Visceral Fat also known as Belly fat seems to be the hardest to lose for most women. Genetics, hormones, and age all play a factor into the belly fat dilemma, but there are a few things that could factor into the dilemma that is not related to pre-disposition.
1) You are eating too many processed foods: This includes refined grains, refined sugars, and desserts. All of these are associated with increased inflammation in our bodies. Since increased inflammation is associated with belly fat eating these foods can increase your chances of storing visceral fat. Opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and any food in its natural state as these all contain anti-oxidants which act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
2) You are eating the wrong fats: Research suggests that a high intake of saturated fats is correlated to high visceral fat where monounsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Choose to eat more good fats (salmon, sunflower seeds, olive oil and avocado) and cut back on your other fats (meats, dairy, fried foods).
3) Stress: The stress hormone, cortisol, has the ability to enlarge your fat cells. Research also shows that higher levels of cortisol has been linked to more visceral fats. It also doesn't help that when stress occurs, we tend to reach for high calorie comfort food.
4) You don't get enough sleep: A 16 year old study of almost 70,000 women found that less sleep (less than 5 hours) correlates to increased weight gain. The study shows that those who slept 5 hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 25 or more pounds per year than those who slept 7 or more hours.