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How to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat

The Final Frontier of Dieting

From The Warrior Diet
by Ori Hofmekler

Stubborn fat is a major problem for many people today.  It doesn't matter if they are trying to get rid of it through various diets or different exercise routines -- the fact is, this fat remains and seems impossible to remove.  That's why it's called stubborn fat.  I'm not aware of any diet that seriously addresses this problem.

Liposuction is the most popular method today of removing stubborn fat.  Liposuction sucks out fat tissues through surgery.  This can be dangerous or even fatal, and it often doesn't solve the problem, because the fat may indeed return in the very places it inhabited before liposuction.  This is a multimillion-dollar industry today, and such extreme measures show just how desperate people are.

There are natural, noninvasive ways to remove stubborn fat.  To understand how to deal with this problem, let me explain:

What is Stubborn Fat?

Stubborn fat is a slow-metabolized adipose (fat) tissue.  To burn fat, a natural hormonal process has to take place.  When a fat-burning process is activated, the adrenal hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) bind to special receptors in the fat tissues.  There are two major groups of receptors in the fat tissues, alpha and beta.  The beta-receptors are the more active ones, which respond to the adrenal hormones.  Fat burning occurs when the adrenal hormones activate the beta-receptors in the fat cells.  If these receptors are not activated, no fat will burn off.

Stubborn fat has a lower ratio of beta-receptors to alpha-receptors.  As a result, it's metabolized slowly and does not respond to the adrenal hormones.  To make matters worse, stubborn fat has more estrogen receptors in the tissues.  Estrogen (the female hormone), once bound to the receptors, causes even more fat gain.

There's much more to it, but I don't want to make this too complicated and scientific.  So for now, let's just say that stubborn fat presents three major problems:

  • It doesn't have a high enough ratio of beta-receptors to alpha-receptors, so doesn't respond to adrenal fat-burning stimulation.

  • It has more estrogen receptors, which accelerates fat gain.

  • On top of all this, stubborn fat doesn't have a healthy blood circulation.  These slowly metabolized fat tissues have fewer blood vessels than a normal fat tissue, and consequently this fat is slower to metabolize, and therefore more stubborn or difficult to remove.

What Causes Stubborn Fat?

There are many reasons for having stubborn fat.  Both men and women may suffer from it as a result of maintaining an unhealthy diet, from the liver's inability to break down and detoxify estrogenic derivatives, or due to sensitivity to certain foods or chemicals in foods.

Fat gain has also been associated with insulin insensitivity and over-consumption of carbohydrates.  Consuming too many carbohydrates -- especially sugar and overly-processed, refined carbs -- places pressure on the pancreas to overproduce insulin in order to lower the blood sugar level.  Hyperinsulinemia then causes insulin insensitivity.  When this happens, the body converts these extra carbohydrates into triglycerides and fat.

Deficiencies in certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals -- such as B vitamins, chromium, magnesium, zinc, and Omega 3 essential fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) -- may also cause insulin insensitivity.  This compromises the fat metabolism in the cellular mitochondria (compounds in the cells that are responsible for energy production and fat-burning).

Stubborn fat can be linked to protein deficiencies as well.  Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to suffer from protein deficiencies, and especially to the essential amino acid lysine.  Lysine, abundant in animal proteins but less so in grains, converts in our bodies to L-carnitine.  L-carnitine is an amino acid essential for the fat-burning process, and it appears only in animal foods, especially red meat.  Without enough L-carnitine and carnitine-related enzymes in your system, the ability to burn fat is severely compromised.

Stubborn fat can be an age-related problem for men.  The older a man gets, the more of his testosterone is converted into estrogen Ė through a process called aromatazing.  Thus, the older he gets, the more the aromataze enzyme is active.  Fat tissues produce aromataze enzymes and therefore accelerate the aromatazing action, which converts testosterone into estrogen.  There are natural ways to block this aromatazing process, which we'll discuss later.

Women usually suffer from age-related stubborn fat around their hips, thighs, and buttocks.  Some women also have stubborn-fat tissues around their upper arms or entire legs.  Age-related stubborn fat for women may be the result of hormonal fluctuations or an increase in estrogen receptors in the tissues.

Moreover, age-related insulin insensitivity, chronic stress, liver congestion, low thyroid, vascular permeability, and exhausted adrenals may all make the stubborn-fat syndrome even worse for both men and women.

How to Prevent Stubborn Fat

There are several things you can do to avoid stubborn fat:

  • Stay away from crash diets or diets that cause you to lose fat and gain it back again.  Second-generation fat is more stubborn than the first.  The more you fluctuate with your weight, the more stubborn fat you may gain.

  • Avoid consuming foods to which you may be sensitive or allergic.  Some people react to certain foods, such as wheat, dairy, or soy.  If you suspect this may be the case, get yourself checked for food sensitivities.

  • Eat organic food as much as possible, thereby avoiding many estrogenic substances that are in our food supply, such as petroleum and other chemically based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (which are found in nonorganic produce), and hormones (which are found in nonorganic meats, poultry, dairy, and eggs).

  • Drink pure, filtered water.  Don't drink or cook with tap water that is unfiltered.

  • Try to minimize the purchase, consumption, and storage of food, water, and other beverages or liquids that are wrapped or bottled in plastic (particularly soft plastic bottles and containers).  If the food or liquid smells like plastic, stay away from it.

  • Minimize your alcohol consumption.  Excessive alcohol may compromise your liver's ability to break down and detoxify estrogenic derivatives.  When not broken down and detoxified, these estrogenic toxins penetrate the blood and cause unpleasant symptoms like bloating, water retention, and stubborn-fat gain.  If these toxins remain unchecked, they may cause chronic diseases and even cancer.

  • Control your insulin.  Naturally minimize the amount of carbohydrates you ingest by eating carbohydrates as the last component of your meal.  If needed, supplement yourself with all essential nutrients necessary for stabilizing your insulin, such as essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Follow a steady exercise routine.  A comprehensive diet and exercise routine is the first defense against stubborn fat.  Exercising boosts the metabolic rate, reduces stress-related symptoms, and thus accelerates the diet's effects.  However, avoid overtraining.  Chronically overstressing your body may cause the opposite effect and slow down your metabolic rate.

Plastic is a very controversial issue.  Its use is widespread in packaging all types of food and beverages, and many oils.  Most of these plastic bottles are made from polyethylene (a type of plastic that's been shown to be an acceptably safe packing material for foods and oils).  However, some plastics used for packaging food on the market today are toxic.

Udo Erasmus says that many plastic fibers contain toxic estrogenic chemicals that are dangerous to our health.  In my opinion, avoiding plastic altogether would be very impractical and almost impossible, given how widespread it is today.  Therefore, I recommend that everyone do their best to check what type of plastic packaging is used before buying and consuming products wrapped or bottled in them.  And, as noted above, you can use your senses.  If anything edible smells like plastic, stay away from it.  Moreover, acid-based foods such as lemon juice, vinegar, tomato sauce, and wine should not be packed or stored in plastic containers, since acid is more reactive with certain plastic materials.

Safety measures to protect from toxic plastics:

  • Cut away a small amount of the outer edge of foods that are wrapped in plastic, such as cheese.

  • Store food and beverages in glass or ceramic containers.

  • Any plastic wrap to save food should cover the container, but not touch the food.

  • Minimize the microwave, especially with foods wrapped in plastic

Summing up:  How to prevent stubborn fat

  • Avoid weight fluctuations.

  • Avoid foods to which you are sensitive or allergic.

  • Minimize your consumption of nonorganic foods, especially ones that are high on the food chain.

  • Drink clean, pure water.

  • Be conscious of plastic packaging.  The soft smelly kinds are the worst.

  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption or constant, daily alcohol.

  • Control your insulin and minimize carbohydrates.

  • Follow a steady exercise routine.

How to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat

Men typically suffer from stubborn fat around the belly and the chest, and women get it around their hips, buttocks, and thighs.  If you want to get rid of it, you should also consider trying natural supplements that may help you burn it off.

Natural Stubborn-Fat Busters

  • Estrogen Blockers:  Citrus Bioflavonoids and Soy Flavones.

Citrus bioflavonoids contain some natural properties that may block estrogen.  Citrus flavonoids are abundant in the white, spongy layer of citrus peels.

Soy flavones contain mild estrogenic properties.  Most people are not affected by this mild estrogenic stimulation.  Soy flavones bind to the estrogen receptors in the tissues and thus block these receptors from estrodiol, the most potent estrogen hormone.  Estrodiol is called the "bad estrogen," because of its occasionally powerful effects on the body, such as bloating, water retention, fat gain, feminization of men, fat under the skin, and stubborn fat gain around the chest and the belly.

Experiments conducted in Italy have shown that combining citrus bioflavonoids with soy flavones is a most powerful, natural way to block the estrogenic effect on the body.  Adding citrus bioflavonoids to soy flavones creates a more powerful defense against estrogen than taking soy flavones alone.  It's popular today to take soy flavones as a natural preventative aid against estrogen-related cancers, but I feel the above combination is much more potent.

You can find both of these in natural food and specialty vitamin stores.  They're sold as nutritional supplements in the form of capsules or tablets.  Let me mention again that those who are sensitive to soy should consult their physician before taking any supplements containing soy flavones.

Anti-Aromataze Nutrients:  Chrysine, Lignans, and Stinging Nettle

  • Chrysine

Chrysine is a flavone that's derived from the Passiflora plant, or passion flower.  It's chemically similar to cercitine, which is a citrus flavone.  There was much hype about chrysine a few years ago when it was considered to be a powerful natural anti-aromataze substance.  Unfortunately, those who took chrysine didn't get the expected results.

Some now believe that in order to get a positive result, one needs to take large amounts of chrysine (up to 5 or even 10 grams per day).  In my opinion, chrysine may work as an anti-aromataze agent if taken in combination with other citrus bioflavanoids.  These flavones and flavonoids work very well when combined together.  However, when you isolate them, they aren't as potent.  The synergistic effect of all these flavones together is what makes them so active.  That's the way they appear in nature, and that's the best way to take them to get positive results.

  • Lignans

Flaxseed lignans are found in the fibrous part of flaxseed, and according to Udo Erasmus, contain anti-estrogenic properties.  It's unclear whether they work by solely blocking estrogen receptors, or by blocking the aromataze enzyme as well.  However, lignans have shown positive results as a natural aid against estrogen-related problems.  The best way to naturally ingest flaxseed lignans is through high-lignan flaxseed oil or flaxseed meal.  Both are available in natural food stores.

NaturoDoc Note:  This oil is unsaturated and can be overdosed, causing even more inflammation and oxidative stress.  Better weight management is obtained from coconut oil, although the flax meal and whole seeds have very good fiber and lignan properties.  Read our article on coconut oil here.

  • Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is an herb with promising potential as a natural aid against aromataze.  Historically, people used nettle seeds and roots as a potency remedy.  Nettle may have an aphrodisiac effect on men by increasing the level of free testosterone in the blood.

The anti-aromatazing properties of this herb are probably due to its ability to bind to the aromataze enzyme and thus neutralize it.  Recent studies suggest that the plant may also be useful in treating enlarged prostate.  When you take stinging nettle, follow the dosage recommended on the bottle.  Nettle may also be a natural aid for women who suffer from estrogen-related stubborn fat.  Due to its high-lignan content, this herb may help women block the effect of estrodiol.

Liver Detoxifiers as a Defense Against Alcohol-Related Stubborn Fat and Estrogen Derivatives

  • Inol-3-Carbinol, Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, and SAM

As mentioned before, one of the reasons for excessive estrogenic activity in the body is liver congestion.  The liver works as a filter organ to break down or neutralize toxins, preventing them from reaching the blood.  Excessive alcohol consumption blocks the liver enzyme that breaks down estrogen.  Therefore, toxic estrogen derivatives go directly into the bloodstream, creating negative estrogenic effects.  That's one reason why many heavy drinkers and alcoholics suffer from estrogen-related stubborn fat.

Inol-3-carbinol is a flavon that appears in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.  This flavon is believed to be a natural aid for the liver's estrogen metabolism.  You would need to ingest a lot of cruciferous vegetables to attain positive results.  This may be unappealing and also uncomfortable, because consuming large amounts of broccoli, for instance, may cause gas or send you running to the bathroom.  It's possible today to buy an active form of inol-3-carbinol, patented as "DIM" and distributed under the brand name Indoplex.

(NaturoDoc Note:  DIM is more extensively discussed here, and can be purchased online through the NaturoDoc Store here.)

Nevertheless, routinely consuming cruciferous vegetables is a natural, simple way to protect the liver.  Supplementation is recommended for those who suffer from alcohol-related liver problems.  Healthy people, in my opinion, should be able to protect themselves by simply maintaining a proper nutritious diet.

Those who want to accelerate liver detoxification and rejuvenation should consider taking milk thistle and dandelion root, since these herbs have been shown to help the liver detoxify and recuperate.  Dandelion root is a diuretic herb and mildly laxative, so be cautious about the amount you take.  Start with a small dosage, see how you feel, and then increase it slightly.  Both are available as teas, tinctures, and capsules.

Adenosylemethionine (SAM) is a relatively new supplement.  Its primary function is to alleviate depression;  however, it can also be very useful for liver detoxification, especially for those who suffer from estrogen-related toxicity.  Our bodies naturally produce SAM, but those who have metabolic problems or nutrient deficiencies may not produce enough.  SAM is available in most natural food and specialty vitamin stores.

Those who take steroids, and women who take hormone replacements, place pressure on their liver to break down and detoxify these drugs.  An inability by the liver to break them down may cause unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, water retention, and weight gain.  Natural supplementation in these cases could help.

  • Yohimbe bark -- Alpha Antagonist

Yohimbe bark is an herb derived from a West African yohimbe tree.  Yohimbe is used as an aphrodisiac herb for men who want to boost potency.  It may also benefit those who suffer from stubborn fat.  Yohimbe is an alpha-2-adrenergenic antagonist, meaning that yohimbe may block alpha-receptors of fat cells.  By blocking alpha-receptors, it makes it possible for a stubborn fat tissue to be metabolized (the adrenal hormones bind to the beta-receptors and activate a fat-burning response).  For both men and women who suffer from stubborn fat, this herb may offer positive effects.  However, some people don't react well to yohimbe.  Those who suffer from high blood pressure, heart conditions, or thyroid problems should consult their physician before trying it.

NaturoDoc Note:  Our yohimbe products can be purchased online through the NaturoDoc Store;  see the Related Products list below.

To help get rid of stubborn fat, it's worth considering some nutritional supplementation, which may help attack it on four levels:

  • Anti-estrogen (citrus bioflavonoids and soy flavones)

  • Anti-aromataze (chrysine plus citrus bioflavonoids, flaxseed lignans, and stinging nettle)

  • Liver detoxifiers (inol 3 carbinol, milk thistle, dandelion root, and SAM)

  • Alpha antagonist (yohimbe bark)

Conclusion

In closing, let me reiterate how essential exercise is to accelerate fat burning and reduce stress.  Of course, maintaining a healthy diet is of utmost importance in order to achieve positive results.  Exercise makes the results you're hoping for happen that much faster.


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12 Rules of a Bodybuilding Diet

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The Kettlebell Manifesto

Training with Russian Kettlebells

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Exercise Dos and Doníts for Pregnant Women

Why Exercise?  Advice for New Mothers

Coconut Oil:  The Healthiest Oil on Earth

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