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The 4 Types of Fat and The Most Effective Way to Lose Each

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Did you know there are 4 types of fat, and each one responds best to certain fat loss techniques?

Identifying the type(s) of fat you want to lose will help you pick the right strategy, stay motivated throughout the process, and get you to your dream physique faster.* A lot of patients come to us unsure about what strategies they can use to help them lose their unwanted fat, and what simply isn’t going to help them reach their goals. We highly recommend patients seek the help of a medical professional when it comes to fat loss, even when they plan to use diet and exercise alone. A physician can help you craft a scientifically-proven game plan for your weight loss, and take a lot of the frustration and guesswork out of the process. We cover how to pick a physician to partner with in your weightloss below.


Fluffy fat is soft, squishy, and jiggles easily. Women tend to accumulate this kind of subcutaneous (below the skin, above the muscle) fat much more readily than men, and it’s typically found on women’s stomachs, hips, thighs, and/or backs of the arms. Inner thigh fat is nearly always fluffy, and is a good reference point. Fluffy fat on men is normally restricted to the stomach and love handles.

This kind of fat is soft and rounded, and very lightweight, so when you lose fluffy fat, you can’t always rely on the scale to measure that loss, but because it’s so voluminous, you’ll notice your pant size changes quite a bit.

This fat is the perfect match for CoolSculpting or SculpSure. Both of these non-invasive fat reduction techniques can remove a large volume of fluffy fat during each treatment round. Laser Liposuction can also do wonders for fluffy fat, easily melting it away during a single treatment under comfort calm local anesthesia™. Those with more significant or widespread fat may should consider traditional liposuction performed by our plastic surgeon, as many areas can be fully treated in a single session. Fluffy fat normally responds better to diet and exercise than other types of fat, unless there is a genetic or hormonal component at play, in which case, it can be nearly impossible to lose (such as women with lower stomach pouch after pregnancy).


Fibrous fat is the tougher version of subcutaneous fat and often forms set-in rolls. You can still pinch fibrous fat, but it’s tougher and doesn’t squish the way fluffy fat does. The two prime examples of fibrous fat are women’s bra fat rolls (especially when the roll remains after the bra is gone) and men’s love handles, when they feel tough and not at all jiggly. Sometimes fluffy fat becomes fibrous due to the constant pressure of ill-fitting clothes, and sometimes the area was fibrous before the fat accumulated.

Laser liposuction or Traditional Liposuction is normally the best option, however the non invasive solutions can help too, Coolsculpting may potentially be better than SculpSure here. This kind of fat can be particularly resistant to diet and exercise change, but would eventually decrease in proportion with the other body fat (i.e. you shouldn’t expect to be able to spot-reduce or see rapid change in these areas with diet and exercise alone).


Cellulite occurs when fat gets trapped within the bottom layers of the skin. This appearance of your cellulite has more to do with genetics than your weight, and while some women can improve their cellulite by losing weight overall, many cannot. Cellulite becomes especially difficult to eliminate after menopause, as the skin thins. This thinner skin is more likely to show smaller amounts of fat within the skin, so losing weight may not be able to reduce or eliminate cellulite for older women.

Cellulaze is a revolutionary treatment that addresses all 3 causes of cellulite – fat within the skin, fibrous bands that create dimples, and thinned skin. However, it can be quite an uncomfortable and intense recovery, with painful bruising that lasts for months. For that reason, we very rarely resort to this technology anymore. 

Instead, typically we treat each cause of cellulite an individual has with the singular best treatment for that cause, and often combine a few of these together for a more comprehensive result:

  • For excess fat within the skin, we tend to find SculpSure or Kybella Injections work best
  • For fibrous bands that create dimples, Qwo injections work amazingly
  • For an overall wavy texture, which is mainly caused by loose and thin skin, Exillis Ultra, can create a smooth, toned contour


Visceral fat is different from the 4 other types of fat. Visceral fat lives below the muscles, surrounding your internal organs in your abdomen. Because its located behind a thick muscle wall, this type of fat feels firm, not soft or pinchable.

Visceral fat is a problem that has to be tackled with lifestyle change alone, because there aren’t currently any tools in the cosmetic surgeon’s arsenal to help reduce this kind of fat. However, the good news is, this kind of fat responds faster to lifestyle change than other types of fat, and there are a few ways you speed up your visceral fat loss:

  1. Get More Sleep – a 2010 study, published in the journal Sleep, concluded that individuals who slept less than six hours a night experienced a 32% gain in visceral fat over five years.2
  2. Combine Exercise & Diet Change to Make a Bigger Impact – combining diet and exercise seems to multiple your efforts when it comes to visceral body fat. Low-Carb diets have been shown to be particularly effective, but you’ll want to talk to your doctor before you take on a new fitness routine.
  3. Stick with it! – For every 10% of overall weight loss, you lose 30% of your visceral fat. So sticking with a program can pay off quickly.1

Not sure what kind of fat it is? That’s okay – fat can be tricky. We’re here to help. Give us a call at (732) 356 – 1666 to schedule a consult for fat loss.

Selecting the Right Partners for Your Fat Loss Journey

Picking the right partner(s) to help you formulate your fat loss strategy can make a big difference in the speed of your results.* If you’ve been unsuccessful in attempts to lose fat on your own, don’t feel discouraged. Unless you’ve heavily invested into growing your willpower muscle, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to stick to a new plan  without strategically building new habits and developing motivation

Reflections’ team of body contouring specialists have received specialized training in fat loss, including how to identify which type of fat, how to best treat that fat, and how to formulate a plan for fat reduction which fits the patient’s lifestyle needs (shortened recovery, faster results, no anesthesia, etc.). Pairing the right treatment to fat type is the key to getting the kind of results that doctors show off in their before & after galleries. Because we offer all of the effective fat loss treatments – CoolSculpting, SculpSure, Laser Liposuction, and Traditional Liposuction – we can effectively treat more types of fat than most offices, and we have the experience and expertise to properly match you to the right option for your fat.

We find the number one way for patients to stay motivated and on-track, is to see results early on in their fat loss journey, and use that success to fuel dedication to a healthy lifestyle. That’s why we love being able to offer treatments that ensure results, because we know that will help you stay on-track while your new habits cement.

Ready to talk to a body contouring specialist? Call us at (732) 356-1666 to schedule your consultation today!


  1. Blackburn, G. (1995), Effect of Degree of Weight Loss on Health Benefits. Obesity Research, 3: 211s–216s. doi: 10.1002/j.1550-8528.1995.tb00466
  2. Guglielmo Beccuti, Silvana PannainSleep and Obesity;Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jul; 14(4): 402–412.