Q:Why is it that I gain all of my weight in my lower belly, hips, and thighs. My arms and legs look fine. What can I do about it?


Women typically gain weight in the lower belly, hips, and thighs. Most men (especially over 40) tend to gain weight in the belly. There are a great deal of factors that can contribute.

  1. Genetics – Unfortunately, genetics plays a large role in where our bodies store fat. Studies reveal that those with an overweight parent are 75% more likely to be overweight as adults. The same is true for those with lean parents. That is not to say that there is nothing we can do about it, but the reality is that it will be harder for some people than others. Other studies show that children who are adopted are more likely to have a weight similar to their biological parents than their adoptive parents.
  2. Food – Since this is a factor that we can control, it is one that we should focus greatly on when trying to change the shape of our bodies. Excess calories and carbohydrates in the body contribute the most heavily to weight gain. These carbs can come from added sugars or from things you may not think about like fruit and milk. That is not to say that we should avoid these foods at all costs, but there is a very strategic way to eat them to maximize fat loss. Many of the articles that members receive pertain to simple, strategic eating that does not take any extra time or effort. Using simple strategies like adding a fruit/veg AND protein every time you eat can go a long way toward decreasing body fat. Even when you are eating the perfect amount of calories for your body, eating more total carbs than you need can halt fat loss. I have had many clients that fall into this category. Many of them are able to lose significant amounts of weight just by changing their carbs/protein choices. Once they hit maintenance, many of them are able to maintain the weight loss (like 30-40 lbs. or more) and while eating MORE than they were before…just the right amount of protein compared to carbs.

    Eating more carbohydrates than your body can burn for energy causes both men and women to store fat. Due to their hormonal differences, men tend to store in the belly, while women store in the lower belly, hips, and thighs.

  3. Hormones – Both men and women are subject to hormonal fluctuations that cause increase in body fat as they age. As men age, testosterone starts to decline. This causes a decrease in lean muscle tissue which leads to a decreased metabolism.
  4. Age – As both men and women age, the body’s ability to metabolize food for energy decreases. That is often why a body shape that you may have had when you are younger becomes more pronounced as you age. As people approach 40 and beyond, these changes become more noticeable and more challenging to control. It is never too late to lose weight and get healthier, but it does get progressively more challenging as you get older.

Genetics plays a large role in the shape of our bodies. Behaviors (food, exercise) play a large role in how much fat we carry on that shape.