Men and women carry fat around their belly differently. In either case, the reasons for the extra fat is not always related to overindulgence in food. Sometimes, no matter how much you work out or how many crunches you do, that stubborn fat will remain. This may be because the average diet and exercise plans may not necessarily work for the type of belly fat you have. It could be caused by one of the reasons listed below:
1. Alcohol Belly
Also known as the spare tire, this tummy fat sometimes rests on your lap when you sit. Booze is to blame for a pot belly no matter how big or small, be it beer, wine, and other drinks – all of which are major culprits in blocking the body from breaking food down properly, or your liver’s ability to burn fat. In addition, alcohol also tends to be high in calories.
Do: Cut out alcohol, or reduce your intake, and drink plenty of water, eat more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
2. Mommy Belly
After giving birth, the belly stretches and that pouch seems like it wants to take up permanent residence. Even if you have lost the baby weight, you may still have a tummy. This could be caused by post-pregnancy diastasis recti, which causes abdominal muscles to separate. If your belly still looks as though you are pregnant it may be due to your tissues stretching. Insulin levels also tend to go up during pregnancy causing your abdomen to store fat. Be sure to check with your doctor to rule out diabetes.
Do: Stop crunches and sit-ups as this aggravates diastasis recti. Visit your doctor if the bulge is accompanied by back, pelvic or stomach pain. And opt for walking, or exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor and the core.
3. Stressed-Out Belly
Cortisol can really wreak havoc on the bodies for men and women who are dealing with stress. Cortisol itself is connected to weight gain because it causes the body to store visceral fat. It can also cause anxious or stressed-out people to eat more. Fat also tends to gather around the waist and may cause sagging in the midsection. In addition, sleep patterns may also be affected, an obvious sign of stress.
Do: Get more rest and go to bed earlier to help regulate your metabolism. Also, avoid junk food and overeating and be on the watch out for triggers like cravings for sweet and salty foods. Kick caffeine too, as it raises cortisol levels, and eat a healthy breakfast to help you avoid cravings and mood swings. Be sure to exercise, do yoga or try meditating to help relieve stress.
4. Hormonal Belly
Hormone levels can sabotage your efforts to get rid of extra fat. High levels of estrogen linked to a thyroid condition can affect fat in the belly, and in the whole body – the neck, shoulder, and legs. Low estrogen levels due to menopause can cause a muffin top because less estrogen causes the fat to move from the hips and thighs to the abdomen. In addition, women with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome have elevated levels of testosterone, causing fat to hang out around the waistband and thighs. This condition may also cause insulin resistance and may, therefore, cause you to crave more sugar and junk, thus growing a belly. In men, low testosterone leads to a slow metabolism and increase in abdominal fat.
Do: Eat healthy fats like Omega 3 and 6. Increase your intake of fiber – fruits, beans, and vegetables to lose the fat. Also, reduce your intake of dairy and any other foods which cause inflammation. Light exercise, including walking or yoga, will help keep your stress levels low.
5. Bloated Belly
If you wake up with your belly flat in the morning but expands as the day goes by, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the slim or the heavier side, you can’t escape this type of belly fat. This is usually caused by gas, food intolerances and allergies, imbalance of healthy gut flora or poor digestion. You may notice you have trouble with your bowels or feel bloated. Perhaps you have a problem with gluten, or you’re not eating enough fiber. Try experimenting with cutting out certain foods, like pasta, or yeast. This will narrow down what foods could be causing problems.
Do: Take probiotics to help with intestinal flora, and drink lots of water to help with digestion. Try breathing exercises that draw the breath deep into the diaphragm and up your fiber intake with fresh veggies, nuts, legumes, and fruits.