When it comes to looking after our bodies, one of the first thing we notice when a change needs to happen is when our waistline expands. Does it seem harder to lose weight around our bellies for a reason?
1) You’re Getting Older
As you get older, your body changes how it gains and loses weight. Both men and women experience a declining metabolic rate, or the number of calories the body needs to function normally. On top of that, women have to deal with menopause. “If women gain weight after menopause, it’s more likely to be in their bellies,” says Michael Jensen, MD. But it can be helped!2) You’re Doing the Wrong Workout
A daily run or Spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone won’t do much for your waist. “You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training,” says Sangeeta Kashyap, MD, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. “Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle,” says Kate Patton, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic.3) You’re eating too many processed foodsRefined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat, Patton says.
4) You’re Eating the Wrong Fats
The body doesn’t react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat (the kind in meat and dairy) to increased visceral fat, says Patton. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (the kind in olive oil and avocados) and specific types of polyunsaturated fats (mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good.
5) Your Workout Isn’t Challenging Enough
To banish stubborn belly fat, you have to ramp up your workouts. In a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, people who completed a high-intensity workout regimen lost more belly fat than those who followed a low-intensity plan.
6) You’re Stressed
Tight deadlines, bills, your kids—whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. It’s also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells.
7) You’re Skimping on Sleep
If you’re among those who sleep less than six hours a night, here’s one simple way to whittle your waistline: catch more Zs. A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept 7 hours. The National Institutes of Health suggest adults sleep seven to eight hours a night.
8) You’re Unmotivated
Are you committed to the work needed to lose belly fat? “Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training,” Dr. Kashyap says. “If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and lose it.”
Read the full post and a few other reasons why you might not be getting the results you expect.