Reasons for Belly Fat
Every body has its own trouble spot or two. For most of us though, that trouble spot circles us right around the middle and settles into that squishy spare tire or muffin top that we’ve grown to hate so much. The reasons for belly fat actually say a lot about our overall health as well.
As much as we may dislike it, the stomach is one of the first places that fat likes to travel. It’s the first fat to come and the last fat to go, which can be exceptionally frustrating when you’re trying to lose weight and get into those slim jeans.
However, understanding the reasons for belly fat can help you target your own trigger points so that you can eliminate it faster.
Understanding the main reasons for belly fat is the first step to losing it:
While it’s not quite clear why the body wants to migrate the fat to the midsection, scientists and doctors have determined that hormonal imbalances are likely to lead to shifts in fat storage in the belly area. This applies for both men and women.
The cycle increases and repeats itself, making the problem worse as time goes by. It starts off with a hormonal imbalance of the sex steroids which leads to the body shifting more fat to the stomach.
In response to this, the excess weight starts putting more pressure on the cells. This makes the hormonal levels go out of whack even further, which leads to more fat storage around the midsection.
Sugar (or food that turns into sugar) is one of the primary culprits behind setting the hormones off balance if age or other triggers don’t do the work themselves.
A Sedentary Lifestyle
People who lead a more sedentary life are inclined to notice higher levels of belly fat. One of the primary theories behind this is that the sedentary lifestyles wreak the most havoc on the stomach and abdominal muscles.
The stomach will always be inclined to have more fat on it than other parts of the body. When these muscles start to atrophy, the presence of fat becomes more apparent. The atrophy also makes it easier for the body to add additional fat, replacing the muscle with flab.
The best solution for this kind of belly fat is becoming more active. This might be overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start or if you’re already juggling a variety of other tasks.
Surprisingly, belly fat may not be caused from eating the wrong foods or not being active enough. While it is for most people, the fact is that your belly fat may also be contributed to by a nasty stress hormone called cortisol.
Over the past few years, doctors and scientists have been researching this phenomenon. Dr. Carol Shively at Wake Forest University has done extensive studies, comparing the effects of stress and belly fat in different ratios and levels on monkeys put in various stimuli. Her discoveries have demonstrated a strong correlation.
The cortisol not only causes your body to make more fat but it also increases the size of the fat cells within the belly.
While coping with a hormonal imbalance and a sedentary lifestyle requires a more active and fit lifestyle, handling stress requires a more comprehensive approach.
The stress levels themselves have to be reduced or else the body will continue to store cortisol. Sugar consumption makes this storage even worse as does dehydration and lack of sleep.
The solution is not to stress about the belly fat though. Relaxation exercises, breaks, and generally caring for yourself and removing the stress if possible are the most effective ways to handle belly fat caused by stress.
Above all, you shouldn’t be reaching for the cupcakes or the milkshake to comfort yourself. These foods will only make the problem worse.
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“Too Much Sugar Turns Off Gene That Controls The Effects of Sex Steroids: New Research Supports Advance to Eat Complex Carbs and Avoid Sugar,” Child and Family Research Institute, http://www.cfri.ca/PDF/media/CFRI_JCI_Hammond_Nov8.pdf (Nov. 8, 2007).
“Stress Raises Belly Fat, Heart Risks,” Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20090806/stress-ups-belly-fat-heart-risks (2012).