The short answer is that spot reducing doesn’t work. Spot reducing is a myth. However, there is a way to reduce the fat at those spots. Does that sound like a contradiction? I’ll explain.
(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he discovered Therapeutic Psychogenics, and he’s kept it off for over 25 years. Read about his method of fast permanent weight loss and the clients who have used them by clicking on the menu above.)
For ages, people have been unhappy with fat bellies, upper arm flab and love handles. It was especially frustrating if they were otherwise OK with things. Many people weren’t interested in losing weight as much as sculpting their bodies. All they wanted to change was the part they were unhappy with.
So they were suckers for products and schemes that promised to do just that. They’d do sit-ups to reduce their belly, triceps exercises to get rid of arm flab, and side bends or twisting to get rid of the love handles, all to no avail. They’d buy special potions, pills and devices that promised to melt the fat in certain areas or creams to rub on the offending part. There were special diets that claimed to do the same. They were led to believe they could melt the fat at certain areas or tighten up the skin. These things sounded like they might work, based on the rationale proposed, but it was pure malarkey.
Here are the facts:
Your body will store fat where you are genetically coded to store it. Look at your relatives and you’ll get a clue where the calories will be stock piled if you eat too much. Short of cosmetic surgery, there’s no way you can change that. The best you can do is to avoid having too much fat on your body, and as you know from my book, it can be done, guaranteed. I have never had a client not lose weight when they have undereaten sufficiently. If you’re not familiar with my work, you can learn more about my method and my book at www.TheAndersonMethod.com
For most of us, the first place fat is stored (and the last place it comes off when we lose weight) is the belly. Sometimes it’s the love handles. Despite what you may have been told and believed in, exercise won’t use up the fat stored at the particular site of the muscle being exercised. The exercise will use calories from your body’s energy delivery system, but if you are eating as many or more calories than you are burning, the fat stays wherever its stored, or worse, grows. However, when you create the caloric deficit that we do in The Anderson Method, by eating fewer calories than you burn, you will use up the fat stored. That’s the only way to get rid of those accumulations.
Body building is another matter. You can build muscle with weight resistance exercise, and this will give your body a better shape, besides being beneficial in other ways, like increasing your metabolism, strengthening your bones and creating more resistence to injury. With a balanced muscle strengthening and toning routine you’ll have less back and body ache, and greater physical abilities. In the abdominal area, you’ll have a tighter core structure, which will look better if you do get rid of the excess belly fat.
Baggy or saggy skin is an entirely different matter. If you were overweight, you grew extra skin to accomodate the bulk. When you lose weight, there will be some shrinking and absorbtion, but with the loss of elasticity, there is often excess loose skin where gravity makes it collect. Exercise or skin creams will not change this. If you build muscle, that may fill up the space some, but you may still have excess skin. Plastic surgery can remedy this if it the excess skin causes more discomfort than you want to tolerate. However, there are worse things than having loose skin. I certainly understand when someone wants to fix it, believe me, but I have seen people working out their arms and abs like crazy, thinking that it will make the skin tighten up, and my heart goes out to them. They are working hard at something that will never work. I think it is better to accept that loose skin is not the worst thing to have. If it has occurred to you that staying overweight will keep you from having loose skin, that would be a big a mistake. Health is much more important than vanity. And plastic surgery is always an option if you can’t stand it.
The bottom line is that you can reduce the fat stores that accumulate on certain body parts by reducing the total fat content of your body. That’s done by getting your eating right, undereating like my method teaches. Then, if you want, you can do some body building too. That’s how people get those good looking abs. They work the stomach to build the muscle, and then they reduce the fat stores so they are not covered by fat anymore. If you work out but don’t undereat to get rid of the fat, you’ll just have great abdominal muscles that you can’t see because they are covered up by the fat.
In the end, it is better to make health your goal rather than a certain fashionable appearence. Fashion may dictate that certain legs, arms, noses, thighs and waists are popular, but your body is designed by genetics and a creator that is more interested in you than fashion. Fashions change. Fashion is fickle. What created you is not. Put what is constant in your life ahead of what is fickle. Your genetics and you have your own unique qualities, body characteristics included, for reasons, even if you don’t know what they are. You may come from a line that stores all it’s fat in the bottom half, or in the calves and upper arms. Maybe it served a beautiful purpose in the past, helping your clan to survive. Maybe it will serve a great purpose in the future, its beauty not yet revealed. We need to love these characteristics. We need to respect how we were created and love ourselves as we were made. If we get ourselves healthy, at a healthy weight and body composition, we need to be happy with that. The fashion czars tell us what is beautiful, but next year it will be something different. Who are the fashion czars to judge and criticize what the creator has made? They are not in charge. There is real lasting beauty in real creation, beauty that has been miraculous for eons. It is in you and all about you. It is you. You will begin to see it if you open your mind and your eyes to it. Make health the goal instead of fashion, and you will begin to appreciate the beauty of your own creation. There is more miraculous beauty in your big toe than all the fashion tabloids that have ever existed.
Forget about spot reducing. Focus instead on building yourself up.