Stubborn Fat: Areas Where Weight Can Be Hardest to Lose

January 8 2023

When it comes to losing weight, diet and exercise truly are the most reliable methods. Limiting your calorie consumption and then burning excess calories with workouts are proven ways to shrink your fat cells. Alas, even with a healthy lifestyle, you may find that while your weight is down overall, some fat continues to cling to certain problem areas.

Here, the board-certified plastic surgeons at Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists discuss three of the most common areas where stubborn fat lingers even after dieting and exercising. They also share some cosmetic solutions for improving the contours in these areas.


The abdomen is particularly susceptible to weight gain in large part because it has more fat cells than other regions of the body. Moreover, these abdominal fat cells do not break down as easily as the average fat cells. Hence, you may notice that you still have belly fat even after trimming down in other areas.

To get rid of abdominal fat, you will have more success by prioritizing diet over exercise. Foods with a high content of sugar, carbohydrates and/or fat are especially big contributors to belly fat. If you notice you are gaining weight almost exclusively in your stomach, this may be a sign that you have insulin resistance.


Do you ever notice that women develop thicker thighs than men? This phenomenon is due to hormonal differences in male and female bodies. When a woman experiences a surge in estrogen during puberty, this causes more fat cells to amass in the thighs and buttocks. While these excess fat cells should decrease around menopause, by that point her body’s metabolism has decreased substantially, making it more difficult to lose the stored fat.


The upper arms (the region between the shoulders and elbows) are another area where fat stores easily, and unfortunately this also disproportionately affects women. The hormone testosterone helps to push excess fat cells into the bloodstream so that they can be expelled from the body. For this reason, women — and some men with low testosterone production — find that losing arm fat is especially tricky, even with strict dieting and exercising.

How Plastic Surgery Can Help

The good news is that liposuction is an easy, effective treatment for eliminating stubborn deposits of fat around the abdomen, thighs and upper arms. Our plastic surgeons — Dr. Gregory Mackay, Dr. Bahair Ghazi, Dr. John Symbas and Dr. Jinnie Page — are skilled at creating attractive contours that better reflect the work you have put into dieting and exercising. They can also combine a lifting procedure (tummy tuck, thigh lift or arm lift) to ensure that loose skin does not detract from your new trim contours.

If you are close to your goal weight and are ready to shed the fat from those final stubborn areas, please schedule a consultation online.

Categories: Blog, Liposuction