Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity’s sake. 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. Read on for 7 possible reasons why your belly fat won’t budge and how to get rid of it.
1-You’re 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. On top of that, women have to deal with menopause. During 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. Balanced nutrition and supplements can help you maintain a more balanced hormone system.
2- You’re doing the wrong workout
A daily run or Spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone won’t do much for your waist. You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training. Strength training increases muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle. Plus doing a proper strength training program promotes better posture and decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
3-You’re eating too many processed foods
Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies. Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat. You don’t have to give up sweetness. Just get it from other sources. Try fresh berries or pureed fruit on oatmeal instead of sugar. Explore fruit that’s dried, frozen, or canned (without too much added sugar). Taking a probiotic, such as Usana’s probiotic, will assist in healthy digestion and help in reducing the inflammation caused by ingesting over processed foods.
4-You’re 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 and Usana’s Biomega) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. But eating too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and could lead to weight gain, so enjoy healthy fats in moderation.
5-You’re doing the wrong exercises
Doing crunches until the cows come home? Stop it! When you’re down to your final inches of belly fat, the dreaded crunch won’t be the exercise that finally reveals your six-pack. Instead do functional exercises that use the muscles in your core—abdominals, back, pelvic, obliques—as well as other body parts. These exercises use more muscles, so there is a higher rate of calorie burn while you are doing them. Plank is a great example of a functional exercise.
Deadlines, bills, your kids—whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it’s not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie food when you’re stressed, though that’s part of it. It’s also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of Cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat.
Are you committed to the work needed to lose belly fat? Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training. If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and lose it. This is where seeking help from a certified holistic nutritionist and personal trainer comes in 🙂