Reasons you are not losing belly fat

Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity’s sake.
Excess abdominal fat-particularly visceral fat-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 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. 
On top of that, women have to deal with menopause. This shift in hormones causes women to hold onto weight in their bellies. 
You can’t fight aging, but you can adopt lifestyle changes that keep your weight in check.  

You are stressed
Stress leads to the secretion of the cortisol hormone in your body. 
According to a study conducted, this vicious hormone can slow down your metabolism, thus, making you burn fewer calories than your actual potential and leading to obesity. 
Needless to say, all the extra weight might just start showing on that belly.

You drink a lot of alcohol
Booze has a lot more calories than you might expect: 125 for a 150ml pour of red wine. 
But alcohol may be widening to your waistline in another less obvious way. 
The calories in alcohol can’t be stored for later, so the body’s metabolism has to focus on alcohol first when it’s in the body. 
This diverts it from its task of burning fat, and fat burn especially drops in the belly. 

You drink beer
Beer has a lot more calories than you might expect: 153 for a 350ml regular beer. 
Excessive consumption can lead to weight gain—especially around the belly area. 
If you’re an ale aficionado, be especially mindful of your consumption: It is known that intake of beer is associated with abdominal obesity. 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23356635/ 

You are hooked to soft drinks
Sugary soda, packed with empty calories, is obviously a diet disaster, but even the no-calorie version can expand your waistline. 
A review found that both regular soda and diet soda was associated with increased risk for obesity.
https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/110/8/513/3574201

Your diet is packed with salt
If you’ve ever felt bloated after a salty meal, it’s not in your head. 
Excess salt causes water to move from your bloodstream into your skin, which is why a daily dose of chips will give you a puffy look. 
So even if you’re not pouring on the table salt, you’re likely getting more sodium than you need through other sources such as ketchups, Ypickles, papads, and even some dairy products like cheese.

You don’t sleep enough
A lack of ZZZ’s can have serious consequences—especially if you’re trying to lose fat. 
According to a study when women got four hours of sleep instead of eight, they consumed more than 300 extra calories a day, mostly from fatty foods. 
Why? Too little sleep causes an increase in a hormone called ghrelin that stimulates appetite.

Set of tin food illustration

You’re eating too many processed foods
Refined foods like processed meat, ready to cook/ eat meals etc. 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’re eating too much sugar
It’s not new information that sweet treats can result in belly fat. 
A high sugar diet can cause belly fat to stick fast even if you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight. 
To make a serious impact on your belly fat, cutting out sugar spikes is key. 
A surprising number of ‘diet’ snacks and drinks are high in sugar and are marketed as diet foods because they happen to be low in fat.

You smoke
Smoking not only increases your risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease; it also causes you to store fat around your middle. 
Despite its ability to squelch hunger pains, a study found that smokers had more belly fat than their non-smoking counterparts. 
You may not gain weight as a result of smoking, but any fat you do have tends to distribute itself around your abdomen, which further increases your risk of disease. 

You consume too many sports and energy drinks
Sports drinks can have a lot of sugar. That brings calories. 
If you drink too many of these, you’re 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’re Not Drinking Enough Water
Drinking enough water is essential for burning off fat from food and drink, as well as stored fat. 
Choosing H2O 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. 

You got it from your mama
According to a study conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S., your genes can influence the way your metabolism functions. 
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 eat too quickly
If your body has one major flaw, this is it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s had enough. 
A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that slow eaters took in 66 fewer calories per meal, but compared to their fast-eating peers, they felt like they had eaten more. 
What are 66 calories, you ask? If you can do that at every meal, you’ll lose more than 9kg a year!

You are apple shaped​
If you tend to pack the pounds around your middle rather than your hips and thighs, then you’re apple shaped. 
This genetic predisposition means ridding yourself of belly fat will be harder, but not impossible.

Your workout isn’t challenging enough
To banish stubborn belly fat, you have to ramp up your workouts. 
In a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, people who completed a high-intensity workout regimen lost more belly fat than those who followed a low-intensity plan. 
High intensity workouts mean you’re going all out for as long as you can. 
If this sounds intimidating, think of it this way: you’ll burn more calories in less time.

Disclaimer: The advice provided is intended for informational purpose only and does not substitute for professional medical advice.  Consult with your doctor if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.​

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Rithika Rajgopal

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