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"Feeling Jiggly and Soft!?" Phases of Fat Loss

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Phases of Fat Loss - Feeling Jiggly and Soft

Seems like we are so excited we've been working out and doing all the right things, but we are feeling or seeing the changes quick enough. As we live in a society of instant gratification, with losing fat and gaining muscle we still have to do it the old fashion way...hard work and persistence!

Your body will be going through many changes, one of them is feeling "jiggly and soft" when you should be feeling "leaner and muscular". One of the phases of fat loss is your fat becoming "Jiggly" and soft. This is due to the breakdown and compression of the fat cells within your body. Here is a great analogy i have for you. Image a green seedless grape when it is freshly picked......no we are not going down the process of wine making! It is firm and solid to the touch. Now imagine the inside of the grape is body fat, it is firm. As the grape ages it becomes softer and squishier. As you eat healthy, your body fat also becomes squishier. The density of the fat cell begins to break apart and the cell now resembles that ripening grape. So as you go through the phases of fat loss you may find yourself becoming less firm and more jiggly. This is good, your on the right path as this is an indication that the fat cells are compressing. They are losing their insides. You will never lose fat cells, but you can shrink and deflate them. So just remember this is a "Phase" of fat loss and it is a good thing!!

Here is a little breakdown of the two types of fat, subcutaneous and visceral for you. Subcutaneous fat – It’s the majority of all the fat in your body. It sits just below the skin and it’s the squishy fat you feel when pressing your skin together. Visceral fat – This is the bad guy. It grows in the abdominal wall and surrounds all your internal organs. You can’t feel this fat through your skin as the ab wall encasing it is too firm. Too much visceral fat is not good and will limit the amount of years you have left.

Fat is still fat. All fat produces hormones, but visceral fat is far worse for your body at the cellular level as it creates and affects your mitochondria. We’re referring to type II diabetes, high blood pressure and cancers of all kind, these are just a few problems created by visceral fat hormones.

Needless to say, we need it gone – but if we can’t really feel it when pressing our skin, how do we know if we have visceral fat? There are the expensive methods, MRIs and CT scans, that will reveal how much visceral fat you have. Genetics plays a huge role in amount of visceral fat as well.

Lets dive a little deeper into the process of losing fat, since that is what we all want! When you lose body fat, the actual fat cell does not go anywhere...you do not sweat it out like you may think and it does not move into the muscle to be burned either. This cell is called an adipocyte and stays right where it is, under your skin in your arms, stomach, hips, thighs, etc. This explains why you can't see muscle definition if you have a higher body fat %. Fat is stored within the fat cell in the form of triglycerol. Fat is not burned in the cell, but is moved via hormonal and enzymatic pathways I won't necessarily get into. When these processes initiate "movement", fat cells release their contents into the bloodstream as free fatty acids (FFA's you've probably heard of) and then transported through the blood to tissues where energy is needed. When your body needs energy because you are consuming fewer calories than burning your body releases hormones and enzymes to signal your fat cells to release your fat reserves. Time to get them out of storage and utilize them for energy! For fat to be "liberated" or "removed" from the fat cell, a process of hydrolysis occurs...which basically means the fat is broken-down and split into glycerol and three fatty acids. An important enzyme (Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL)) helps FFA's get into the Mitochondria (power house of the cell) of the muscle cell where they are burned for energy. You've probably heard or seen the fact, "If you burn 3500 calories, this is equivalent to 1lb of fat". This number is from old research, but close. It is save to say a pound of body fat may contain anywhere between 3,436 and 3,752 calories, roughly estimated.

So when the FFA's are released from the fat cell, the fat cell shrinks and this is why you look leaner and lose body fat. Your fat cell is empty and smaller. Going back to the grape analogy, we squeezed all the juice out and looking lean and "defined" now. Your fat cells can increase in both size and in number throughout your life, mostly occurring during late childhood and puberty, during pregnancy, and during adulthood when extreme amounts of weight are gained. Some people are genetically predisposed to have more fat cells than others and sorry to say for you women out there, you have more than men. Just to give you some numbers, an infant usually has roughly 5-6 billion fat cells and a healthy human with normal body composition has 25-30 billion fat cells....thats a lot of "grapes"! A typical overweight adult has roughly 75 billion fat cells and an severe obese person can be as high as 250 to 300 billion. Breaking down this even farther, the average size of a fat cell is roughly 0.6 micrograms. An overweight person's fat cells can be up to 3 times larger than a person with ideal body composition. So keep in mind fat cells are stored energy tanks, that can expand and shrink in size depending on how full they are. Think of a water balloon, it is tiny when empty but once you add water and fill it up....gets bigger in size. You never lose the fat cells, the cells just "deflate" or "inflate".

What do you do to "deflate" those fat cells? For starters be ACTIVE and move more! Burn more calories than you put in. Pretty easy....right?! Energy expenditure should be more than Caloric intake. Make sure these are good calories....mostly vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and fruits. Make sure you do NOT STARVE yourself! This does just the opposite, your body will hold onto calories for protection as it goes into survival mode. Your fat burning enzymes that release fat from the cells is decreased. The "Get Skinny Quick" diets DON'T work! Genetics only play a small part in your body makeup with how many fat cells you were born with. YOU determine how full those cells are or better yet, how deflated those cells are!

Make living fit a lifestyle, if you have lost weight your fat cells have shrunk.....you need to keep them deflated!

Keith B