You’re Simply Getting Older
With each passing birthday after the big 3-0, we start to lose muscle mass. As a result, Biggest Loser dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD, tells us our metabolism naturally slows. That has got to be the worst birthday present of all time! “When our metabolism slows down, we will gain weight, especially if we continue to eat the same amount of food as we did when we were younger.”
The solution: To keep your lean, youthful figure, Forberg says staying active is a must: “A combination of cardio and weight-bearing exercise will help preserve lean body mass and muscle tissue, keeping the metabolism elevated.”
You Haven’t Kicked The Habit
Some people who smoke are afraid to quit because they worry that theyll gain weight. But even though smokers have a lower body mass index than nonsmokers, their bellies are bigger. Smokers gain more visceral fat, the kind that’s linked to heart disease and other chronic health conditions, than nonsmokers. So, in case you needed another reason to quit, now youve got one.
You’re Cooking With Too Much Oil Or Butter
“Cooking with oil or butter are healthy choices,” says Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from CollegeNutritionist.com. “However, since one tablespoon of oil is both over 100 calories, the calories of a meal cooked with oil or butter can increase drastically without one thinking about it.”
The solution: “An easy way to remedy this is to cook with an oil spray,” says Paul. “You still get the same texture and mouthfeel as when you cook with butter, but you can save hundreds of calories.”
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Get At Least 7 Hours Of Sleep Each Night
If you’re among the 30% of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night, here’s one simple way to reduce your waistline: catch more Zs. A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept 7 hours. The National Institutes of Health suggest adults sleep seven to eight hours a night.
A smaller study also found that those who slept 4.5 hours a night had higher levels of the brain chemicals that affect appetite and our reward systems, compared to those who slept 8.5 hours. That means they ate more food between meals and were drawn to junk options.
Visceral Fat More Of A Health Concern Than Subcutaneous Fat
Though the term might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase more so in women than men. Extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection.
At one time, we might have accepted these changes as an inevitable fact of aging. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral, fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.
Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.
Why Do Men Gain Weight In Their Bellies
Why is it that when men gain weight, they tend to develop potbellies?
Why is it that when men gain weight, they tend to develop potbellies?
The answer has to do with how the body stores fat. When men gain weight, the default storage place is the belly. Think of it like the trunk of a car, said Dr. Zhaoping Li, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Just like people loading up a trunk for a picnic at the park, “you can put things there no problem,” Li told Live Science.
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But if men eat too much and don’t get enough exercise, then just like a jam-packed trunk, that belly space is going to run out of room, Li said. Once a man has a full potbelly, the body starts storing fat elsewhere, which is extremely unhealthy, she said.
“When they run out of storage place in the belly, that’s the time the fat starts to accumulate in the liver, pancreas and muscles,” Li said. “Then, you start having real medical issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.”
In contrast, because of estrogen, women tend to store fat in their hips and legs, especially their thighs, Li said. Fat in these storage areas can give women needed energy when they are pregnant or breast-feeding, Li said.
“Women genetically have more capacity to store fat ,” Li said. “That is part of our survival.”
Youre Expecting A Quick Fix
Dr Luke explains that its easy to become impatient and frustrated when youre trying to lose weight and havent seen the results yet. But be realistic, he encourages. You wont see results overnight. Your brains wiring plays a huge part in resisting changes in lifestyle, and it takes time to establish new habits up to 12 weeks. Stick with it for at least eight weeks and you should notice a change.
Emily agrees, further emphasising that progress takes time. Disappointed that your progress looks a little different to someone elses? Remember, one of the biggest misconceptions when trying to lose lower stomach fat is that a flat stomach, or ab definition of any kind, looks the same on everyone.
Major spoiler they dont! Id try to avoid chasing the perfect set of abs and instead focus on striving towards a strong core whatever that looks and feels like for you. Remember, even if we all trained the same, we wouldnt all look the same, she points out.
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You Aren’t Paying Attention To Your Sodium Intake
A high-sodium diet can make you retain water and bloat. And when you retain water in your gut, it can make it seem like you’ve experienced a sudden weight gain in your stomachwhen it’s just water weight. As Palumbo says, “sodium-related weight gain is easy come, easy go.”6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
The solution: Up your water intake and cut back on the sodium. Cooking more at home with fresh herbs instead of salt should help your belly deflate in a day or so. Dining out? Scan nutrition info at home before you head out and pick a healthy restaurant dish with about 1,000 milligrams of sodium or less.
Body Changes At Menopause
As we age, our muscles decrease in bulk and our metabolism slows down. These changes can contribute to weight gain around the time of menopause.Other physical changes associated with menopause may include:
- skin changes, such as dryness and loss of elasticity
- vaginal dryness
- hair growth .
These changes may affect a womans body image and self-esteem and increase her risk of depression and sexual difficulties. Taking steps to manage the symptoms of menopause can help.
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Sugary Foods And Beverages
Many people consume more added sugar daily than they realize.
Common foods in the diet that can be high in added sugar can include baked goods, pastries, muffins, flavored yogurts, breakfast cereals, granola and protein bars, prepackaged foods, sugar-sweetened beverages , and other processed foods .
In particular, a diet high in SSBs is associated with increased visceral abdominal fat .
SSBs are the largest contributor of sugar intake in the United States primarily due to their low cost, convenience, and ease of consumption. Unlike food, SSBs can be consumed quickly in large volumes since they require minimal processing .
As a result, you experience a large intake of calories and sugar, with little to no nutritional value, in a single sitting. For many, its not uncommon to consume multiple SSBs in a single day.
For example, drinking two 16 fluid ounce bottles of soda in a day adds up to 384 calories and 104 grams of sugar. This, especially if consumed in addition to many other high-sugar food and drinks, can lead to excessive calorie intake in a day and, ultimately, excess visceral fat .
Furthermore, drinking your calories particularly from SSBs can lead to a temporary spike in blood sugar followed by a crash, leading to you feeling hungry quickly and needing to drink or eat soon again .
Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
Weight gain can result from sedentary living and eating more calories than you burn in a day. Regular exercising can contribute to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. It’s helpful to vary the type of workout you do and include both aerobic exercise and resistance training.
Before making any dietary changes or starting a weight loss program, be sure to consult with your doctor.
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Sedentary Lifestyle And Physical Inactivity
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest risk factors for negative health events. It involves prolonged sitting throughout the day .
Even if a person is physically active, meaning they engage in physical labor or exercise, prolonged sitting may increase the risk of negative health events and weight gain (
In one study, researchers reported that people who performed resistance or aerobic exercise for 1 year after losing weight were able to prevent regaining visceral fat, while those who did not exercise had a 2538% increase in belly fat .
Another study showed that those who sat for over 8 hours each day had a 62% increased risk of obesity compared with those who sat for less than 4 hours each day .
Its recommended that most adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity each week and engage in regular resistance training.
Further, try to limit sedentary behaviors and prolonged sitting. If sitting is part of your work, try to incorporate standing breaks every 3090 minutes by standing for 510 minutes or taking a quick walk around your office, home or neighborhood.
A sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity are associated with a number of health risks, including weight gain and increased abdominal fat. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week.
Is It My Time Of The Month
Oh, yes, good ‘ol Flo. Throughout the menstrual cycle, changes in female sex hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone, can result in serious water retention. The fluid can spread around the body, but seems to affect your tummy most of all, says Lisa M. Davis, Ph.D., chief nutrition officer of Terras Kitchen, a meal delivery service.
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Gains In The Belly Area
This is where men tend to gain weight first. If you are male and reading this, Male or female, Iâd first look at your simple carbohydrate and sugar intake, not to mention alcohol. If those are in check, the next thing we would investigate is your cortisol levels.
If you feel that youâre already doing these dietary things, look at your cortisol levels. I chatted about that in last weekâs post, and specifically, it can be incredibly useful to actually test your cortisol levels. If thatâs something youâd like to do, get in touch with me here, at no charge.
Why does imbalanced cortisol cause belly fat? Studies show that imbalanced cortisol can make you hold on to fat, specifically around your vital organs, in the abdominal region.
What You Can Do:
Stop for a second and take stock of your stress using a stress inventory.
Why Is My Stomach Big At The Top
Upper belly fat can be the result of your body storing water weight. Sodium consumption, dehydration, and a lack of electrolytes can cause your body to retain water. This can make your stomach and other areas of your body appear swollen. Stick to a diet low in salt while youre working to lose belly fat.
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Did I Recently Have A Lot Of Salt Or Carbohydrates
Both can cause tissues all over your body to retain water, says Davis, noting that just two cups of water weighs one pound. And while theres nothing wrong with the fluids that your body naturally holds onto when it stores carbs as glycogen , if youre used to a low-carb eating approach, youll definitely have more fluid in your system post-pasta.
Find Ways To Reduce Stress
There is a relationship between a rise in cortisol levels and weight gain, but there are plenty of stress-relieving strategies you can employ to help counteract it. Strategies may include meditation, adding yoga to your exercise plan, and spending time in nature.
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Youre Feeling Stressed Or Anxious
Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on your body, according to Dr Luke. It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure. Short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us cope with immediate danger, but our body will also release this hormone if were feeling stressed or anxious. When our cortisol levels are high for a long amount of time, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly, explains Dr Luke.
So, what does Clarissa think? She agrees, adding that by calming your stress levels, you are much less likely to crave energy dense foods.
Try and notice if you reach for foods when you are stressed, she advises. Spot this habit and ask yourself, Am I actually hungry, or am I eating for another reason, like stress, boredom or excitement?’. If your answer is the latter, try a non-food related habit, instead. Why not go for a walk, call a friend or make a cup of tea? Simple.
Eat All Fats In Moderation
The body doesn’t react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat to increased visceral fat, says Patton. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats and specific types of polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. But Patton warns that eating too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and could lead to weight gain, so enjoy healthy fats in moderation.
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Ageing And Lifestyle Pattern
As you tend to age, the body has a tendency to start depositing fat towards the abdomen in comparison to other parts, this further leads to a fat disproportion in the body. Moreover, ageing also affects muscular mass and skin firmness. While muscles tend to become flaccid, skin tends to become lose due to loss of collagen.
Youre Brewing The Wrong Tea
A steaming cup of tea is the perfect drink for soothing a sore throat, relaxing at night, or binge-watching your favorite TV show. But certain teas are also perfect for doing something elsehelping you lose extra weight. Pu-erh tea, for example, can literally shrink the size of your fat cells! To discover the brews fat-crusading powers, Chinese researchers divided rats into five groups and fed them varying diets over a two-month period. In addition to a control group, there was a group given a high-fat diet with no tea supplementation and three groups that were fed a high-fat diet with varying doses of pu-erh tea extract. The researchers found that the tea significantly lowered triglyceride concentrations and belly fat in the high-fat diet groups. Its a natural fat blaster, along with barberry, rooibos, and white tea.
Eat This, Not That! Fix: We love pu-erh so much, we made it part of our weight-loss plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse.
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How Do I Look In The Morning
When you wake up in the morning, take a look in the mirror. Not in a judgey way, but just to get a sense of whats going on in your body. When we wake up in a fasted state, our food has already left our stomach and is probably well into our colon, so we dont get that bloated feeling and look, says Caspero. So if you wake up with a stomach thats a good two sizes smaller than when you go to bed, something is definitely going on in your gut, she says.
Why Do I Only Have Fat On My Stomach
If you have excess fat only on your stomach, it could be related to your diet and lifestyle or an indication of central obesity. Common reasons you may be gaining weight in your stomach include:
- Poor diet: Eating a diet high in sugar, carbs, and saturated fat but low in protein can cause you to pack on pounds around your middle. Junk food slows down your metabolism and affects your overall health.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Long hours of sitting throughout the day can lead to the accumulation of visceral and subcutaneous fat.
- Stress: Stress can lead to high cortisol levels in the body, which can affect your metabolism as well as make you reach for unhealthy foods more often.
- Sleep: Not getting enough sleep has been linked to inflammation, changes in hunger hormones, and lack of exercise, all of which can contribute to weight gain.
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption not only causes people to gain weight around their abdomen but also leads to chronic liver problems and inflammation.
Other reasons you may be gaining more fat in your stomach include:
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