Losing belly fat isn’t easy and a lot of people tackle the task completely wrong. It would be wonderful if we could wish away fat with the snap of a finger, but it just doesn’t work that way.
Everyone wants that sleek slim look of a well-toned tummy. But, the most popular area to gain weight is the belly and it’s also the hardest place to lose fat. This can lead to a lot of frustration which causes people to loose hope, give up on the task and just accept having a big belly.
This happens because peoplw aren’t using the right methods to lose weight. In this post we break down why losing the weight is so difficult, tips to keep in mind when starting to cut it back and how not to put it on in the first place. Let’s start with why it is so hard to lose that loathed belly fat!
Why Losing Belly Fat Is So Hard:
Your body burns fat through two ways: Lipolysis and Fatty acid Oxidation. Lipolysis is when your body releases energy from your fat stores into blood. Oxidation is when your cells take those molecules and use them as fuel.
Lipolysis gets triggered by chemicals called catecholamines, adrenaline is one of them. Once this chemical gets in your blood it attaches to your fat cells forcing them to release those fat stores.
When the fat stores get released they are used as fuel for your body to burn off.
So what makes belly fat cells harder to lose than other fat cells?
Your fat cells have receptor sites in them for catecholamines, but not all of them are alike. There are alpha-2 and beta-3 receptors: Betas will accelerate the act of lipolysis while the alphas will hinder it. The fat cells that have more alpha-2’s in it will be harder to burn off than the ones that have beta-3 receptors. That’s why you tend to notice that it’s easier to lose weight in areas such as your shoulders, face, arms and legs because those have the beta-3 fat cells while areas such as your belly, thighs and hips have more alpha-2 receptors in the fat cells.
Types of body fat
There are three types of body fat that you may have to deal with when it comes to weight lose goals.
Visceral Fat: There is a large membrane in your body called the omentum and its job is to protect your organs. Fat likes to deposit in this area and it makes up the large part of your abdominal fat. This is your belly fat that you are dying to get rid of and can only be removed through diet and exercise.
Subcutaneous Fat: This is the body fat that resides on your hips, thighs and buttocks.
Intramuscular Fat: This fat is found inside the abdominal muscles, which is not a common area to gain weight in.
How The Metabolism Functions:
Metabolism is the chemical reaction that converts the fuel in your body’s cells to energy. That is how our body gets the energy it needs to complete tasks. Proteins in our body control the chemical reactions of metabolism in order to keep ours cells working properly.
When we eat we take in energy from the food in the form of sugar and then the body breaks down the sugar and releases energy. The energy is our body’s fuel.
All the food and drinks consumed in a day will be burned through metabolism. Whether you have a fast or slow metabolism is dependant on how much you exercise and whether or not your diet is out of control.
Age that belly fat starts to add up
After the age of 30 your metabolism takes a bit of a nosedive, which can affect weight loss. In your 20’s you may have noticed that you could eat virtually anything and as long as you hit the gym you never gained a pound. Then you hit your 30’s and can’t seem to figure out what changed. When you’re a young woman estrogen forces your body to conserve fat to prepare for pregnancy. As your estrogen levels drop, as you get older, that fat typically starts to settle around your belly.
Both men and women suffer from a decline in metabolic rate. Women deal with menopause while men lose testosterone and it all adds up to gaining more belly fat.
Weight gain in men and women
It’s true. Women generally always have more body fat than men do and typically it is harder for a woman to lose belly fat than it is for a man.
The reason for that is body fat content in women is 25% whereas men is 15%. Women require less calories than men so if you are a women eating above your calorie intake you are likely to gain more weight.
Types Of Foods And Drinks That Create Belly Fat
How food interacts with the gut
When you eat bad foods such as saturated fats, alcohol, junk food and refined grains it becomes a challenge to your digestive system. The food is harder to break down and it throws your belly out of whack. Not only are you causing inflammation in your belly you are also gaining belly fat. Below are some foods and drinks to avoid:
- Alcohol- Studies have shown that while drinking alcohol you are more likely to eat a lot more. Beer is associated with abdominal fat, so if you are going to drink choose clear liquors or wine. Avoid soda and sugary mixes because they are packed with calories.
- Refined Grains-Food such as crackers, chips or white bread cause inflammation. If you eat foods that cause inflammation it hinders your ability to lose fat.
- Saturated Fats- Too much saturated fats such as meat and dairy can cause inflammation. There are many good fats that you can have such as: avocados, olive oil, walnuts, and salmon.
Are You Doing The Wrong Exercise?
You may already be exercising and wondering why you are not losing that belly fat. Chances are you have been working out the wrong way.
Cardio workouts are not what’s going to burn the belly fat, it’s so much more than that. You have to workout a certain way to beat belly fat. You need a combination of cardiovascular training and weights to burn fat properly. Well-trained muscles burn more body fat. If you have more muscle your body will naturally burn calories throughout the day. High-intensity interval training is best for any cardio workout and that means doing high intensity intervals with low intensity breaks throughout your 20-30 minutes of cardio exercise.
Believe it or not, you can do all the crunches you want and it won’t make a difference with belly fat. Strengthening your core however will make all the difference in the world. Do exercises that work the core, (abs, pelvic, back, obliques) they use more muscles and you burn more calories. The plank is a great exercise that will do all that and you get the extra benefit of it working your butt, leg and arm muscles.
How Stress and Sleep Can Have An Effect
If you live a stressful life it can have a huge impact on your body’s ability to lose fat. It’s partly due to the fact that many people eat fatty foods when they are stressed but also our body releases cortisol when we become stressed which actually increases the amount of fat your body will keep stored. If your body isn’t releasing the fat to burn you won’t lose any weight.
Sleeping is very important for our body’s to function properly. If you sleep less than six hours a night it can cause you to gain weight or prevent you from losing weight. By sleeping more you can reduce the size of your waistline. People who sleep less than six hours a night are more likely to gain 30 or more pounds. It’s recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Quick Tips To Avoid Putting On The Belly Fat In The First Place
- Avoid drinking and eating unnecessary calories. Junk food and alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
- Exercise regularly and make sure it’s high-intensity cardio with weight training.
- Eat whole grains to replace refined grains such as white bread and pasta.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; they will aid you in preventing inflammation.
- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Avoid stress. Meditation is a good way of releasing yourself from a stressful mind.
It’s really as simple as that. By combining all these things into a routine and pairing it with adequate exercise and a proper nutrition you will begin to lose that unwanted belly fat.