How To Lose Abdominal Fat
Most of us deal with abdominal fat. If youre trying to lose a few pounds to reduce abdominal fat, you may decide to adjust your diet and increase your physical activity.
Overall, losing abdominal fat is a balance of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. This includes eating more fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, and reducing the amount of trans fat, refined carbs, sugar, and alcohol you consume.
You’re Doing Too Much Exercise
Yep, you read that right. Some women can actually be doing too much exercise. “This can increase stress on the central nervous system, peaking cortisol and creating the same negative affect mentioned above,” James adds.
Thats why its imperative you take adequate rest time and mix your workouts up.
Best Protein Smoothie Recipes To Help Lose Abdominal Fat
When you think about losing fat, most of us are thinking about subcutaneous fat: the type of fat that is under the skin and the first thing you’ll lose when you eat fewer calories than you burn. What we’re less familiar with is abdominal fat, also called visceral fat, the “harmful” type of fat. This fat wraps around your internal organs, significantly increasing your risk of certain diseases. When you’re looking to lose fat, it’s important to focus on abdominal fat as well, and an easy way to do this is by drinking protein smoothies.
Adding protein to your diet has been shown to reduce levels of abdominal fat, subsequently lowering your risk of diseases related to abdominal fat such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Increasing protein intake results in increased satiety and a decrease in the release of ghrelin, our primary hunger hormone. When we increase our protein intake we often inadvertently decrease our intake of simple carbohydrates and sugars, which contribute to weight gain and the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease,” explains Dr. Kelcie Rosendahl, a Naturopathic Physician on Arrae‘s Medical Advisory Board.
Not only do high protein diets decrease abdominal fat and overall weight, but they can also benefit cholesterol levels, according to a Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases study.
How Long Does It Take For Your Body To Stop Storing Fat
A woman of average build, who exercises moderately intensively every day, burns about 2,000 kilocalories per day, and a man about 2,500 kilocalories. This means that you can live off your fat stores for an average of 66 days or 53 days , as long as you dont become more active.
Keep Your Stress Situation In Check
Stress, like that which happens as a result of sleep deprivation, might mess with your weight. Unchecked tension or anxiety can drive you to eat more, especially when it comes to high calorie comfort foods.
Research also shows that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol may encourage your body to store fat around your middle. Warne JP. . Shaping the stress response: Interplay of palatable food choices, glucocorticoids, insulin and abdominal obesity.
Your plan: Seek out stress management techniques that work for your lifestyle.
If you dont have an hour to meditate or do yoga, thats totally fine. There are plenty of short-term, effective strategies for feeling calmer, such as journaling, connecting with friends, or just watching a funny YouTube video.
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Chronic Gastritis And Peptic Ulcer Disease
Chronic gastritis occurs when your stomach lining becomes irritated or inflamed over time. Severe inflammation can destroy the lining and formation of the stomach or duodenal ulcer .
Chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease are classically present with burning or gnawing pain in the upper stomach .
However, many peptic ulcer diseases dont have epigastric pain instead, they are mild symptoms such as indigestion or discomfort .
Chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease are commonly due to:
- Infection .
- Irritation by certain foods or medication .
Gastritis often causes frank pain in the upper stomach area rather than a sense of hard stomach.
Common Symptoms of gastritis and PUD:
- Upper central stomach pain sometimes feels like a hard stomach in the upper-middle abdomen.
- The pain is usually dull, vague, burning, or aching pain.
- Associated symptoms include:
Your Hormones Are To Blame
Everyone has hormones, but if yours are out of balance, they could lead to excess stomach fat. As women age, they find it much harder to lose belly fat than men, mainly due to a decrease in the hormone oestrogen, explains Claire. “A drop in oestrogen has been shown to impact fat distribution, making it more focussed around the belly area than the hips and thighs. Also, as we age, we begin to lose muscle mass, and our metabolic rate decreases further, so were more likely to hold onto fat in general, which includes the hard to shift belly fat,” she adds.
“Poorly functioning or overworked adrenal glands can produce higher levels of cortisol, which can lead to a ‘swallowed a beach ball’ look,” explains Lisa. Or, she adds, a rapid drop in oestrogen, as occurs at menopause, can precipitate a ‘muffin top’ on the abdomen.
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Dietary Reasons For Belly Fat
Belly fat can accumulate at any age, though, especially if you make poor dietary choices. Too many calories from anything can cause your middle to expand. Too much saturated fat, found in full-fat dairy and fatty cuts of meat, and trans fats, found in some processed foods, can contribute to visceral fat development.
A diet heavy in refined sugar and grains often correlates with a larger waist size. A study published in a 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that people who consumed fructose-sweetened soft drinks were more likely to have visceral belly fat. Even diet soda drinkers could be at risk. A study published in a 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society detected an association between consuming diet soda daily and increased abdominal girth.
Refined grains, such as white bread and pasta, can also contribute to belly fat. A study in a 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a correlation between increased refined grain intake and the development of belly fat. Choose whole grains, such as brown rice or barley, instead, to help keep your visceral fat growth at bay.
Reducing Excess Visceral Fat
Since lifestyle behaviors cause excess accumulation of visceral fat, modifying these behaviors help reduce it and associated disease risks. Belly fat responds more efficiently to diet and exercise than subcutaneous fat does.
To reduce visceral fat and potentially increase lean muscle mass, add 30 minutes of moderate physical activity to your daily routine on most days of the week. Moderate exercise can include aerobic activity and strength training with weights. Combining a more balanced diet with a regular exercise routine can accelerate the loss of belly fat and improve other cardiometabolic risk factors. Adding more whole fruits and vegetables and minimizing sugar intake from processed foods are effective diet modifications for reducing dangerous fat around the organs. Additionally, quitting smoking, getting more than 5 hours of sleep per night, and managing mental stress have all been proven to reduce the accumulation of belly fat in men.
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Try Curbing Carbs Instead Of Fats
When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the effects on the heart of losingweight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet for sixmonthseach containing the same amount of caloriesthose on a low-carb dietlost an average of 10 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet28.9 poundsversus 18.7 pounds. An extra benefit of the low-carb diet is that itproduced a higher quality of weight loss, Stewart says. With weight loss,fat is reduced, but there is also often a loss of lean tissue ,which is not desirable. On both diets, there was a loss of about 2 to 3pounds of good lean tissue along with the fat, which means that the fatloss percentage was much higher on the low-carb diet.
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.
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Try An Abdominal Massage
found that abdominal massage is helpful in reducing malignant ascites, which is a buildup of fluid in your abdomen.
Press gently with your fingers to perform this abdominal massage:
Visceral Fat Produces Harmful Chemicals
Traditionally, body fat was thought to be stored passively in cells, waiting to be used for energy by the body. However, research has shown that fat cells are biologically active and function as an endocrine organ by secreting hormones and other molecules. The activity of visceral fat results in an inflammatory state that is strongly linked to metabolic disease, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of death, even in men at normal body weight.
Where fat is stored in the body depends on genes, hormones, diet and exercise habits, and levels of stress. Foods and beverages containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juices, more than two alcoholic drinks a day, inadequate protein intake, and insufficient fiber promote the storage of visceral fat. A sedentary or inactive lifestyle, stress, and poor sleep also increase the amount of visceral fat.
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Eat A Range Of Macros At Each Meal
Balancing meals and snacks to ensure they provide a carbohydrate, a protein and a healthy fat is a great way to slow down the release of glucose and therefore insulin release, shares Lisa. This means you’ll feel satisfied for longer, she adds.
Lisa recommends including the following foods in your diet if your aim is weight loss:
You’re Eating Too Much Sugar
Claire and James say that the majority of the population are consuming too much sugar. “Studies suggest theres a link between high sugar intake and holding onto belly fat in particular,” they explain.
Plus, as women age, they become more insulin resistant, making it harder to process these sugars. “That’s why you become even more prone to store it down as belly fat,” Claire adds.
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Why Is The Left Side Of My Stomach Bloated And Hard
When your stomach swells and feels hard, the explanation might be as simple as overeating or drinking carbonated drinks, which is easy to remedy. Other causes may be more serious, such as an inflammatory bowel disease. Sometimes the accumulated gas from drinking a soda too quickly can result in a hard stomach.
Causes Of Belly Fat In Women
1. Calories consumed
If you are taking in more calories that you are burning through physical activity, you will likely gain weight. Women especially tend to gain weight around their waistline and hips.
2. Unhealthy diet
For many women, growing more abdominal fat may be in their genes. Familial DNA can control gene receptors for hormones that regulate caloric intake and fat storage. Out of the three genes linked to a higher waist-to-hip ratio and greater amounts of abdominal fat, two are found only in women.
4. Sedentary lifestyle
Not moving enough throughout the day is one the biggest risk factors of an increase in both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat. Engaging in regular physical activity and limiting sitting for long periods of time can help prevent the storage of excess fat in your stomach.
Gaining weight after menopause is common. During puberty, estrogen signals the body to begin storing fat on the hips and thighs in preparation for a potential pregnancy. However, estrogen levels drop as you approach menopause, causing fat to be stored around the abdomen instead of the hips and thighs.
6. Imbalance in gut bacteria
7. Pregnancy and postpartum
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Aging And Hormonal Causes Of Lower Belly Fat
As you age, belly fat tends to accumulate — hence the term, “middle-age spread.” You naturally lose muscle mass as you age, and excess calories are more easily stored as fat, particularly in the belly.
Hormonal changes also make belly fat develop. Women, in child-bearing years, tend to gain fat in their hips, thighs and buttocks to supply a reserve of energy during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As their levels of estrogen drop during menopause, fat migrates more to the belly. Men always have a tendency to develop belly fat, but there’s no known physiological reason why. Once hormone levels of testosterone start to reduce in men after age 40, belly fat gain expedites.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Is Characterized By Higher Than Normal Testosterone Levels
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects many people with ovaries. Saeed said people with PCOS can have higher than normal testosterone levels and subsequently gain weight.
“It is thought these high levels of testosterone might cause this typical ‘male’ pattern of weight gain,” he explained. He recommended speaking with your doctor if you suspect you have this condition.
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You Are Drinking Too Much Soda
Those bubbles in soda and other drinks like beer, champagne, or seltzer are filled with gas. When you drink them, they can fill up your digestive system. You may burp some of it away, but once the gas reaches your intestines, it stays until you pass it. And most sodas are full of sugar, which can make you hold on to water and feel bloated.
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Limit Added Sugar And High
Consuming too much added sugar is associated with excess weight thats likely to accumulate around your waist. Sugar-sweetened beverages and drinking too much fruit juice can be particularly harmful.
When we drink our calories, especially with soda or juice, we dont feel as full or satisfied compared to chewing those calories, notes Dr. Creel. For instance, you may eat three oranges for the same amount of calories as a large glass of orange juice and feel much fuller for a longer period of time.
Watch how much of these liquid calories you consume and try to cut back where you can.
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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:
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.
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