According to Doctors, the following factors commonly contribute to increased belly fat - and can slip under your radar.
There are several types of fat, and abdominal fat is the most hazardous. This type of fat, also known as visceral fat (click to read more on visceral fat), is stored deep beneath the muscle in your core, around important organs like the liver and intestines.
Visceral fat is found deep in the body, often snaked around vital organs.
Unlike subcutaneous fat (fat in your thighs, for example), abdominal fat is hidden—you might be slim and still have harmful belly fat. "Belly fat is growing more widespread among U.S. adults," says James de Lemos, M.D., "despite obesity rates in the United States stabilising slightly in recent years following decades of growth." "Depending on where fat is deposited in the body, two persons who weigh the same could have significantly different risks of acquiring cardiovascular disease and diabetes."
Here are five common habits that are causing you to gain visceral fat without you realising it.
Poor Sleep Can Give You a Pot Belly
Proper sleep is absolutely vital to fat loss. How much good sleep are you getting?
Not getting enough sleep not only makes you grumpy the next day, but it also encourages fat to build up around your abdominal organs. According to one study, obtaining less than five hours of sleep per night is linked to increasing abdominal fat. Kristen G. Hairston, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism, adds, "We place a lot of faith in diet." "However, this research raises some intriguing questions regarding how we live. Other than daily food choices, we may need to start looking at other habits that are contributing to the obesity epidemic in younger age groups."
Read More on sleep and weight loss: How getting just 1.2 extra hours of sleep helped these women eat 500 fewer calories per day.
Your Visceral Fat Is Increasing Due To Stress
According to studies, stress is highly connected to abdominal obesity, even in otherwise slim persons. "Everyone is exposed to stress," explains Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., "but some people produce more cortisol than others, and some people secrete cortisol each time they confront the same stressor." "It’s been demonstrated that consistently secreting cortisol in response to the same stressors is linked to increased visceral fat."
A Eureka Moment
Did you know? Anyone that is living rent free in your head and causes you persistent, repeated levels of high stress is effectively making you fatter.
Think about this for a minute. Imagine you have an unresolved conflict with someone at work that is causing you extreme stress. Every time you engage with this negative person and walk away upset, they are actually making you fatter, while they are driving you crazy in all the usual ways. Now that you know this, take a look around your life. How many people or situations regularity and repeatedly cause you this level of stress? Who is regularity f*cking with you? Do you really want these people to have the power over you to make your ass fatter? It might be time to reevaluate the b*tches in your life and start pruning the social tree.
You are Snacking Constantly
How often are you reaching for a snack? Do you almost always have food going?
Constant snacking has been linked to an increase in belly fat, particularly with high-fat and high-sugar diets. "High-fat and high-sugar snacks account for up to 27% of calories consumed by American children," says Dr. Mireille Serlie of the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam. "Our research investigates whether eating frequently and snacking, as opposed to eating fewer substantial meals, leads to increased abdominal fat... our findings show that frequent eating, rather than fewer large meals, contributes to fatty liver, independent of body weight growth. These findings show that reducing snacking and encouraging three balanced meals per day may reduce the prevalence of NAFLD [non-alcoholic fatty liver disease] in the long run."
If snacking or even late night eating (if you need help to stop late night eating check out Plan here) is something that you struggle with, and traditional restrictive diets have not worked, you can consider Intermittent Fasting. Fasting has become a popular alternative recently, partly because it shifts the focus from what you are allowed to eat to when you are allowed to eat it. There is no need to restrict your food choices - you can eat whatever you want. There is also no ingredient tracking or need to weigh out portions etc. The Fasting Plan is a powerful weight loss system when followed properly, and it often feels like a breath of fresh air compared to traditional diets. You can check out the Plan here.
Yes, Beer Causes You to Have a Beer Belly.
The bottom line is that alcohol causes weight gain. Enjoy in moderation.
In terms of calories and fat-burning, excessive alcohol use is connected to an increase in visceral fat. "Too many calories of any kind, whether they come from alcohol or sweet foods or just from consuming too much food," says Daniel Allan, MD. "Because an average beer can contain more than 150 calories, the calories (and the belly) quickly add up. When you drink beer, your liver will preferentially burn alcohol rather than fat, interfering with fat burning."
Read More: How to get rid of a Beer (or Wine) Belly.
To Fight Belly Fat, Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight is the best way to reduce visceral fat.
Losing weight can help you lose visceral fat if you're overweight or obese. "There is no such thing as a magic formula - you must lose weight." Dr. Allan agrees. "It requires a persistent commitment to a well-balanced diet and proper portion sizes, as well as frequent physical activity - following a Meal Plan will help people take control of their food intakes.
Just 10 Minutes of Exercise per day can reduce Body Fat
Are you up to move for 10 minutes a day? Want to try a beginner level workout that will help reduce excess body fat and get you toned up? Want to take that first step back towards your fitness?
Crunches, sit-ups, and planks will not speed up the process beyond the calories burned during that activity. The absolute best way to reduce belly fat is by combining strength and cardio exercise - exactly like our 12 Minute HIIT Workout series that requires just 12 minutes of movement per day. The level of intensity is perfect if it’s been years or even decades since you last exercised. Text us for free at 1-775-254-9738, and we will send you these workouts when they drop for free. You can also find the series and latest workouts in our blog section here.
Check out this full-body, 12 Minute HIIT Workout with step by step instructions here.
The good news is that when you lose weight, you'll probably see it first in your stomach, because visceral fat breaks down more quickly than other types of body fat."Let us be your daily workout coach for just 12 minutes and see how quickly we can start to reduce your belly fat.