Belly fat is a problem area for many of us. Despite our efforts and the hours we spend in the gym, losing weight can be difficult among us.
For many women, weight gain comes with age. As your metabolism slows down and your body doesn’t burn as many calories, the pounds may begin to pile on. In addition to age, various factors play a role. Here’s what you need to know about belly fat development and how to lose it.
The Science Behind Belly Fat
Belly fat is “visceral fat” or “eye fat”—refers to the layer of fat that surrounds the internal organs of the abdomen. Being overweight is thought to be associated with heart disease and the metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes and obesity. Fat cells release chemicals that alter our metabolism.
For example, compared to the fat in your thighs, visceral fat cells are more active because they are a direct source of nutrients for the internal organs. Dr. Mike Hoaglin, MD, DrHouse medical director, explains. They release more inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which make it harder to lose weight and lower blood sugar, especially when there are too many.
Because the abdomen is so close to the liver, it constantly sends fat to the liver and then into the blood, which in turn raises cholesterol and general markers of inflammation in the body. Excess visceral fat also inhibits beneficial hormones like adiponectin, which normally help increase fat burning and lower blood sugar.
What causes belly fat in women?
Stress can also contribute to the distribution of abdominal fat, Dr. Hoaglin adds. Stress triggers flight or flight hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol makes our bodies hold on to fat and sugar even more, and belly fat is the most active and has first dibs. Genetics also play a special role, especially in women, because women tend to store visceral fat.
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“The main causes of abdominal obesity are poor nutrition, primarily too much sugar, alcohol and trans fats, as well as a lack of protein,” he says. Dr. Mir Ali, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of the MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “Lack of activity also plays a major role. Other factors include lack of sleep and genetics.”
How do you know if you have too much belly fat?
A good screening tool for excess abdominal fat is waist circumference. Better than BMI for this purpose.
While standing, place the tape measure over your belly button, around your torso, and over your hip bones. Make sure the tape is flat on the ground. Exhale, pull the tape well, but do not press on the skin. Overall, cardiovascular and metabolic risks increase with a waist size greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, Dr. Hoaglin states.
How to get rid of excess belly fat
As much as we want to aim for a place to lose weight, weight loss doesn’t happen like that.
“Unfortunately, you can’t lose weight in certain areas like the belly,” says Dr. There are. “However, overall weight loss leads to a reduction in truncal obesity.”
1. Limit refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour raise insulin levels, which promotes more fat inflammation and fat retention and accumulation.
Talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan, Dr. Hoaglin suggests. A doctor may recommend foods with a low glycemic index. You may even be told to start a ketogenic diet, which emphasizes healthy fats and proteins and significantly reduces carbohydrates.
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2. Eat foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar
Changing your eating habits and lifestyle is the most effective way to lose belly fat.
A diet high in fiber and protein, and low in sugar, is a great place to start, says Dr. There are states. Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption is also very important.
3. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly
Improving your sleeping habits and regular exercise can lead to positive belly fat reduction, says Dr. There are.
4. Reduce stress
Stress is another important factor. Chronic stress can leave our bodies full of the stress hormone cortisol, insulin resistance, and preferential distribution of belly fat. Dr. Lydia Alexander, MDEnara’s Chief Medical Officer & Vice President of the Association for Obesity Medicine, explains.
Mindfulness training, including meditation practices, can be helpful in reducing belly fat.
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Dr. Mike Hoaglin, DrHouse Medical Director
Mir Ali, MD, bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California
Dr. Lydia Alexander, Chief Medical Officer of Enara and Vice President of the Obesity Society