Saddlebag Fat - What Causes It & How To Get Rid Of It

Saddlebag fat is one of the most common (and most stubborn) areas of body fat that women struggle with. But what it is? What causes it? And most importantly, how can you get rid of it?

What Is Saddlebag Fat?

Saddlebags are pockets of fat that sit along the outer side of your thighs. It’s the fat that gives you that pear-shaped appearance and can leave you looking bottom-heavy rather than nice and curvy with an hourglass figure.

Named after the bags that hang either side of a horse’s saddle (charming, I know!) these pockets of body fat can be some of the most frustrating to combat.

What Causes Saddlebag Fat?

Like all body fat, saddlebag fat occurs when you have an excess amount of body fat. If you’ve been overeating – or eating the wrong foods – for any prolonged amount of time then it’s likely that you’ll have started to notice a little extra weight.

Most pre-menopausal women tend to carry their excess body fat on their hips and thighs. This can result in the creation of saddlebags. Frustrating, but safer than belly fat. Postmenopause, when your oestrogen levels change you become much more likely to carry fat on your belly.

There are lots of things that can contribute to your excess weight – it’s not all down to what you eat!


Our hormones play a big part in telling our bodies what to do with the food we eat. If your hormones are out of whack you might find that you gain weight very easily or it’s impossibly stubborn to shift. Signs of hormonal imbalance include irregular periods, mood swings, migraines, fatigue and hormonal acne.


Stress can wreak havoc on every part of your body. Not only does stress release hormones that make you crave quick hit, high energy comfort foods but it makes it harder for your body to use up your fat stores too. Signs of stress include anxiety attacks, insomnia, short temper, shallow breathing, headaches, inability to relax and increased heart rate. If you think you’re suffering from stress check out my previous blog post to find out how meditation can help

Lack Of Exercise

Office jobs and Netflix mean that we’re not moving nearly as much as we should. Leading a sedentary lifestyle not only leads to weight gain, but it is bad for your health too. Exercise has been proven to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health problems too.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions, such as arthritis, chronic fatigue, MS, fibromyalgia, depression and chronic pain can make it much harder to be active, let alone exercise, therefore increasing your weight. Other health conditions such as thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s and PCOS can actually make you gain weight.


Certain medications can have an impact on your ability to regulate your weight. Some make you gain weight such as Corticosteroids, Amitriptyline and Insulin, while others, such as the Contraceptive Pill, HRT and Beta Blockers can make it harder to shift the body fat you already have. If you’re on medication and struggling with your weight talk to your doctor to see if it could be your medication causing it.

Why Is it So Hard To Get Rid Of?

Not all fat is created equal. Some fat is soft and easy to break down while other fat is more fibrous and stubborn to get rid of.

Saddlebag fat falls into the “fibrous and frustrating” category. It’s still malleable like other forms of subcutaneous fat, but it feels tougher, colder and denser due to the fibres running through it.

Fibrous fat is harder to get rid of because the fibres “protect” the fat cells, making it harder for your body to use the fat for energy and burn it up. This means it’s usually the last fat to go.

How To Get Rid Of Saddlebag Fat

As with all body fat, diet and exercise are key when it comes to getting rid of saddlebags. Eating a healthy diet that’s low in sugar and high in healthy fat, protein and vegetables are important if you want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Whilst exercise doesn’t help you lose weight, regular strength training can help to shape and sculpt your body. Another reason to incorporate strength training into your weekly routine is the longer-term effects of increasing your metabolic rate. building muscle increases your metabolic rate

But sometimes diet and exercise can feel incredibly slow. Weight loss can be a frustrating process with plateaus and sometimes many months with no progress. Plus Saddle Bag fat is notoriously stubborn and most likely it will be the very last place you lose weight from, if at all!! (sob)

If it’s saddlebags you’re trying to shift then getting some extra help could be a good idea. Due to the challenging nature of saddlebag fat, non-surgical fat removal treatments can give some incredible results – and fast!

Treatments For Saddlebag Fat

In previous decades your only choice would have been liposuction, but thanks to the development of the aesthetics industry, there’s now a range of safe, effective and non-invasive treatments that can help eliminate stubborn body fat.

For saddlebag fat, we recommend Ultrasound Cavitation or Exilis Elite as these two treatments can work well with fibrous fat. Fat Freezing is another popular fat removal treatment however we don’t recommend it for saddlebag fat, as it tends to work better on soft, non-fibrous fat.

Ultrasound Cavitation uses ultrasound frequencies to disturb the fat cells and break them down so your body can more easily dispose of them. Exilis Elite uses a combination of ultrasound and radiofrequency to do the same job. Once the fat cells are destroyed, your body naturally eliminates them through your lymphatic system over the following 8-12 weeks.

Want to learn more? Click here to find out if Ultrasound Cavitation or Exilis Elite is the right treatment for you…

Exceptional Standards & A Welcoming Atmosphere

Here at The Body Clinic, we’re passionate about providing you with the very best treatments for your needs. Our purpose-built clinic, based in Stourbridge, West Midlands, has everything you need and our friendly team will make sure you feel comfortable and welcome throughout every stage of your treatment.

Click here to learn more about Saddle Bag fat and how we can help you get rid of it.