When you set out to live a healthier, better life, part of your goal was to shed that belly fat that has plagued you all these years. However, try as you may, it sticks around like a bad habit. While extra belly fat is a deterrent to your self-confidence, it comes with an array of serious health dangers as well. From increased risk for cancer to heart disease to diabetes, unwanted belly bulge puts your life at risk every day.
If you’ve been struggling to kiss it goodbye, it may be for one of these five reasons.
Reason #1: Your Mediocre Workout
As long as you can remember, medical experts have recommended you get at least 30 minutes of exercise a few days a week. And for good reason. Much of the industrialized world has cut movement out of their lives in many ways, making it necessary to hit the gym in order to stay fit. However, if you think 30 minutes of light jogging on the treadmill three days a week is going to get rid of that belly fat, think again. To burn the flab, you’ll need to add strength training to your routine. Doing this will add muscle to your frame, which will help burn more pounds of fat. It will also put your muscles where they belong, which helps your belly look flatter.
Reason #2: Your Fork
Getting rid of belly fat can’t only be done in the gym. It requires a lifestyle change that includes being very cautious of what you put in your mouth. That means cutting out the processed foods, saturated fats, and whatever else is likely to cause fat to cling to your midsection. In case you’re curious, that includes too much healthy food also. Remember: everything has calories, and if your body doesn’t use it, it’s got to go somewhere, and your waistline is a likely candidate. But your fork isn’t the only thing that matters. Not drinking enough water is a sure recipe for belly fat. After all, there’s a reason a pudgy front is called a beer belly.
Reason #3: Your Stress Levels
When you feel stressed, it’s because something in your life is going on and you simply can’t let go of it until it’s resolved. Unfortunately, when you don’t let go of stress, fat doesn’t let go of you. It’s due to the chemical cortisol, which is released by your body when you’re facing stress. Harmless as a hormone may seem, this one kicks your appetite into gear and may even make it harder for your body to shed fat. So relax and help your waistline slim down.
Reason #4: Your Sleep Habits
Going to sleep is not exciting. Doing it feels like you’re doing nothing. But when you’re in the battle against the belly bulge, getting quality sleep every night is key. How important is it? When researchers concluded 16 years of research into the health of nearly 70,000 women, they saw that the women who slept five or fewer hours every night were at a 30-percent increased risk for gaining 30 pounds than those who got seven hours of shuteye on a nightly basis.
Reason #5: You’re Aging
This one is the hardest to accept, because there is nothing you can do to avoid getting older. With age, your metabolism drops, making it harder to burn off calories while at rest, but your appetite may not take a plunge. Making weight gain even more likely is the drop in estrogen and progesterone in women and testosterone in men. But don’t think aging means you have to simply accept weight gain.
By sleeping well, eating healthily, working out right, and cutting out stress, you can beat the odds and lose the belly fat that has taunted you, no matter your age.