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Q&A: Do Certain Body Parts Lose Weight Faster Than Others?

The question: It seems like it's easier to lose weight in certain spots than others—do some body parts slim down at a faster rate?

The expert: Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., a Philadelphia-based nutritionist

The answer: Yes—but where the fat melts off first is totally different for everyone and has a lot to do with your genetically determined body profile. "If you tend to gain weight around your waist, you'll likely lose weight from your midsection first as well," says Brill. Meanwhile, if extra poundage goes straight to your boobs—as it does for many women—you'll probably notice it leave your chest first, too.

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The other factor in play when it comes to where you shed weight is Mother Nature's plan for you to be always be ready to get pregnant. For that reason, many women say that the fat around their hips, butts, and thighs stubbornly stays put for the first several weeks of a weight-loss regimen—while their backs, calves, and even their faces begin to thin out much sooner. "The fat on these body parts [the hips, butt, and thighs] is crucial for childbearing," says Brill, "which is why most women notice that their body naturally hangs onto it as long as possible."

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In a perfect world, you could switch things up so you lose weight where you want to first. But the fact is, you don't really have much control over where the pounds peel off first…with one caveat. There's evidence that women who exercise while watching what they eat may lose more weight from their midsection than those who simply cut back on calories and don't work up a sweat, says Brill. "When you work out, your metabolism increases, and that helps get rid of some of the visceral fat that goes to your stomach and abs area," she says. It's just a modest difference and doesn't count as spot reducing—but it's something to keep in mind if your body hangs onto belly fat forever and you want the waistband of your jeans to feel roomier faster.

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