There are a number of your reasons why people gain belly fat such as lack of exercise, poor diet, hormonal changes, and stress. Putting on weight is much easier than dropping it and no one likes a bulky midsection. It’s not just aesthetically bad looking but also a health concern.
Increasing activity, improving nutrition, reducing stress plus making other lifestyle changes can help you lose belly fat.
There are two kinds of belly fat:
- Subcutaneous: This is the fat that sits under the skin
- Visceral: This is the fat that envelopes the organs
When it comes to health problems, complications from visceral fat are much more dangerous than having subcutaneous fat. Don’t get so gloomy, there are still many ways which can help you lose belly fat.
The Dangers Behind Belly Fat
One of the leading causes of major diseases is obesity or being overweight.
Excessive belly fat can increase the risk of
- Colon Cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart Disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart Attacks
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Breast Cancer
Ways to Getting Rid of Belly Fat
Here are some ways that can help you get rid of that pesky belly fat.
Exercise is much than just a way to keep yourself lean, it also helps to release endorphins that can sig significantly positively affect your mood. Exercise on a regular helps to decrease the amount of visceral fat in your body.
Many studies show that aerobic exercises are very helpful in a particular way, so go for a walk, hit a dance class or go running a few times a week.
Re-think the Break Basket
A low-carb diet is not everyone’s cup of tea, and to be honest, it’s not so fun either but it has been repeatedly considered as an effective way to reduce body fat. Research shows that higher fat and a lower carb diet can make a drastic difference in fat hiding in the mid-section.
Cutting out carbs completely can have certain negative effects on your health, but you can try to shift on a more low carb way of life.
Consume Less Sugar
Sugar can be super addictive and delicious as well, but too much of it isn’t good for your health. Devouring a large amount of sugar has been linked to a high amount of body fat. A study conducted in 2007, focused on kids concluded that eating less sugar can help people reduce body fat in just days.
Focus on Soluble Fibre
Contrary to common belief there are different kinds of fibers, not all are alike.
There are two kinds of fiber:
- Soluble fiber
- Insoluble fiber
And to lose belly fat you should focus more on soluble fiber. Soluble fibers can help to slow down the passage of digested food from your stomach to your intestines, this helps to reduce your appetite significantly and can help you lose belly fat.
A study regarding this even showcased that increasing the amount of soluble fiber you consume by 10 grams per day can help reduce visceral fat gain by a whopping 4 percent. This may not sound like a lot, but it’s still better than nothing.
Foods high in soluble fiber include:
- Black Beans
- Lima Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Kidney Beans
- Sunflower seeds
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is super important not just for your body but for your mental health as well. Many studies show that not sleeping enough can lead to an increase in abdominal fat.
You should try your best to get at the very least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day, you won’t be able to do that every night but you should try.
To fall into a good pattern, set up a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time every day, soon your body will get used to it and it will take over. This is the same as you wake up on a Sunday at the same time as your usual alarm set during working days.
When it’s time to sleep, try to get rid of all the devices around you. About half an hour before your bedtime try to put your phone aside, and don’t even grab it when you are bored.
Meditate More Often
Getting more sleep and reduction in stress has been linked to a decrease in visceral fat, so it will also make sense that meditation would also be an effective way to get rid of excess belly fat.
Meditation has been associated with reduced stress levels and it has also been known to help with sleeplessness and even improve the quality of sleep.
Stress is something that tends to factor into your gaining weight. This is true for both men and women but women, in general, tend to hold onto more stress and therefore it affects weight loss more negatively.
Here are some activities that can help you relieve stress:
- Do a yoga video
- Try meditation
- Take a hot bath
- Write a journal
- Colour in stress relieving coloring book
Eat Food That Burn Belly Fat Quickly
Losing weight is much easier than it looks. People fail again and again because they focus more on exercise and less on their diet. When it comes to weight loss, your diet is much more important as compared to exercise.
Here is a list of some ingredients that you can add to your diet that may help you lose belly fat faster.
Eggs are super high in lean protein that they can help counter your cravings. They help you to eat less and hence lose belly fat faster. Many studies show that eating healthy proteins help to lose belly fat faster.
Nuts and Seeds
Seeds are nuts do not only help to keep you full bit also are a great source of healthy protein that helps to reduce belly fat and can even increase your metabolism. Walnuts, almonds, cashews, chia seeds, macadamia and hemp seeds are some great examples
Citrus fruits are another great food item that can get rid of belly fat faster and boost your metabolism. Vitamin C is great for health and you can easily work it into your diet. Squeeze lime, orange, lemon or all three into your water and sip all day. It’s better to eat an orange rather than munching on a sugary snack or a grapefruit when you crave something sour.
Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals, contrary to popular belief makes losing weight a lot harder. Skipping meals is never a good idea if you are trying to shed some extra belly fat. Most people believe that when they skip meals they consume fewer calories, but when you eat less your body tries to hold on to the little food it is getting, so it becomes harder to shed weight. Your metabolic system slows down.
And another thing when you skip meals, you crave more food and then end up eating more when you do finally plan to consume something. It’s better to eat frequently but less every day. Keep your portion sizes small and you will soon start to see a decrease in your waistline. Dieting or having a healthy lifestyle does not mean that you need to starve yourself. Your health should be your priority and never go on a diet that restricts nutrients.
A healthy body is a strong body. Crash dieting is never a cure. You should just burn more calories than you consume. To lose weight, you need to have a calorie deficient lifestyle.
Causes of Belly Fat
In this article I have added a list of the most common causes of excessive belly fat, continue reading to find out more.
Trans fats are one of the unhealthiest fats on this planet.
These unhealthy biological structures are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats to make them much more stable. Trans fats are also commonly used to extend the shelf lives of foods that are packaged, such as baking mixes, muffins, and crackers.
Trans fats are also known to result in inflammation. This can easily lead to heart disease, insulin resistance, and various other diseases.
Numerous studies are conducting on animals that show that diets that contain a large number of trans fats may lead to excess belly fat.
A 6-year study was conducted in which monkeys were separated into two groups. One was fed an 8% trans fat diet and they gained weight plus they had 33% much more abdominal fat than the group of monkeys that were fed an 8% monounsaturated fat diet, despite both the groups just receiving calories enough to maintain their weight.
Sugary Foods and Beverages
Most people take in much more sugar than they need every single day, without even realizing it. High-sugar foods include candies, cakes, along with some so-called healthier choices like frozen yogurt and muffins.
Due to the high fructose content of added sugars, a link between excess belly fat and high sugar intake has been observed. Both high-fructose corn syrup and regular sugar are quite high in fructose. High-fructose corn syrup has about 55% fructose while regular sugar has 50% fructose.
A study was conducted over 10 weeks, in which obese and overweight people who consumed 25% of calories as sweetened-fructose beverages on a weight-maintaining diet experienced an increase in belly fat and a decrease in insulin.
A second study showcased a reduction in metabolic rate and fat burning among people who followed a much similar high-fructose diet.
The fact of the matter here is that sugar in absolutely any form may lead to weight gain and sugar-sweetened beverages are especially problematic. Sodas, as well as other sweet drinks, resulting in the consumption of a high dose of sugar in a very small amount of time.
Other studies have also shown that liquid calories don’t have the same effects on the appetite as solid foods. Once you consume calories by drinking, you don’t feel full and then have to compensate by eating other foods instead.
One of the biggest threats to good health is a sedentary lifestyle.
Over the past decades, scientific advancements have made life easier for man but also made people generally much less active. And this has played a role in the rising rates of obesity, including abdominal obesity.
A major survey from 1988 to 2010 done in the US found that was a drastic increase in weight, inactivity and abdominal girth in both women and men. According to another survey, women who watched TV more than three hours a day were at twice the risk of severe abdominal obesity, as compared to the group of women that watched less TV.
Another study also suggests that inactivity also contributes to the regain of belly fat after weight. This study also concluded that people who performed aerobic exercise or resistance were able to prevent regain of abdominal fat, while those that did not exercise has about 25 percent to 38 percent increase in belly fat.
Putting on weight during menopause is extremely common. When a girl goes through puberty, the body signals the body to store fat in the thighs and hips region to prepare the body for a potential pregnancy. This kind of subcutaneous fat is not harmful but it can be extremely difficult to lose in most cases.
Menopause occurs after one year after her last menstrual period. When menopause begins, the body experiences a drop in estrogen level and now the fats begin to be stored in the abdominal region rather than the thighs and the hips.
The amount of fat that each woman gains is different, some gain more belly fat than others. This can be partly due to the age at which menopause begins as well as genetics. Another study claimed that women that go through menopause at a younger age tend to retain less abdominal fat.
Alcohol can have both healthful as well as harmful effects. When it is consumed in moderate amounts, such as red wine, it may lower the risk of strokes as well as heart attacks. On the other hand, high alcohol intake may lead to liver disease, inflammation, and other health problems.
Some studies have concluded that alcohol ha the tendency to suppress fat burning and that the excess calories gained from alcohol are partly stored as belly fat- hence the term beer belly. Many studies have linked a high intake of alcohol and fat retention around the middle. One study showed that people who consumed three drinks a day were 80% more likely to have excess belly fat than those who consume less alcohol.
The amount of alcohol consumed within a day also seems to play a role. In one study, people who consumed less than one drink a day tended to have the least amount of abdominal fat, while those who drank four or more drinks or drank often were most likely to have excess belly fat.
Low Protein Diets
The most important factors in preventing weight gain are getting adequate dietary protein.
High protein diets help to increase your metabolic rate, make you feel satisfied and full and leads to a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake.
On the other hand, a low protein diet will cause you to gain belly fat over the long term.
Many studies have concluded that people that have a high protein diet are the least likely to have excessive belly fat.
Plus, animal studies have found that neuropeptide Y which is a hormone, leads to an increased appetite and helps promote belly fat again over the long term.
When your protein intake levels are low, NPY levels tend to increase inside your body.
The Wrong Gut Bacteria
Thousands of bacteria are housed in your body, especially your colon. Some of these bacteria can be harmful to you while others have health benefits.
The bacteria present in your gut are called microbiome or flora. The health of your gut is really important for your body to maintain a healthy immune system and avoid disease.
There have been many studies conducted on this matter and most of them conclude that an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria may promote weight gain, such as abdominal fat.
One study done on mice concluded that mice free from bacteria gained significantly more fat when they received fecal transplant bacteria related to obesity, as compared to the mice that received bacteria linked to leanness.
Studies on obese and lean twins and their mothers have confirmed that there is a common core of shared bacteria among families that may trigger weight gain and also where the weight is stored at the end.