Why does the human anatomy carry body fat in the first place? The answer is simple: body fat is necessary for maintaining bodily functions. Due to a western diet and lifestyle, however, people tend to have more fat than they would like. So many people talk about losing fat; some go a little further and dig into the scientific aspect of it. It’s then that they ask questions regarding fat cells. How do you lose fat cells? Is that even possible?
Fat Cells at a Glance
Everyone has a certain number of fat cells; that’s true whether you’re obese or have body fat levels in the single digit range. Fat cells typically grow in number during childhood and remain constant once you reach adulthood. Like other cells, fat cells die and reproduce. Your genes basically determine the amount of fat cells you have in your body. The more you have the easier it is for you to get fat. That’s a part of your genetics that you have no control over.
With that in mind, it’s possible to have a six pack and have more fat cells than someone that’s obese. As far as knowing how to lose fat cells and reducing their overall number, well, that’s not going to happen. While exercise and dieting do induce death of fat cells (a process called apoptosis), your body will signal for the creation of more to replace the ones that were lost.
Remember, your body’s internal mechanism cares about survival, not how visible your abs are. Often times, it will also work against your quest for six pack abs. When you cut calories, for instance, the cells will release hormones like estrogen and leptin, which sends hunger signals to the brain.
Ultimately, you can’t really manipulate the number of fat cells, but you can keep them from swelling and ballooning up to multiple times their original size. Over consumption of calories and poor food choices are what cause these cells to be filled with fat.
How to Shrink Fat Cells
Your goal is to shrink or “deflate” fat cells, and the way to do that is through dieting and exercising the way I outline them in The Simple Shredded Solution. Basically, you just follow the conventional wisdom associated with a fat loss diet, including consuming overall fewer calories, avoiding refined carbs, and limiting empty calories.
You should be eating more protein also. Compared to carbs and fat, protein is harder to digest, which forces your body to use more energy (calories) to break down the macronutrient. Most of my diet programs include a ratio breakdown of no less than 50% of your total calories coming from protein. In most cases, it’s closer to the 60% and 65% mark if fat loss is your primary quest.
Don’t Get too Caught Up in the Science
Don’t fret too much over your genetics and how many fat cells you suspect you may have. Direct your focus over what you do have control over. This includes your dietary habits and incorporating a physically active lifestyle, such as strength training and short bouts of intense cardio like HIIT.