And what to do instead…
Many people find that even after they’ve slimmed down in their legs, arms and hips, their belly fat still won’t go. Worse yet, the older you get, the harder it can be to make belly fat disappear.
Truth be told, you can’t “spot-treat” belly fat. The only way to ultimately lose it is by losing body fat all over your body. You can’t control where the fat comes off first, but eventually, if your body fat percentage gets low enough, you will get a tight and toned tummy.
If you feel like you’ve been doing everything “right” to lose weight but your belly just won’t budge, here are some of the top reasons why.
Belly Fat Won’t Budge? Top 7 Reasons Why
7. You’re Stressed Out
When you’re stressed your body is flooded with stress hormones like cortisol, which can actually promote storage of fat in your belly. Meanwhile, stress may trigger cravings for junk food while also altering your insulin response — a three-pronged recipe for belly fat. The Chicago Dietetic Association explained:[i]
” … chronically high levels of stress can alter the main fuel your body uses, turning it into more of a sugar burner than a fat burner. It can also stimulate the growth of visceral or belly fat, and increase the breakdown of muscle tissue.
… High cortisol levels suppress the release of serotonin and melatonin, causing cravings for junk food and insomnia respectively. Increased cortisol levels also stimulate extended periods of the insulin response. During those periods of time fat-burn is inhibited, and is instead being created. This is when stubborn belly fat is formed.”
6. You Eat Too Many Carbs
Carbs, especially sugar and refined grains, are the enemy when it comes to body fat (unless you’re trying to gain it). Sugar, soda, cookies, candy, white bread, pasta, bagels, doughnuts, even your afternoon sweet tea or sweetened coffee drink … we’re looking at you.
If you want a flat stomach, stick with a diet with no more than 43 percent calories from carbohydrates (and about 39 percent calories from fat and 18 percent protein), as this may help you lose deep belly fat and total body fat.[ii]
5. You’re Exercising Wrong
Any old exercise isn’t going to give you the fat-burning results you’re after. A leisurely walk around the block? Sit ups and crunches? Even a slow-paced 30-minute jog? None of these are ideal for burning belly fat. So what is?
High-intensity exercise training is more effective for reducing total abdominal fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat, and abdominal visceral fat (the most dangerous kind) compared to lower intensity workouts.[iii] During high-intensity interval training, you alternate short bursts of very high intensity activity with slower recovery periods, which has the added benefit of letting you fit in an intense workout in a shorter amount of time. (Check out The NO Excuse Workout for one of the best high intensity workouts.)
What else works? Strength training (to build more muscles, which in turn burns more calories) and functional exercises like planks, which activate your core muscles, leading to a higher rate of calorie burn.[iv]
4. You’re Being Exposed to Toxic Obesogens
Obesogens are environmental chemicals that impact the function of your body’s hormones, triggering weight gain and likely also chronic diseases. Obesogens impact body weight and body fat through numerous mechanisms, including:[v]
- Affecting the number of fat cells or the size of fat cells
- Altering hormones that affect appetite, satiety, food preferences and energy metabolism
- Epigenetic changes to DNA, which impact when and how genes are expressed without actually altering your genetic code; epigenetic changes are often passed on to future generations
Obesogens are virtually everywhere, including in your food and food packaging, water, home and personal care products.
3. You’re Eating Inflammatory (i.e. Processed) Foods
Belly fat is linked to inflammation, and the more processed foods you eat, which are also highly inflammatory, the harder it may be for you to shed the excess pounds. Certain foods are decidedly pro-inflammatory (sugar, alcohol, trans fats and many processed foods), others, like many fruits and vegetables, are anti-inflammatory. If you want to lose belly fat (and body weight), focus on foods that fight inflammation, like broccoli, olive oil and blueberries.
As an added bonus, in a study by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, rats that were fed a blueberry-enriched powder had less abdominal fat after 90 days (along with a host of other benefits, like a lower risk of diabetes).[vi]
2. You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Remember how the stress hormone cortisol promotes storage of fat in your belly? When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces excess cortisol as well that can, subsequently, make your belly bigger. Not to mention, cutting your sleep short, even by a mere 80 minutes one night, can make you eat nearly 550 calories more than you ordinarily would the next day — and that’s not going to do your belly any good.
1. Your Age
If you’re in your early or mid-20s, your age probably has nothing to do with your belly fat. But if you’re older than this, it probably does. Your body’s natural production of youth hormones (HGH, or human growth hormone) begins to steadily decline by the time you reach your late 20s or early 30s. Around this same time, you probably find you “can’t eat the way you used to,” and losing weight becomes much harder. As your HGH declines, all of the following occurs:
- Your metabolism slows down
- You pack on adipose tissue (FAT)
- Your organs shrivel
- Your aerobic activity decreases
- Your muscles shrink
A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed what happened when men aged 61-81 received HGH injections for six months … the men has increases in lean body mass … and they lost body fat (among other benefits like improved skin elasticity and blood pressure).[vii] The problem is that the study used synthetic HGH, a prescription-only formula that must be injected into your body — and may cause serious side effects.
So how do you increase your body’s growth hormone naturally? There are a few tricks for doing so, like high-intensity exercise, fasting and sleep. Another option is ThinMist,â„¢ a 100% natural way to safely boost your pituitary gland’s NATURAL release of HGH ‘youth hormones.’â€¨You simply take ThinMistâ„¢ three times each day by spraying it under your tongue, and as the ingredients slowly build up in your system, your body NATURALLY begins releasing more youthful levels of HGH.
If you’ve been struggling to lose stubborn belly fat, this could be the push your body needs to finally let it go.