Belly fat can accumulate due to many different reasons:
Genetics: Where you store fat can generally be linked to your genes or your sex; males are more likely to store fat around the stomach. But don’t use this as an excuse, just because either (or both) your parents have a big belly, it doesn’t mean you are destined to. If you follow the same path as them and make poor lifestyle choices then hell yeah you will end up looking the same. But if you eat healthily and exercise regularly there is no reason why you cannot achieve that much desired slim mid-section.
Poor Diet: Stating the obvious here, but if your diet consists of processed, fatty or sugary foods or if you regularly consume too many calories then you will likely carry some extra timber in the belly area. Change to eating high quality natural foods and keep your unhealthy foods to 1-2 times per week and you should be well on the road to losing that belly fat. Your diet should always be your starting point went it comes to weigh loss.
Stress: When you are chronically stressed your body will resist weight loss. As part of the stress response your body reacts less to insulin as it wants your blood sugar levels to be high so that sugar can be used as turbo fuel in case you need to fight someone or run away from something. Another concern over stress is the effect it has on your hormones. Adrenaline and a few of its friends are released to pep you up and get you ready for action and then cortisol is released to tell the body that the stress has passed and to stop producing the fight or flight hormones. Cortisol tends to take fat from healthier areas of the body and move it to your abdomen which has more cortisol receptors. In doing this it turns once–healthy peripheral fat into unhealthy visceral fat (the fat in your abdomen that surrounds your organs) This belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. The more belly fat you have, the more active cortisol will be converted by these enzymes. To overcome the problem of stress derailing your fat loss gains, you must find some coping strategies for your stress levels. Practise breathing exercises, regular yoga and meditation all of which have a positive effect on lowering the stress response in the body and ultimately helping you shift that stubborn body fat. Where possible eliminate the stressors altogether.
Alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol will almost certainly result in you having the dreaded beer belly (it doesn’t have to beer you drink to get one of these). When you drink alcohol your liver burns alcohol rather than fat. And this can occur for up to 12 hours after having an alcoholic drink. So just think every glass of wine that you have is practically saying to your body: “ok, don’t you burn any fat for a while, lets run on alcohol.” The next big problem with alcohol and belly fat is the large number of calories that are in alcoholic drinks; drinking two or three alcoholic drinks can really tip you over your total calorie consumption for the day. Your body will store these extra calories as fat. Finally, don’t forget that for most, will power goes out the window when you drink alcohol.
Sleep: This often an overlooked area when it comes to shifting belly fat. Poor sleeping patterns will almost certainly cause you to store fat in your belly area (not to mention everywhere else). Two hormones: ghrelin and leptin, both influence your appetite. Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, stimulates appetite. The higher the ghrelin level, the hungrier you feel. Leptin lets your stomach know when you are full. Lack of sleep causes a rise in your ghrelin levels (signaling hunger) and lowers your leptin levels, dulling the signal telling you you’re full. Sleep quality turns out to be an important factor in the sleep-weight equation, too. Most of the calories you burn during sleep take place in the REM state (rapid eye movement) when your brain is most active. Those of you who have interrupted sleep don’t spend enough time in that phase. Less Rem sleep means fewer calories burned – plus affected hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism.
Being inactive / having no muscles: Someone who doesn’t burn enough calories through physical activity is going to be at a much greater risk of storing the calories they consume as belly fat. Add to that the loss of muscles (a key component to increasing metabolism) and you are priming your body to be a fat storing machine.
So there you have it; our take on the question that everyone wants answered – how to burn belly fat (oh and not one sit up in sight!).