Many of us worry about removing those annoying rolls around the abdomen, especially when summer is around the corner. But belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is more than a simple aesthetic concern. Excessive fat accumulation around the abdomen can significantly affect our health and increase the risk of various chronic diseases.
Understanding the causes behind stubborn belly fat can empower us to make informed lifestyle decisions and take the necessary healthy measures to combat it. We asked the best weight loss clinic in Chicago for some tips and information. Join us as we explore 7 common causes of visceral fat and how to address them effectively.
1. Having a bad diet
We know the pleasure of enjoying a delicious burger, a refreshing soda and the rewarding task of ordering delivery to avoid cooking. But a diet high in processed foods, sugary snacks, and unhealthy fats is a significant cause of abdominal fat. Consuming excess calories, particularly refined carbohydrates and added sugars, which only provide us with a few nutrients of poor quality, leads to weight gain and abdominal fat storage. To combat that, focus on a balanced diet rich in whole-grain, lean protein while minimizing processed and sugary foods.
2. Sedentary lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle, characterized by long hours of sitting and minimal physical activity, contributes to the accumulation of abdominal fat. Regular exercise has many benefits; physical activity burns calories and helps build lean muscle tissue, which increases metabolism and energy expenditure. We recommend incorporating cardio and strength training into your routine to reduce abdominal fat and improve overall health.
3. Hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalances, such as elevated cortisol levels or insulin resistance, have been shown to increase abdominal fat. Chronic stress can lead to the release of cortisol; that hormone causes fat storage in the belly area. Meanwhile, insulin resistance alters the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, resulting in fat accumulation. Manage stress levels through relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation, get enough sleep, and consider consulting a health professional if you suspect hormonal imbalances.
4. Lack of sleep
An inadequate sleeping schedule or poor sleep quality can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance and contribute to belly fat. Sleep deprivation affects the production of hormones like leptin and ghrelin, which regulate appetite and satiety. As a result, sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to experience increased hunger and cravings, leading to overeating and weight gain. Prioritize getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep during the night to support a healthy metabolism.
5. Excessive alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol intake is one of the factors that can sabotage your efforts to maintain a flat belly. Most alcoholic drinks are high in empty calories and cause weight gain, especially around the abdominal region. In addition, the liver prioritizes alcohol metabolism over fat metabolism, making it more challenging to burn fat. Moderation is crucial when it comes to drinking alcohol, so limit your consumption and opt for healthier alternatives, such as consuming it on special occasions and combining it with sugar-free beverages.
Genetics influence how fat is distributed throughout the body, especially around the abdomen. Some people may have an inherited predisposition to carrying more abdominal fat. Although we can’t change our genetic makeup, a healthy lifestyle can help lessen the effects of hereditary factors. To keep belly fat under control, emphasize a balanced diet by prioritizing natural foods, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats of good quality, constant physical exercise, plenty of hydration, and enough sleep.
7. Age and hormonal changes
As we age, hormonal changes occur, including a decline in estrogen levels in women during menopause. That hormonal shift can lead to increased fat storage in the abdominal area. While age-related hormonal changes are inevitable, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes even more crucial now. Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and strength training can help counteract the effects of aging and hormone fluctuations.
Combating belly fat involves addressing a combination of factors, including diet, exercise, hormonal balance, and lifestyle choices. Adopting a balanced approach and making sustainable changes to your daily routine can reduce belly fat and improve your overall health. Remember, consistency and patience are key. A healthcare professional can guide your journey toward a healthier belly and body.