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Why is belly fat the most difficult, and last, fat to go?

This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Bart Loews, Fitness Expert.

Belly fat is not necessarily the most difficult and last fat to burn on the body - it depends on the person. Generally speaking, it's not usually more difficult to get rid of, it just seems that way because it takes so long.

Belly fat isn't always the last bit to go. For me, I tend to have the most trouble with my love handles. There's a lot of diversity in what areas of the body are people's "trouble spots."

10 Reasons Your Body Gains Weight:

1. Gender

Women are more efficient at storing energy in fat than men. They tend to develop more below the belly button and around the buttocks and thighs before above the belly and arms. Men tend to develop around the belly and chest before radiating out to the various parts of the body.

2. Genetics

People's bodies are built differently and some people are predisposed to developing fat in different areas.

3. Hormones

There is some evidence that hormones play a role in body fat placement.

4. Cortisol

Excessive and chronic levels of cortisol from emotional, psychological, or physical distress can lead to fat accumulation in, and redistribution to, the abdominal region.

5. Insulin

High levels of insulin can lead to build up of visceral fat. There's a lot of stuff out there about insulin leading to build ups in the "love handle" region, but I've yet to find any scientific studies backing that assertion up.

6. Testosterone

In men, low levels of testosterone lead to more fat build up. In women, high levels leads to more fat build up

7. Estrogen

High levels of estrogen lead to increased fat storage.

8. Blood Flow

This seems to be related to how fat tissue accumulates as well. One study showed that higher blood flow to particular parts of your body can increase lipolysis in that region. This is one reason why it's easier to release fatty acids from our legs and arms.

9. Homeostasis

Your body does have some built in protections and an inclination to preserve energy levels at all times. If you lose a lot of weight quickly, your body will respond by slowing down your resting energy use and make less energy available for you to use for extra activities. Granted, you can overcome these limitations through sheer will power, but that's not the best plan and it's not easy to restore your homeostasis back to a higher energy limitation afterwards. Homeostasis isn't the reason you gain weight, it's not the reason you lose weight. It's a reason to take things slow, focus on fat loss rather than weight loss, and an excuse for those that have problems.

10. Physical Activity

Another piece of this is adaptations to exercise. As we exercise, our body adapts to that exercise to make the exercise easier for us to do. As a result of that our body actually becomes more efficient at performing those activities. You can see this by the fact that when you lift weights, you have to add more weight to the rack over time. Also, you'll notice when you run, you're able to run farther and faster without getting as tired.

As you progress in your training, it's essential that you work your body with higher goals in mind. The intensity level should stay approximately the same, however. This means that if you're running, when you were heavier, 6.0 mph might have been intense. Now, six months later, you're running at 7.5 mph without a problem. Don't rest on your laurels as you progress in your training. Push yourself to higher levels, run faster, and run longer.

Keep your nutrition plan in place. This really shouldn't change much. You shouldn't be "dieting", you should be eating diversely and in proper portions. Make a diet plan that lets you eat what you want, that makes you happy, but gives you the proper proportions. It's frustrating to restrict your eating and can make it all the more difficult to keep shrinking the "trouble" adipose deposits.

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