Losing Fat: The Science and The Correct Approach

Losing Fat: The Science and The Correct Approach

That Stubborn Fat

Did you know that originally, the word “belly” means to swell like a bag? There must have been at least a few people troubled by stubborn fat in the abdomen even back then.

It’s not our fault at all. It’s not anyone’s fault. On this matter, evolution is simply against us: there are two main types of adrenergic receptors that are responsible for fat metabolism, one being the alpha type (responsible for storing fat), the other being the beta type (responsible for burning fat). Generally, there are more alpha receptors and fewer beta receptors in the abdominal area and other areas such as the hips.

I said “evolution is against us” only in the sense that, in modern times, we are less concerned with energy consumption in the case of food scarcity than say, impressing the guy/girl on a date with our tight abs.

So, are you still struggling to lose belly fat or any other fat for that matter? If so, how can you know that you are doing it right?

Here is the science behind it and the correct approach.

How It Works

Losing fat all comes down to caloric intake and caloric expenditure. If the expenditure is greater than the intake, you lose fat. It’s simple as that.

I hope this answers your question:” Why am I doing sit-ups and jog every day but still can’t lose that fat on my belly?” It’s because even though you exercise, the calories you burn are less than the calories that you take in. You really should watch what you eat if you are serious about losing fat.

You can’t target a certain part and burn just the fat there.

It doesn’t work that way at all. All you can do is burn calories, and your body decides which part of the body fat to burn. The process of fat burning, known as lipolysis, occurs systemically throughout the body. Areas like the abdomen, typically with more alpha receptors (fat-storing) and fewer beta receptors (fat-burning), tend to have a low priority with regard to losing fat.

"What You Are Saying Is That Ab Work-Outs Are Useless for Burning Belly Fat?"

Absolutely not! You should do ab work-outs on, for example, an ab machine by all means, and also other ways of weight training such as dumbbell and kettlebell lifting. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Ab work-outs help you build your core muscles. Lifting weights build other muscle groups. And more muscles on your body means a faster metabolism rate, which in turn means faster systemic fat-burning even when you are at rest.
  2. When you do lose that fat, your muscles are going to show. Don’t you want them to be more defined and aesthetically appealing?

Now that you’ve learned the science behind losing fat, you deserve to implement a correct approach to it. Here it is.

The Correct Approach, Step-by Step

Step 1: Calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolism Rate)

There are several equations for this. The Mifflin-St Jeor equation is considered to be more accurate. Here is the equation:

For Men: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) + 5

For Women: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) - 161

For example, you are a female, 27 years old, measure 5’ 7’’ which is 170 cm, and weigh 105 pounds which is 47.6 kg. Your BMR is (10 × 47.6 kg) + (6.25 × 170 cm) - (5 × 27) – 161=1242.5 calories.

Step 2: Do Your Due Exercises (cardio and weight training)

Your training program should be well-rounded. It should work all parts of the body including your upper body and lower body. Also, do cardio exercises to strengthen your heart and lungs. Check other posts on the website for exercises to do.

Step 3: Multiply your BMR by the corresponding activity level to calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

Determine your activity level:

  1. Sedentary (little to no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  2. Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days per week): BMR x 1.375
  3. Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days per week): BMR x 1.55
  4. Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days per week): BMR x 1.725
  5. Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9


Continuing with the example from step 1, say your activity level is moderately active, then your TDEE is 1242.5 x 1.55=1925.88 calories. Your daily calorie intake needs to be less than 1925.88 calories to achieve a caloric deficit.

Step 4: Aim for Caloric Deficit with a healthy and balanced diet

Now that you know how many calories you burn each day, you need to calculate how many you take in.

This can be achieved in several ways:

  1. Check food labels/packaging information. Usually, packaged food has its nutritional information printed on the label.

Note: 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories. 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories. 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

  1. Resort to reliable resources online such as USDA Food Composition Databases. These databases include extensive lists of common foods and their corresponding calorie.
  2. Recipe Analysis: If you're preparing homemade meals or dishes, you can use recipe analysis tools or apps that allow you to input the ingredients and quantities to calculate the estimated calorie content of the entire recipe. This can be helpful for tracking calories in meals you cook yourself.

While doing all this, make sure that your diet includes all necessary nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

And please note that the equations and numbers serve as a reference only. There may be other factors at work which are hard to quantify. Therefore, you should closely monitor your body, or even consult with a registered dietitian, to determine what works best for you, especially in the beginning.

Get to It!

And that’s it! Just stick to the approach and you WILL lose that fat! And remember to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated!

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