying chips, invest in a nutrition shake like ensure. Alternatively, increase your portion size during main meals and add two snacks throughout the day.

Small frequent meals prevent you from getting excessively full. This way you are able to stay active throughout the day.

2. How To Get Big Hips If Your Skinny Through Exercises 🏃

Repetitive exercises are the basics of any muscle building program. The process of muscle building should not be rushed; it should be steady and controlled until desired outcome is achieved.

We Go IN-DEPT on our guide to getting big here – Get It Here

The following are some of the exercises that build butt and thigh muscles fast when done continuously:

Bridges

The bridge or butt exercise is one of the most strength-training exercises that will help you lift your gluteus and add an inch to your hips. Here is how to successfully perform the bridge exercises

  1. Start by lying on your back. Keep the arms flat on the floor beside you and bend your knees into a 90 degrees angle. Keep your feet flat on the floor
  2. Press your pelvis up in the air with your knees bent. Stop when the back is in a straight line
  3. You need to hold in this position as much as you can. Lower your back to the ground slowly and repeat this exercise more times.

Squats

Squats exercises are very important when you are looking into toning your entire lower body. When done well, squats help enlarge your hips and gluteus. Here are steps on how to perform the squats correctly:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder -width apart and toes facing out at 45 degrees from the body.
  2. Squat with your knees from for few seconds and push back up to the standing position. Try to push using the butt muscles.
  3. Alternatively, hold two dumbbells (one in each hand). Or one on the shoulders to make the squats more challenging and effective.
  4. Add a leg rise to help target your hip area. Extend one leg straight to the side when getting back to the standing position. Change sides as you continue squatting.
  5. Using office exercise equipment like a yoga ball chair can help you get those glutes burned.

Lunges

Lunges also target your hip and butt muscles just like the squat exercises. You will need to exert more strength from the hip area so that you are able to maintain balance all along.

To perform lunges;

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with the right leg about 4 feet.
  2. Go down so that your right knee bends forward and the left leg drops to the ground. Continue lowering down until the right thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Push back to the standing position with your right leg. Do about 8 lunges per side.
  4. Side lunges can also help target the hips. For side lunges step outwards to the side instead of forward. Alternate this exercise on both legs for some time.

Side leg rises

Side leg raises target the hip muscles. They best show great results when incorporated with lunges and squats.

Here is to how to perform leg rises correctly;

  1. Lay down on the floor on your right side. Let the right arm hold the head in place so that the upper arm is flat on the floor. You can either place the left hand on the hip or on the floor in front of you.
  2. Tighten the abdominal muscles and slowly lift your left leg up. Keep the toes well flexed and the leg straight.
  3. Lift the leg as high as you can and hold it in this position for a few seconds. Take the leg down in slow motion and repeat this move as many times as possible and roll over to the right side and repeat the same.

Jogging

Running is a cardio exercise that greatly targets your butt and hips. A treadmill, for example, enables you to use an incline function to work the hips properly.

  • Do a combination of several cardio exercises to help you work the butt area differently for better results.

Walking sideways on the treadmill will put more stress on the gluteus in order to give your thighs and buttocks the tension they need to build muscles.

Spinning

Spinning helps burn calories while toning your thighs at the same time. Up and down movements help increase the muscle around the butt.

  1. Always sit back on the bike and focus on pushing the pedals down as much as possible. Increase the resistance to the extent that you are comfortable with.
  2. On standing position, stick your butt out far behind so that you are able to target those muscles easily.
Body type Exercises to perform What to eat
You gain weight easily especially around the butt area Do cardio exercise and lower body exercises to tone your thighs and buttocks Eat plenty of whole grains and fruits. Eat more than five meals in a day.
You easily gain weight around the stomach area In cooperate an abs workout with butt and thigh exercises to enable your stomach stay leaner than the butt Indulge in high protein diet with plenty of vegetables.
You easily gain weight in the arms and face Slow down on cardio, because it will keep your buttocks and thighs from building muscles. Aim more on weight-training Eat more often. Avoid high salty foods and drink plenty of water.
You gain weight more in the thighs Try longer workouts to give adequate time to building of thigh and butt muscles. Eat proteins in plenty. Whole meal and vegetables at every meal is also essential.
You hardly gain weight

Avoid cardio. Shift to

weight training.

Eat starchy foods rich in high calories. Gaining leg fat is easiestly attained from diet.

How long should you wait to see the results?

Proper diet, when paired with great workout routine yields results almost immediately. The first week of this routine is characterised by slight weight gain and thigh increase.

Real results will be visible from a month onwards. Getting used to the workout and diet routine is the most hectic part. However it is not impossible, you only need to stay focused at all times.

We have a fitness program that could GREATLY accelerate your process.
Why struggle in the dark? – Read More

Important tips to consider when building thick thighs and booty gainz

It is important to master the following tips. They are essential in any glutes building program.

Focus on continuous overload

The most vital component of growing buttock muscles is steady and progressive overload which majorly involves strength training whereby one has to steadily increase the amount of resistance they subject their muscles to.

Remember the pelvic tilt

Your gluteus muscles should feel like they are burning each time you are working them out. If not, try the posterior pelvic tilt which involves doing a range of glutes contraction. This technique simply recommends that you squeeze in your butt to maximally extend your hips and ensure that the muscles are worked as intended.

How about the rule of third?

It is advisable to train your lower body three times a week with various exercises that involve loads and intense training. The rule of third dictates that one-third of the exercises you perform should be vertical in nature, one-third should be horizontal in nature and one-third should be lateral

The rule of the third also applies to weight training. This ensures that you are working the butt and thigh muscles from all angles.

Do not forget about recovery

The process of building muscles is very intense and demanding. For this reason, you need to eat a balanced diet to help your tissues recover from workouts.

Do not subject your glutes to strength training 5 times a week; you will only end up tired. Enjoy your rest days and perhaps indulge in protein powder shake to help you recovery well at this particular time.

Finally……. Gaining weight in your booty is not impossible.

It is important for you to know that it is not easy to selectively grow your butt and thighs with diet alone. Exercises are an important part of muscle building in any part of the body. Albeit in the end, fatter thighs are definitely made in the kitchen.

Focus on strengthening your lower body muscles with the exercises listed above but also remember to work your upper body to achieve a fitter frame.Do not ignore the role of a fitness trainer who will help you develop a fitness goal that will finally see your butt and thighs grow as you desire.

More Articles

The era when the word skinny ruled the world is over. To get the derriere and thighs you always dreamed of, you will need to make some minor lifestyle changes. All you need to do is combine working the thigh and butt muscles with changing your diet. While you may dread doing this, when you look at yourself in the mirror in eight weeks, you’ll be glad you made the effort.

Change your diet. To build up more muscle tissue in your thighs and buttocks, you need to consume more quality calories. Get rid of processed food, refined grain products, fatty meats and fast food. Instead, feed your body with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, seeds, foods high in fiber, and low-fat dairy products. The latter group will help in building healthy muscle tissue instead of creating fat deposits.

Have five or six meals throughout the day. Your body is building muscle all day and it needs fuel consistently. If instead, you have three big meals, you will likely put on weight in the wrong places.

Do cardio exercises twice a week for a maximum of 30 minutes. Short cardio exercises increase your metabolism, which will help your body to create muscle tissue. Stick to this routine and don’t overdo it. Lots of cardio exercises result in losing general weight instead of gaining it.

Introduce some butt routines into your workout. Take the squat, for example. Stand with your two legs one foot apart. Bend your knees slowly and lower your body until your knees are fully bent. Hold for three to five seconds. Extend the knees until you are standing straight again. Repeat 15 times. Do three sets each day. This will build and firm your gluteal muscles. This exercise also works on the quadricep muscles in your upper legs, making it a perfect exercise for both thighs and buttocks.

Introduce some upper leg routines into your workout. Balance the work among all the upper leg muscles. Work your hamstrings, quadriceps, abductors (outer thighs), and adductors (inner thighs). Do not give excessive attention to a particular leg muscle, as this may result in imbalanced muscles. Take the lying abduction, for example. It works on the inner thigh muscles. Lay down on your side with your head resting on one arm, your other arm resting extended on your hip, your hips stacked and your legs extended straight away from your body. Gently raise the upper leg off the lower leg about two inches. Raise the upper leg again until both legs make a 45-degree angle. Slowly lower and raise the upper leg without making contact with the lower leg. Repeat 15 times. Alternate legs. Do five sets each day. This will build and firm your thighs.

Drink plenty of water. Muscle tissue is made of 75 percent water. No surprise why you would need to drink more water. Also, an increased level of hydration improves your energy level, which you will need for your cardio exercises.

Warnings

Consult your doctor whenever you are planning to change your diet and exercise levels.

WHY DO WOMEN GAIN WEIGHT ON THEIR THIGHS?

There’s a reason women tend to gain fat around their thighs and buttocks and why they struggle to lose it. Here’s the skinny on why your stubborn thigh fat just won’t seem to go away and what you can do about it.

Why Do Women Gain Weight on Their Thighs?

The main culprit behind weight gain in your thighs is estrogen. This hormone drives the increase in fat cells in females, causing deposits to form most commonly around the buttocks and thighs. In fact, the size of body fat cells tends to increase at a greater rate in females than males starting at the age of eight, due to the onset of puberty and an increase in female hormone levels.

Unfortunately, even though your estrogen levels may decline once you hit menopause, your metabolism slows with age, meaning weight gain in all areas becomes a common concern. Add to this the fact that lower estrogen levels lead to a slowdown in collagen production and a loss of skin elasticity, and you have the perfect storm for cellulite.

What Is Cellulite and How Can You Target Your Thigh Area?

Cellulite forms as the body’s connective tissues weaken with age. Ninety percent of all women, including those who are thin, will develop cellulite at some point in their lifetime.

While there is no permanent treatment, there are a couple of ways you can help minimize the appearance of cellulite while shaping your thighs:

  1. Engage in targeted exercise: Create workouts designed to target your thighs. While aerobic activity may be great for overall weight loss, the fat around the thighs responds less effectively to cardio, so you’ll want to focus on strength training.
  2. Form healthy eating habits: Stay away from foods that may alter your hormone levels. Instead, try incorporating hormone-free meats and dairy products, as well as preservative- and chemical-free foods.
  3. Seek alternative treatments: Massages and spa treatments may help treat some types of cellulite, but for more effective results for all skin tones, consider non-invasive body shaping treatments such as Venus Legacy, that use radio frequency and magnetic therapies. These therapies cause a thermal reaction that helps to shrink the volume of fat cells in the thighs. With no downtime, you can smoothen the look of your thigh area and minimize the appearance of cellulite, also contouring stubborn fat pockets to reduce upper arm bulge. Contouring and tighten your abdomen for a flatter and more defined waistline. For more information, contact Gentile Facial Plastics and Aesthetic Laser Center at (330)758-2001





Question

Is loosing weight from legs and buttocks a side effect?

29 October 2010. Related: All topics, Changing treatment, Side effects.

I have been on meds for 18 months and have lost 16 kg, which is not really noticeable cause I am a big gal. However, I am a bit worried cause it looks like my legs are thinner as well as my buttocks. I have complained about this to my doctor and have now been referred to another physician as I am worried that this might be the side effects.

My viral load is 29 and CD4 count is 1079. My main worry is what if they change me and I don’t do well? Do you think it is the weight as I don’t remember when last I weighed less than 100kg.

After 18months can I really develop new symptons beside the discolouring of my nails?

Answer

Answer: Simon Collins

Hi

Thank you for your question. I will try to answer each part, but you did not say which drugs you are using and which country you live in. This information would be helpful so the answer can be more specific.

Fat loss (from the face, arms, legs and buttocks) is a common side effect from using combinations that include either d4T (also called stavudine or Zerit) or AZT (also called zidovudine or Retrovir). AZT can also cause muscle loss from the buttocks and can cause darkening of the nails in Black people.

Switching the d4T or AZT to alternative drugs can slowly reverse some fat loss, though putting tissue back on the buttocks and face is difficult and even if it reverses it is a slow process. Exercise to increase leg and buttock muscle takes a lot of work, but can slowly build up to balance the lost fat.

The drugs you could switch to are either tenofovir or abacavir. Please speak with your doctor about which or these or other alternative may be better for you.

Your CD4 count and viral load show that the treatment is controlling HIV very well, but any unexplained weight loss should be discussed with your doctor in case it is a symptom of another illness.

Asked by SLS

Can You Tell Me What Causes Muscle Loss In Arms, Legs, Butt…i Am Losing Weight But Not Fat.

In the past 12 months I am living with pain throughout my whole body…stiff neck, pain in both shoulders, pain in my lower back (pelvic area) and my knees and feet are also affected. I have been to several doctors with no results. I am taking Boniva, Pravastatin, and a bladder control medicine plus a daily vitamin plus calcium. I was on Tylenol but my doctor switched me to Celebrix once a day. I do have a fear of it being something serious but the doctor said all my test came back normal. I am 70 years old and they use to call me the energizer bunny but now I have no ambition to do anything.

Can you help me understand this or steer me in the right direction to find someone who can. Thank you in advance for your help. S L S

Hi SLS,
I know this is frustrating. It sounds as if the areas where you are losing your muscle strength is also where you are experiencing atrophy. That is probably because you are not using those muscles as much as you once did, and atrophy occurs naturally as we age. I have the same problem with my legs and even my toes!

Recommended treatment includes moist heat and whirlpools, but the heat makes our MS worse. Of course exercise is a treatment, but it is so difficult to move actively which is why we have the problem in the first place. I am sorry I could not find many tips in this area.

My occupational therapist did recommend some exercise activities with my hands. Perhaps your doctor could arrange a therapist to provide specific recommendations.
This is particularly frustrating for those of us who were very energetic at one time. Please let me know how you are doing. Good luck.

Skinny with large legs? Look into it

great listOne of the most famous pictures of lipedema, on an anorexic woman; unlike normal fat, the disease does not respond to caloric restrictions

The emotional component

Until now, I’ve pretty much only talked about the medical aspects of the disease, but I can’t leave out another main aspect of the disease, which is emotional. Most women who suffer of lipedema spend their whole lives wondering what they’ve done wrong, and what they could’ve done to fix their thick legs. We keep thinking that maybe we eat too much, we’re too lazy, and we hear that too from misinformed doctors. With that, comes anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia (you see your body worse than it is).

Even after the diagnosis, there is also another issue, which is the fact that the disease is not very well known — if you don’t Google it, it sounds like something made up. Because of that, no one really understands the effect that the disease has on you, or the pain you feel.

A friend suggested that I look for a nutritionist — which implies that she thinks I don’t eat right — , even after I said that the disease doesn’t respond to diet and exercise. Actually, after all these years, I’ve read so much about health and nutrition, that when I go to the doctor, I don’t hear anything new.

To make matters worse, most doctors are unaware of lipedema, and therefore, no insurance plan covers liposuction, even though it’s the only way for the patient to lead a normal life, with no or less pain. Most people in advanced stages of the disease end up retiring because of disability. Can you imagine trying to walk with all that fat around? I’m only between stages 1 and 2 and I can’t walk fast and I feel a heavy weight on my legs when going upstairs.

I hope that, by sharing with other people what I’ve learned after my diagnosis, I can help others who have lipedema. If you’re reading this and you have it, or you think you might have it, know that you’re not alone, and that it’s not your fault. If you know someone that might have it, share this. They’ll thank you.

I also created a petition on Change.org that I plan on sending to insurance companies. If you empathize with the cause, please sign!

Know someone with a big gut and skinny legs?

Pretend for a moment you could choose where to store the extra calories you’ve eaten. Would you prefer your thighs or your belly?

One place boosts your odds of losing those extra pounds. But it also increases the negative impact of the weight on your health.

Spoiler alert: If you could choose (and you can’t, really), pick your thighs.

The body fat expert explains why.

“We know that if people gain leg fat, they actually gain new fat cells, so they’re sort of stuck with new fat cells,” says Michael Jensen, director of the Obesity Treatment Research Program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

That’s not true for belly fat.

“At least with modest weight gain, almost all the weight gain in upper body fat is an increase in fat cell size,” says Jensen. “Each fat cell just agrees to store a little bit more”

Here’s the good part.

“That makes upper body fat easier to lose than thigh fat,” Jensen says.

For example, he and his colleagues fed 23 lean men and women an extra 400 to  1,200 calories a day as ice cream shakes, Snickers bars, and Boost Plus energy drinks. After two months, their weight jumped by about eight pounds.

Then for the next two months, the participants cut their calories and boosted their exercise and lost an average of six pounds. What remained was mostly extra leg fat.

“When we look at the loss of that gained weight, upper body fat goes away first and leg fat goes away last, because you created a whole new set of cells there in the legs,” says Jensen. “Once you have a new fat cell, it’s very hard to get rid of it, so it’s the last place you will lose weight.”

And it’s not just a few cells. In another study, Jensen found that 3½ pounds of new leg fat created roughly 2.6 billion new fat cells within two months.

Sure you need that cookie?

But upper body fat cells can’t keep getting bigger and bigger.

“Your fat cells can only get so big,” explains Jensen. “From the smallest fat cell to the biggest fat cell is only about a four-fold increase. And we all know people who have gained more than four times as much fat as they had when they were skinny. So eventually, you have to start recruiting new fat cells.”

Apparently, we all have pre-fat cells (called pre-adipocytes) that are just waiting to be pressed into service whenever we need them. Wonderful.

Storing more fat in your legs is actually healthier.

“People who gain predominantly leg fat tend to have a much better metabolic profile than people who put on a lot of abdominal fat,” notes Jensen. “They’re less likely to get diabetes, less likely to get high cholesterol and high triglycerides, and less likely to get hypertension and sleep apnea.

“My biggest worry is when a patient comes in with a big gut and skinny legs,” he adds. “I know they’re probably in trouble.” Sound like someone you know?

It’s not clear why upper body fat—especially the deep-belly visceral fat—is worse. A possibility: visceral fat cells may send more fat to the liver.

Or a generous layer of visceral fat may be a sign that your subcutaneous fat is faulty.

“One speculation is that people gain visceral fat because the subcutaneous fat in their abdomen and thighs is not doing its job,” says Jensen. “Its job is to sequester fat from the excess calories you ate so that it can’t harm your lean tissue. “

What you don’t want.

And if the subcutaneous fat can’t do its job, the fallback job goes to the visceral fat. And if the visceral fat can’t do its job, the fat starts building up in your liver and muscles and other places where you really, really don’t want it.”

Why?

“Those organs can’t package fat in the safe triglyceride form very well,” explains Jensen. “As a result, the fatty acids—the individual components of triglycerides—can interfere with cell function.” You might end up with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, for example.

“It’s as though you kept putting gas in the gas tank when it’s full and now it’s running all over the side of your car,” says Jensen. “It’s a bad situation.”

A better strategy: Not eating those extra calories in the first place so that your body doesn’t have to stash it somewhere.

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