If you are serious about losing belly fat, it’s important to first figure out what’s causing it. Of course, in many cases, that extra bulge around your middle is simply due to the fact that you’re indulging in too many high calorie treats. However, there can be other reasons for belly fat, ranging from bloating to pudge leftover from a previous pregnancy or even hormones that are out of balance. Here are four common reasons you might be battling belly bulge as well as simple strategies for whittling down your middle.
Post-Menopausal Belly Fat
Prior to menopause, it’s not unusual for women to carry extra fat on their hips or thighs. However, after menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly, often leading to extra padding around your tummy. Of course, with menopause, women also lose testosterone, which means you typically lose muscle as well. With a reduction in muscle mass comes a slower metabolism, making it easier for your body to store fat.
If you want to get a flatter tummy after menopause, try walking with hand weights. You can burn more calories with a more intense workout, but that type of exercise often leads to higher cortisol levels. This can be a problem because cortisol is the hormone that triggers your body to store fat.
Post-Pregnancy Belly Fat
Pregnancy causes your stomach to expand, considerably! Your tummy needs room for that little baby as well as amniotic fluid and an expanding uterus. Unfortunately, even after you give birth, it’s not unusual for your belly not to go back to its pre-pregnancy state. One common cause of stubborn belly bulge after pregnancy is a condition known as diastatis recti. Basically, this means that you need to tighten the walls of your tummy.
Kegel exercises can help tighten your belly. Additionally, yoga and deep breathing exercises can help.
The Classic Apple
Your belly fat might simply be the result of genetics. You might just be one of those women who gain weight in their belly rather than on their hips or butt. It is estimated that 50 – 60% of the time, genetics is at the root of excess weight and belly fat. You might be predisposed to gain weight in your belly, but a healthy diet and the right kind of exercise can help you banish belly fat.
If you are genetically predisposed to gaining belly fat, it’s a good idea to eat plenty of lean protein while limiting simple carbohydrates. Stick to whole-grains for the carbs that you do eat and get plenty of cardio for its belly blasting benefits.
The problem with belly bloat is that it is not actually belly fat at all. In fact, gas or fluid retention are usually the cause. The foods that cause bloating can vary for each individual. You should pay attention to what you eat and see if you can identify which foods are causing you problems.
If you have a problem with bloating, try focusing on eating more fruits and veggies while limiting animal protein. Dietary fiber is plentiful in most fruits and vegetables. It’s important to increase your intake of dietary fiber slowly or you’ll likely experience even more bloating. Also, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water.