Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for men and women. Excess abdominal fat—particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and puffs your stomach into a “beer gut” is a predictor of heart disease, type 2 Diabetes, insulin resistance, and some cancers.
If diet and exercise haven’t done much to reduce your pooch, then your hormones, your age, and other genetic factors may be the reason why. There are some possible reasons why your belly fat won’t budge.
You are getting older
As you get older, your body changes how it gains and loses weight. Both men and women experience a declining metabolic rate or the number of calories the body needs to function normally.
In addition to the above, women have to deal with menopause. If women gain weight after menopause, it’s more likely to be in their bellies. In menopause, production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone slows down.
Meanwhile, testosterone levels also start to drop, but at a slower rate. This shift in hormones causes women to hold onto weight in their bellies. The good news: you can fight this process.
You are eating the wrong foods
Unhealthy eating is the biggest cause of big bellies. Too many starchy carbohydrates and bad fats are a recipe for that midsection to expand. Instead, men and women should eat lots of vegetables, choose lean proteins, and stay away from fats from red meats.
It is important to choose healthier fats in things like fish, nuts, and avocados. Even a moderate cutback on carbohydrates such as grains, pasta, sugars can help too in reducing stubborn belly fat.
You eat a lot
That under-skin belly fat called subcutaneous and the fat under your abdominal muscles and around vital organs called visceral need to go.
This is because Visceral fat makes cardiovascular disease and diabetes more likely. It can also lead to high blood pressure and more. Eating too much is at least partly to blame for that flab. Limiting your portions can keep visceral fat down.
You are a smoker
We all know the dangers of smoking. Add this to the list: One study showed that it leads to more abdominal and visceral fat. So if you needed one more reason to quit, you have one.
You are stressed
When the stress hormone cortisol goes through your body, fat takes residence in your belly. Talk to your doctor about how to handle your stress. Exercise can help ease it. Meditate. Do yoga. Put together a good support system. Talk to a mental health professional if you need it.
You are not exercising enough
Nobody said shedding belly fat was going to be easy. If your gut is stretching the tape measure too much for men, that’s more than 40 inches around the waist, and women, more than 35, you need moderate physical activity (like walking) for at least 150 minutes a week, or vigorous (running) for 75, and strength training at least twice a week. Check with your doctor first before starting any exercise programme.
You are doing the wrong exercises
Those sit-ups aren’t enough. You also need weight training to build muscle. More muscle means burning more calories.
If you can only do one exercise, choose aerobic exercise like walking or running. It works best for burning fat. Make it a habit, and slowly ratchet up the intensity to get the results you are after.
You drink beer
It’s not just beer and the carbohydrates in beer that make that beer belly pop. All alcohol has calories. If you take in too many calories especially if you are not exercising and eating well, you are going to pack on the pounds. If you drink, remember to do it in moderation.
Sports and energy drinks fill your fridge
Sports drinks can have a lot of sugar. That brings calories. If you drink too many of these, you are setting yourself up for weight gain that might end up around your beltline. Cut back on sugary, high-calorie drinks. That means energy drinks and non-diet sodas, too.
You are not drinking enough water
Studies show that drinking more water can help you lose weight. Choosing water instead of sweetened drinks means fewer calories. That can help you trim that belly fat. It’s also the only beverage that can hydrate without adding sugars or other compounds.
Genetics can play a role
Yes, your family tree affects your chances of obesity. It also has a say in where you store fat. Still, there is hope. Striking the right balance between how many calories you take in your diet and how many you burn through exercise can help keep you from gaining weight, despite your genes.
You are not sleeping well
Those night time raids on the fridge are diet killers. Not only that, if you are not sleeping, you are jump-starting stress hormones. Those encourage your body to keep fat.
Learn good sleep-time habits, like putting down your phone, turning off your laptop, going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding alcohol before bed and getting your exercises done.
You are obsessed with the scale
Here’s some good news: You might be losing that belly fat and not even realize it. If you are eating well and exercising right, remember that how your clothes fit measured by your waist size is more important than what the scale says. If that waistband is less snug, you may have replaced some belly fat with muscle.
You are eating the wrong fats
The body doesn’t react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat the kind in meat and dairy to increased visceral fat. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats, the kind in olive oil and avocados and specific types of polyunsaturated fats mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. But they must be eaten in moderation to avoid consuming too many calories.