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I read about subcutaneous and visceral fat and I understand it's the latter that is hard (and therefore cannot really be perceived by a person by touching and feeling around on the skin I assume).

But my question stems from my perception that my belly fat has been very apparently "hardening" over the past few weeks. I don't know if it's the fat actually hardening or some other phenomenon, but I wanted to know if subcutaneous fat ACTUALLY hardens?

I read in some places that perhaps the fat is "settling" and therefore hardening after LOONG periods of no exercise and therefore no circulation. Is there any scientific weight to that theory or is it just voodoo myth like most things on the internet?

If that's a myth then what is the explanation for my belly hardening recently?

Thanks for the info.

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It would be good if you could provide some sources about the hardening effect of fat. –  Baarn Feb 5 '13 at 9:59
    
As for the links you asked about - here's one. The others have been harder to find. forum.bodybuilding.com/… –  Dev Kanchen Feb 6 '13 at 18:09
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5 Answers

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I think you are confusing some things here. From Wikipedia:

In humans, adipose tissue is located beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat), around internal organs (visceral fat), in bone marrow (yellow bone marrow) and in breast tissue.

How your body stores fat is mostly defined by your genetics.

I have never heard of any of the claims you are making in your question and they don't seem to be the explanation for your issue. It might be best to see a medical professional to talk about that specific problem.

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Thanks, that seems about right. It is easy to get carried away with misinformation. :) –  Dev Kanchen Feb 6 '13 at 13:44
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But my question stems from my perception that my belly fat has been very apparently "hardening" over the past few weeks. I don't know if it's the fat actually hardening or some other phenomenon, but I wanted to know if subcutaneous fat ACTUALLY hardens?

I don't know this for absolute sure, but I would be very surprised if there were usual any way for the fat itself to "harden". Body fat is lipocytes packed with triglcyerides. Even those with melting temperatures higher than body temperature will still not be "hard"; consider what beef fat is like even when refrigerated--it's rather soft, and it should be softer still if warmed to body temperature. Same with human abdominal fat.

Perhaps what you are noticing is really "tautness"--the increased abdominal fat you've put on is stretching your skin and underlying tissue tighter, like a drum head, and so it is less pliable when you depress it. Your skin can stretch a lot over time, but if you're recently put in weight quickly, it may not have had time to accommodate and it will seem particularly taut.

(In either case, this strikes me as a solid indicator--pardon the pun--to get serious about losing some of that abdominal fat through diet and exercise.)

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Actually I have to disagree with Baarn. There is such a thing as "omentum fat" which is visceral fat located near the stomach. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_omentum. It is not terribly uncommon among men to have larger fat deposits here, which is actually underneath the abdominal muscles, which is why the belly seems harder. A more thorough answer can be found here.

To answer your question about whether subcutaneous fat "hardens", it's probably not true in the way you're thinking but yes it can develop.

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I have that problem too. It started after a kidney operation. The bottom fat from my belly began hardening. In fact if I begin to rub it it softens again like it becomes moldable. Also my skin in that particular area changed color as it had been burned like a huge beauty mark and some parts like aroing the edges like a rash reddish but it doesn't hurt nor ich. I cannot understand it.

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As this is now, it is more suitable as a upvote or part of it as a comment, please read the introduction at fitness.stackexchange.com/tour –  FredrikD Apr 8 at 18:55
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