People talk about ‘belly fat’ all the time but, can you say the word ‘belly’, I can’t . I have no idea why, I just have a MAHOOSIVE aversion to it.
Anyway, a little bit of abdominal fat isn’t such a bad thing. It does help to protect our vital organs, after all!
It’s a fine balancing act though as storing too much fat around your tum tum can be dangerous and has been linked to some pretty nasty health problems. We’re talking heart disease, diabetes and even cancer, to name just a few of the things that it may set the scene for. Scary, right?
Some of the culprits are fairly obvious, especially if you’re eating a lot of processed foods and not doing much exercise. There can be some surprising reasons behind tummy fat though and these can come into play even if you think you’re living a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the factors that can make you more likely to store fat in your abdominal area.
Factor #1 – You’re Eating Too Much Sugar and Trans Fats
If you eat a diet that contain a lot of processed sugar, you’ll probably be struggling to shift the tum fat. According to studies, there is a definite link between the two. This can be largely to do with the fructose content in processed sugars. Remember it’s not just Mars Bars that contain these sugars, loads of processed foods do.
Trans fats are another big no-no if you want to avoid belly fat. These are pretty much the worst type of fat you can eat as they promote inflammation and according to studies on animals, they also encourage more fat to be stored on and around your abdomen. Trans fats are things like fast food fats, margarines, prepackaged bakery items etc- ‘Did someone say cake?’
Factor #2 – You’re On a Low Protein Diet
If you want to stay trim, it’s really important to get enough protein in your diet. Protein helps you to feel more satiated and can mean that you consume less calories. Low protein diets are also more likely to result in tummy fat, according to studies. Protein can come from animal or plant sources just aim to get the best quality possible.
Factor #3 – Your Alcohol Intake
You’ve no doubt heard of a “beer belly” and this is something that can affect women too and not just with beer. Depending on how much you drink, it could be the culprit for stubborn tummy fat. Some studies have shown that alcohol can make it harder to burn fat as your body is trying to get rid of the alcohol which in essence is poison and makes it more likely that the extra calories it brings to the party are stored on and around the abdomen. Plus, there’s also the added issue of the alcohol munchies too.
Factor #4 – You Don’t Eat Enough Fibre
If your diet is low in fibre, you can be more likely to store tummy fat. Observational studies show that getting plenty of soluble fibre reduces the chances of this. In one particular study that involved over 1,100 men and women, every extra 10g of soluble fibre led to a 32% decrease in how much tummy fat was stored. This has a lot to do with the fact that low fibre increases your appetite and belly fat. Get in whole fruits and veggies skin on, whole grains not processed grains and nuts & seeds.
Factor #5 – You Have Too Much “Bad” Bacteria in Your Gut
According to research, an imbalance of gut bacteria can have an effect on your weight and how much fat you store on your abdomen. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to have a type of bacteria that can mean that more calories are absorbed from your food. Start looking into gut health to get the balance right of those little blighters, bacteria.
Factor #6 – You’re Scared of Eating Fat – NO NO NO!
Fat has had a bad rep and this can put you off eating it. While it’s true that you don’t need a lot of the unhealthier fats, good fats can help you to lose weight and keep tummy fat to a minimum.
Monounsaturated fats are one of the good fats and are important for satiety. They’ll help you to feel fuller for longer so you’re less likely to make unhealthy food choices that increase your potential for storing belly fat. Get these from Nuts, Avocado, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil (brill makeup remover too), Seeds.
Factor #7 – You’re Stressed
Under a lot of stress? It could be one of the reasons why you’re storing tummy fat. The stress hormone, cortisol, can lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area. Rather than going on your body all over, cortisol often encourages extra calories to be stored as abdominal fat. It can also make you crave sugary, supposed comfort foods, double whammy.
Factor #8 – You Don’t Sleep Well
If you spend a lot of time tossing and turning in the average night or stay up too late, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll store tum fat. Poor sleep is linked to weight gain in general and according to some studies, it also predisposes you to abdominal weight gain in particular.
A large scale study of more than 68,000 women found that those who were sleeping less than 5 hours per night gained a lot more weight compared to those who slept 7 hours or more.
Factor #9 – You Don’t Get Enough Magnesium
Getting enough magnesium in your diet can lower your blood sugar and insulin levels. That’s not too surprising when you consider that this mighty mineral is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in your body! Some of these reactions have an effect on your body’s ability to burn fat so it can have an indirect impact on your weight. Get more magnesium in through MG rich foods (spinach, quinoa, dark choc – yeh -, almonds, cashews, black beans, avocado etc), stress less, remove toxins are just a couple of ways.
Factor #10 – Your Exercise Isn’t Intense Enough
Not all exercise is equal when it comes to busting tummy fat and keeping it off, especially if your workouts aren’t intense enough. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a good option but anything that involves reasonably intense exercise several times per week should help. That doesn’t mean ‘busting a gut’ EVERY day. Our bodies also need a mix of strength, relaxation, elongation as well as the high intensity boost.
Find your balance with everything above and help to reduce or keep the tum tum away.