How do fat cells work? How much does our weight during teenage years affect our appearance as adults?

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I was wondering since I have read that the number of fat cells in our body is determined during puberty, and that they never disappear.

Personally I reached a BMI of 31.1 when I was 16, then I went to 21.1 before turning 17. Does the fact that I have been obese in the past prevent me from ever looking really skinny if I wanted to?

In: Other

Not really, no.

While yes the body can make new fat cells if it needs when someone is overweight to store more fat, and yes fat cells can remain in the body even after they’re “empty”. These empty fat cells are much much smaller compared to when they actually are storing fat.

Imagine it like the cell being full of fat like a bunch of inflated party balloons, and then when you lose that fat those cells deflate like balloons with know air to much much smaller.

Typically the main “problem” people losing a lot of weight can run into is excess, baggy skin that hangs loosely off the body, this is something that people losing a lot of weight get surgically removed because all the extra skin won’t really shrink/go away on its own, at least not quickly.

>Does the fact that I have been obese in the past prevent me from ever looking really skinny if I wanted to?

No, but it will likely be harder for you to stay skinny than for someone who was never obese.

(1) It takes a lot of energy for your body to build new fat cells, because of this your body will only create new fat cells when the existing cells are already full.

(2) Empty fat cells produce a hormone that tell your brain to eat more. If you were obese in the past, then you have more empty fat cells than someone who has never been obese, and this will tell your brain you need to eat more frequently.