I always notice if I’m gaining belly fat as soon as I sit in my car. It must be a combination of the safety belt, seat angle and cushion that seems to let me know how much excess I’m carrying immediately!
Needless to say, it’s not my favorite feeling. Along with the feeling of discomfort, belly fat also comes with an increased risk of health problems, even for those who are currently at a healthy weight.
This includes stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer. The bottom line is that excess fat around your waistline is more unhealthy than being overweight.
It is not uncommon for exercise and dieting to have less of an effect on this area than other parts of the body. Some people think that crunches will eliminate lower abdominal fat but this is just plain false. No amount of core exercises are going to solve this problem.
So What Actually Causes Belly Fat?
Well, the leading culprit is actually stress. Before you roll you eyes, close this page and never visit our site again… I’m only kidding. Just hear me out.
Our bodies evolved to react almost immediately to potential dangers. This survival instinct is built upon the release of adrenaline and cortisol.
These chemicals provide a significant boost of energy that lasts for five to ten minutes. This supplied our ancient ancestors with just enough instant energy to fight or flee in the face of sudden danger.
Today, most of us don’t have vicious animal attacks and tribal warfare threatening our survival—yet we seem to experience more stress than ever.
What’s interesting is that our bodies can’t tell the difference between a real, life-threatening event and missing your sales goal at work. It simply reacts to stress the way it always has. Scary, I know.
In addition, if you don’t fight (I suggest you don’t do this) or physically run during a stressful event, the fat and glucose in your system will be stored. And that fat will ultimately end up as a reserve near the liver where it can be quickly utilized if the body needs it for energy. So as you can see, we store fat in our midsections out of convenience and as a response to stress.
Furthermore, with each stressful situation, the cortisol levels are boosted in the blood, which increases hunger. And not just any hunger… It’s hunger for high energy foods, resulting in more calories than you can’t likely burn off in the course of a day. That means even more fat is being stored!
So when you look at stress closely, it’s obviously a serious threat to your health and figure.
Now we’ve outlined what causes belly fat, here are some simple rules to lose it!
1 Consider Fasting
Intermittent Fasting has a wide variety of science-backed benefits and is well-known for effectively promoting weight loss. I wrote a very thorough article about three of the best (in my opinion) and most popular fasting programs which you can check out via this link. If you don’t know much about the topic, I strongly suggest you read the post. The benefits section features lab studies that are pretty amazing!
2 Optimize Your Protein Intake
If you want to see the pounds just drip off, protein can help. Add some animal or vegetable protein to each meal. This will help satisfy your hunger, increase your metabolic rate and when eaten with carbohydrates, it will help manage blood sugar levels. I have personally seen people lose massive amounts of weight by simply correcting their protein intake.
[Related Post: Hemp Seed Health Benefits: Little Guys that Pack a BIG Punch.]
3 Eat More Fats
Essential fatty acids help boost your immune system and will help you reduce fat more efficiently. Nuts, seeds and fish are all excellent options to work into your meal plan.
[Related Post: What Does Wild Caught Mean?]
4 Move as Much as You Can
The fight or flight response your body is frequently faced with can be managed with exercise. Don’t limit your activity to three times a week at the gym. You should be moving every day. Rebounding is a great option we recommend for your home or office. Also, sports like racquetball, tennis, basketball etc. are much more enjoyable ways to stay active than just “working out.”
[Related Post: Rebounding Benefits: Top 10 Reasons to Jump like…]
5 Avoid High Glycemic Foods
Spiking your blood sugar results in your body stabilizing itself with a release of adrenaline and cortisol. Soda, fruit juice, alcohol, baked goods and many breakfast cereals all pose potential risks.
Belly fat is a bother to so many people yet it is so misunderstood. The purpose of this article is to impress upon you that stress is a very real factor in weight gain, rather than some sort of strange pseudo science. When you understand what your body is actually going through, you can then make educated choices to address the root cause of the problem.
If you’re serious about reducing your waistline and improving your overall health, I expect you to follow the five tips outlined above. Also, you absolutely must find a stress reduction technique that works well for you.
I hope this information, in time, will help you get closer to the body you deserve. Stay healthy and thanks for reading!
1. “Normal-Weight Central Obesity: Implications for Total and Cardiovascular Mortality.”
2. “Minireview: Glucocorticoids – Food Intake, Abdominal Obesity, and Wealthy Nations in 2004.”
3. “Cortisol — Its Role in Stress, Inflammation, and Indications for Diet Therapy.”
*DISCLAIMER: Always consult a medical professional before applying the advice given throughout this website. While the articles on HMM are thoroughly researched, it is important to speak with your medical provider before starting a new exercise routine or introducing something new to your diet. We ourselves are NOT doctors, so the information we feature should not be used to replace any of your medications or lifestyle choices that have been recommended by your doctor. Read at your own risk and read our full disclaimer here.*