Many women find that when they lose their baby weight, a stubborn area of belly fat remains. And it's not just new moms that have this 'spare tire' hanging around; it's common in women who are approaching the menopause because of hormonal changes. And younger women may find that they're stuck with stubborn belly fat even though they're working out. It's frustrating, and can make us feel out of shape. Whatever age you are, there are many different reasons why you may have belly fat - and here's what you can do about it …
Refined sugar and other processed foods could be the culprit that's causing your belly fat to hang around. They cause inflammation in the body - and that leads to belly fat. Try cutting processed foods out of your diet, and replacing it with home-cooled food from simple, unprocessed ingredients. You'll be healthier all round!
Even though you're working out, you may not be doing the right kind of exercise to bust that belly fat. Because it's so stubborn you'll need to go for a high-intensity workout to persuade it to shift. High intensity means giving it your all, taking a brief break to recover, then doing the same thing. It may be hard going, but it's a good way to wave goodbye to that belly fat.
Who would have thought that being short on shuteye would give you a belly? But if you're not getting enough sleep, you have a greater tendency to gain weight. This is because you turn to fatty and sugary foods to give you a boost, and don't have the energy to take exercise. Work on improving your sleep habits and making sure you get enough sleep every night.
We need a certain amount of fat in our diet, but it has to be the right kind. Reduce your intake of saturated fats like the ones in meat and dairy, which zero in on your belly and hang around. Good fats, on the other hand, are found in fatty fish, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Don't overdo it though - too much fat is still fat!
Stress is bad news for your belly fat for several reasons. It makes you produce more cortisol, which can up your fat levels. Plus you're more likely to eat unhealthy, fatty foods when you're stressed. Try to adjust your lifestyle so that you're less stressed, and manage the stress that you do have.
'Apple-shaped' people tend to carry weight around their middle, so if you're built that way you may have a bit of a struggle shifting that belly fat. But you're not stuck with it; you'll just have to make that bit more effort to get rid of it. Keep at your exercise regime, eat the right foods, and you'll get there.
Belly fat can also be caused by hormonal problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This gives you excess levels of testosterone, which makes losing weight more difficult. And you'll usually find that the extra weight is around your middle. If nothing is working to shift your belly fat, you may need your hormones checked, so a visit to your doctor is worthwhile.
So you can shift that belly fat - go for it!