Many people who wish to shed a few excess pounds notice that their abdominal region is one of the biggest “problem areas” when it comes to body fat storage.
If you are carrying more weight than you are comfortable with in your belly, you likely want to slim your midsection down for aesthetic reasons, health reasons or both.
Not only does your body look more proportionate when your belly does not protrude, but you are also far less prone to developing serious cardiovascular complications that can lead to early mortality. The issue for many people who try to burn belly fat, however, is that in many cases, it just won’t seem to budge.
Fortunately, the key to losing bothersome belly weight may become clear if you take the time to analyze your routine and figure out where you might need to make some changes. Difficult as it may seem to trim inches from your waistline, a number of people have successfully conquered belly fat simply by modifying their daily habits, food intake and fitness goals.
Explore these 12 common reasons for retaining weight in your abdomen, and you may quickly be on your way beating belly bulge once and for all.
1. Your Age Affects Your Metabolic Rate
While you cannot do anything to prevent yourself from getting older, you can take steps to avoid the telltale “belly spread” that often goes along with middle age in both men and women. Because your body’s metabolic rate is often a good bit slower at age 40 than it was at age 20, you will not need to eat as many calories each day to keep your midsection in shape.
2. You’re Missing Your Target When Exercising
Although high-impact cardiovascular workouts such as running, kickboxing and aerobics are great for overall weight loss, these exercises do not do much to target fat burning in your belly area when done on their own.
Integrate high-intensity interval and resistance training, which involves weight lifting, into your cardiovascular fitness program so that you can strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles and continue burning fat after your workout.
3. Your Stress Level Is Way Too High
Everyone experiences stress at one time or another, but if you find yourself anxious, worried, frustrated and frazzled on a steady basis, you may not be able to avoid seeing your belly size increase as a result. This is because the hormone cortisol, which is produced in excess when you are stressed, can enlarge the fat cells in your abdominal region and elsewhere. Try to relax!
4. Your Body Shape Tends Toward A Belly Bulge
Genetics can play a part in your likelihood of hanging onto stubborn belly fat. If you are biologically shaped like an apple, extra weight will almost always gravitate to your waistline first. Examine your body shape. If you are indeed an apple, take extra care to discourage belly bloat by diligently exercising, eating good foods and staying healthy.
5. Processed Foods Are A Burden To Your Belly
Many people enjoy prepackaged and processed foods for their convenience, but these treats are often loaded with ingredients that promote belly fat, including white flour and high-fructose corn syrup.
These foods can be hard for your body to digest and can cause inflammation that makes you abdomen look even larger. Put down the processed cookies, cakes and chips, and pick up some organic berries and crisp vegetables.
6. You Aren’t Sleeping Long Enough
If you consistently fail to get enough sleep, you can easily make yourself vulnerable to weight gain by decreasing your body’s production of leptin, which satiates hunger, and increasing grehlin, a hormone that encourages hunger.
Because weight gain is prone to occurring in the belly area, particularly in women, stave off fat accumulation in your abdomen by sleeping between seven and nine hours each night.
7. You’ve Been Under The Weather
Whether you have a chronic illness such as polycystic ovary syndrome that can manifest in excess belly weight or you have a virus or injury that prohibits your ability to exercise, being unwell can take a toll on your midriff. Seek professional advice for a chronic condition, and try to eat fewer calories while you’re out of commission with a temporary illness.
8. You’re Consuming Too Many Saturated Fats
A diet high in saturated fat, which commonly includes red meats and fried, greasy concoctions, can have a significant effect on the buildup of visceral fat deposits on your belly.
Choose foods that are made with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats instead; these can work to reduce inflammation and decrease belly fat. Consider unsaturated fat sources such as nuts, avocados, lean fish, egg whites and olive oil.
9. Your Diet Is Deficient In Magnesium
Magnesium is an excellent nutrient for keeping fluid retention in check and lowering your fasting insulin and glucose levels, both of which are linked to weight gain if they are too high. Aim to reduce belly bloat with a daily magnesium intake of around 320 milligrams. Opt for taking a supplement or eating magnesium-packed foods such as nuts, beans and dark green leafy vegetables.
10. You Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise
Just as doing the incorrect types of exercises for shedding belly fat can be a major roadblock, so can only working out on a very limited basis or avoiding exercise altogether. Acknowledge that abdominal fat shrinkage requires regular muscle training, and challenge yourself to start or expand a physical fitness regimen. Remember that gaining belly bulge is easy, but losing it takes effort!
11. You’re Eating An Excess Amount Of Salt
Sodium is a major contributor to bloating. When you routinely exceed your recommended salt intake for the day, the skin on your belly becomes a prime location for water to settle, giving you a paunchy look. Prevent belly bloat by avoiding foods with a naturally high sodium content and swapping out salt as a seasoning in favor of basil, cumin, cayenne powder or black pepper.
12. Your Sugary Drink Intake Is Too High
Drinks that are high in sugar, such as sodas and alcoholic beverages made with juice mixes, are detrimental to maintaining a slim waist. Additionally, although diet sodas may be free of sugar and calories, their artificial sweetener content can actually induce hunger and cause you to eat more. Blast belly fat with naturally unsweetened tea and coffee accompanied by plenty of water.
As you transition into better lifestyle habits and begin the process of losing belly fat, do not become discouraged if it takes a while to see positive results. Keep in mind that weight loss takes time and dedication if you are going about it in a healthy and productive manner.
Do the best that you can to make adjustments to your diet, exercise and overall wellness routines, and within a few months, you should notice your clothes fitting better around your waistline and your belly looking more toned and trim.