If you have set out on a weight loss journey, you will face a lot of disheartening obstacles. Among them is the “squishy fat” phenomenon which usually occurs before you start having noticeable differences in your body weight.
It will undoubtedly take a toll on your morale if you’re working hard at the gym all week, only to see your fat get softer as you lose weight. At times, people start considering quitting their workouts altogether.
Others start relating the prominent jiggly fat in their midsection and other parts of the body to some magical “whoosh effect” that will allow them to lose weight quickly.
In both cases, a lack of information can destroy your well-established workout routine. It’s true that your fat, particularly in the stomach region, may feel a bit flabbier as your weight loss journey progresses.
At times, the flabbier fat might discourage your motivation and compel you to give up. On the other hand, if you adopt misgivings that softer fat tissues will lead to a sudden, magical drop in your body weight, you’ll be left disappointed all the same.
There are many reasons why you get jiggly fat when losing weight. Some of these reasons are commonplace in a healthy weight loss routine. However, increased squishy fat in your midsection can also cause concern in some cases.
To understand more about your body and how it changes throughout your weight loss journey, it’s important to know why your fat might get jigglier as you progress.
Does Fat Get Jiggly Before You Lose It?
Normally, if you feel squishy fat in your midsection, it indicates that you’ve put on some weight. However, there are some exceptions to this, where you might get jiggly fat as and when you’re losing weight.
Your fat may get softer due to a variety of reasons, ranging from water retention, diet changes, food choices, exercising patterns, and even hormonal shifts.
Generally, when you’re losing weight, your fat might become squishier before you see noticeable differences on the weighing scale. This happens because the fat cells start diminishing and become smaller. As a result, they start becoming more fluid and less tight.
Because of these new characteristics, the fat tissues appear to be softer, jigglier, and squishier. Despite your belly becoming fuller, the appearance of such squishy fat can indicate that you’re on the right track.
Of course, the implication of whether the increase in squishy fat, particularly in your abdominal region, is indicative of weight loss depends on your activity levels and dietary choices.
If you’re working out regularly and having a balanced diet, there’s no need to focus too much on the sudden appearance of softer fat tissues. But if you are leading an unhealthy lifestyle, squishy fat might just indicate an overall increase in your body fat percentage.
It’s important to differentiate between the appearance of jiggly fat when losing weight and when your belly feels squishier because you’ve gained a lot of fat. To do this, let’s look into a list of reasons why your fat might get softer during your weight loss journey.
Why Does My Fat Feel Softer When Losing Weight?
If you are an active user of social media, you might have heard of the infamous “whoosh” effect. The misguided phenomenon is based on the finding that people gain jiggly fat when losing weight.
So, a group of internet users on Reddit came together and theorized that the whoosh effect is what causes squishy fat when your body weight is about to drop drastically.
The basis of the theory states that when you start burning fat and losing weight, the fat tissues get filled with water. That is why the fat in your belly and other body parts might feel squishier and jigglier when you’re on track to lose weight.
After a short period, the fat cells allegedly release the water through the bloodstream and ultimately out in the form of urine, resulting in drastic weight loss and a decrease in the body fat percentage.
While that sounds fantastic, it’s not true at all. The whoosh effect is simply an unscientific myth that, unfortunately, gained a lot of traction on the internet. Sadly, people are buying into the theory and following unhealthy choices to trigger the whoosh effect.
While the whoosh effect is definitely not responsible for the presence of squishy fat during weight loss, there are other factors that contribute to it.
Let’s talk about some of them.
Decrease in Visceral Fat
As we mentioned, a squishy belly is generally indicative of an increase in body fat percentage. More specifically, it indicates an increase of subcutaneous fat in your body. These are the fat cells that sit just underneath the layer of the skin.
Subcutaneous fat tissues comprise about 90% of your body fat and are the hardest to burn off by exercising. While some amount of these fat cells are important for the purpose of insulation against outside temperature and storage of energy, too much subcutaneous fat can lead to fatal conditions like diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and so on.
Apart from the subcutaneous fat tissues, our body has yet another type of fat cells. The visceral fat tissues are the ones that sit deep inside your body, coiled around your organs for protection and as a reserve source of energy for the body.
If you have an “apple” body shape, where your waist region is wider than your hips, that indicates that you have excess visceral fat. Like subcutaneous fat, excess visceral fat is unhealthy for the well-being of your body as well.
The good news is that visceral fat is easier to lose. Exercising and dieting have a better positive influence on visceral fat than the fat in your belly and hip region. This is because visceral fat cells are quicker to metabolize.
As such, when you’re on a weight loss journey, you’ll likely lose visceral fat first. In a span of two to three months of vigorous exercising and healthy dieting, you’ll start seeing noticeable differences in your body weight and on the measuring scale.
But losing visceral fat also leads to a complication – it makes subcutaneous fat more prominent.
So, as you lose visceral fat, the squishier, jigglier subcutaneous fat cells will become more noticeable. As a result, your belly might appear flabbier and fatter even though you’re actually losing weight.
In this case, the only thing that you can do is continue working out. Over time, you’ll start seeing similar results on your belly (subcutaneous) fat as well.
Presence of Loose Skin
When you put on weight, your skin stretches to accommodate the increase in the size of your body. Similarly, when you lose weight and burn off fat, the skin makes an effort to shrink back to its regular size.
In the case of slow, sustained weight loss exercises, the skin will revert to its original shape, especially if you’re not losing a lot of weight. But if you’re undergoing extreme weight loss in a short span, your skin might not be able to retain its original shape, resulting in excess, loose skin.
In this case, the loose skin might make your belly feel squishier and flabbier. But it’s only indicating that you’ve burnt off a lot of fatty tissues. It does, however, raise the question of what you plan on doing about the excess skin.
Some people decide to keep it as a badge of honor for their progress. Others opt to get it surgically removed after consultation with a professional healthcare provider.
When you experience a sudden shift in your dietary habits or activity levels, it might lead to a drastic decrease in water weight. As such, the bloating in your midsection will go away.
While that is generally a good thing, it does expose the subcutaneous fat cells sitting just underneath your skin. As such, your belly region might appear squishier and jigglier than before.
Is Soft Jiggly Fat Easier to Lose?
Usually, when you lose weight, the fat cells might appear softer because they shrink in size and become less taut. However, that doesn’t mean that softer fat tissues are easier to burn off by exercising and dieting.
Subcutaneous fat, which is harder to burn off, is softer and jigglier. So if your belly feels squishier, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re any closer to burning off the excess fat in your body.
There won’t be any immediate, miraculous results. You’ll have to keep working hard to burn off the softer fat tissues to improve your shape and muscle definition.
How Long Does it Take for Squishy Fat to Go Away?
If you see your fat get softer as you lose weight, it indicates that you’re on the right track, as you’re likely burning off the visceral fat.
That leaves you with the monumental task of removing excess subcutaneous fat. Depending on your exercise, dietary habits, and general activity levels, it might take you anywhere between 2 to 4 months to burn off the excess squishy fat in your midsection and other parts of the body.
The key is to be consistent with your weight loss and muscle gain routines.
A squishy belly typically means that you need to regulate your dietary habits and exercise more. But sometimes, you might see your tummy getting flabbier as and when you start losing weight at the gym.
That might happen when you get excess loose skin because of extreme weight loss patterns or when you’ve burnt off a large percentage of visceral fat.
In both cases, you’re on the right track. With proper consistency, you can get rid of the excess squishy fat tissues as well.