It’s not all in your head: there’s a reason you can’t lose those last three to five pounds. Most often found in your trouble zones, or what celebrity trainer Holly Perkins calls “the final frontier,” those stubborn pounds are the toughest to take off. But it’s not because of lack of effort — it’s because of homeostasis.
All of your body’s systems work together to maintain a “happy, cozy, and unchanging” environment, Holly says. Your body does whatever it can to maintain this status quo, and when you’re dedicated to making major lifestyle changes, you’ll need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable because your body is doing everything it can to fight back. Even after you’ve revamped your lifestyle and started reaping all the healthy benefits of being fit, a weight-loss plateau inevitably hits, and you find yourself frustrated that certain areas just won’t budge.
According to metabolism investigator at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Deborah Clegg, it’s more difficult for women to take off weight in certain areas due to evolutionary causes that were once advantageous but are no longer serving our bodies. “[Women] fight against losing weight in our hips and thighs. And the reason we’re programmed that way is that we rely on the calories in our hips and thighs evolutionarily to provide us with calories for breastfeeding or to help sustain a potential famine while we’re pregnant.” Let’s take a minute to let that soak in, shall we? Your body is capable of some pretty impressive stuff.
For most women, trouble zones exist in the hips, thighs, glutes, and abs — all areas that are biologically predisposed for reserving fat that also have a lot of muscle that goes unactivated. With strength training, your metabolic rate gets amped up, and as you build strong muscle underneath your troubled areas, the fat on top looks much leaner. Here’s the deal: you won’t be able spot reduce away your troubled zone quickly, but strengthening this area can only help your cause to feel stronger and more comfortable in your skin. This is one of those times that stepping into that pair of jeans you’ve been dying to zip up is the success to celebrate — not the a number on the scale.