Can’t seem to lose your belly fat even when you exercise regularly? Here are ten reasons why you can’t seem to get rid of your stubborn belly fat:
1 Your hormones have gone wacko.
Hormones are minute but significant role players in every human body function. When one or more hormones undergo imbalance or deficiencies, even your ability to trim down your belly fat is affected.
For example, when hunger hormones ghrelin, leptin, and neuropeptide y goes haywire, your appetite will significantly be affected. This hunger hormone disruption may lead to overeating or under-eating that significantly contributes to extra abdominal fat.
Another hormone that significantly affects belly fat reduction is estrogen. When estrogen levels are too high, also called as estrogen dominance, men and women tend to store extra fat in the abdomen, including butts and thighs.
2 You’ve been stressing much.
Stress like worrying too much won’t do you any good. In fact, it just opens gateways to different illnesses, and even extra belly fat. Stress causes your adrenals release high levels of cortisol.
Extra large amounts of cortisol ignite unhealthy high-sugar, high-carbs, and high-fat cravings. When you’re stressed, you tend to succumb to these cravings and mindlessly pack on additional fat in your belly.
To add, high levels of cortisol enlarge the fat cells in your body. It has also been linked to higher amounts of visceral or abdominal fat.
3 You’re not getting enough sleep.
Not getting adequate sleep poses different dangers to health including appetite disruption that could lead to weight gain and added belly fat. Inadequate sleep increase ghrelin – your hunger hormone.
While the ghrelin levels are increased, the appetite-suppressing hormones – leptin – are decreased. Just like the adverse effects of stress, inadequate sleep also leads to irresistible and unhealthy food cravings.
A study published in Oxford Journals found out that women who slept for just five hours or less gained more pounds than the women who slept for at least seven hours.
4 You’re eating a lot of processed foods.
Most processed foods like chips, crackers, microwave-ready meals, and refined grains and sugars contain added sugar, salt, and fat. Not all processed foods are necessarily unhealthy, but fresh and natural foods are much preferred.
Most of the time, processed foods promote inflammation inside the body. This inflammation has been linked to belly fat. Frequent consumption of processed foods can hinder your body’s ability to lose belly or abdominal fat.
In contrast, regular intake of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties helps prevent the build-up of belly fat.
5 You’re on a low-fat or non-fat diet.
You may be having a misconception about fat and do not know that eating fat can make you less fat. It’s not just the fat you’re thinking of. Totally eliminating all types of fat, even the healthy fats rid you of their fat-burning properties.
Healthy fats especially MUFAs of monounsaturated fats help prevent belly fat. This kind of fat promotes a healthy heart while supporting body fat breakdown. MUFAs also help decrease levels of LDL or bad cholesterol.
A study by Harvard observed 101 overweight men and women and found out that those who consumed healthy fats in their diet shed more pounds than those who went on a low-fat diet. But, fat, even the healthy ones, should be taken in moderation.
6 You’ve been depressed lately.
Depression, just like stress, increases levels of cortisol. This is why depressed people have higher amounts of belly fat compared to others who aren’t depressed. It also increases fat-forming inflammation in the body.
A study by the University Medical Center in Amsterdam observed 2,008 adults aged 70 to 79 years who were screened for depression and abdominal obesity. The participants were observed for five years.
“Our longitudinal results suggest that clinically relevant depressive symptoms give rise to an increase in abdominal obesity, in particular, visceral fat,” the authors concluded.
7 You focus on spot reduction.
You spend the majority of your time doing crunches thinking that it’s the only exercise that could burn your stubborn belly fat. Well, you’re doing it wrong. Crunches alone or spot reduction can’t help unleash your six-pack abs.
You need to burn your overall body fat by total body exercises to reduce the fat in your abdomen. It is important to exercise other body parts to increase your calorie burning rate.
Crunches will be more effective in losing your belly fat when mixed with cardio, functional exercises, and other total body exercises.
8 Your workouts aren’t challenging you.
You may be doing the wrong workouts or exercises. That’s why you do not see results. Or maybe, you are not working out and sweating enough. You need to intensify your workouts to totally get rid of your belly fat.
A study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal found out that those who performed high-intensity programs shed more fat on their bellies than those who performed low-intensity workouts.
When your workouts don’t challenge you anymore, you might go on a plateau and see less to no belly fat reduction.
Re-evaluate your diet, exercise, and lifestyle and re-learn the right ways of dieting and exercising to lose your belly fat. Meet with a hormone specialist or expert nutritionist to assist you in re-mapping your ”lose-that-belly-fat” and overall health and fitness plan!