For many people- especially women- belly fat seems to be the most stubborn. Even after you’ve spent months decreasing your caloric intake, losing pounds, and even slimming your butt, arms, face, and legs- your belly fat just holds on tight. That leads you to question everyone you know, “why can’t I lose belly fat?”
Why Can’t I Lose Belly Fat?
The truth is that everything from genetics to age can cause your belly fat to cling to you- but the biggest culprit is the wonderful process of evolution. Your body naturally sends fat to your waistline so that the stored energy can be close to the vital organs in case they ever need it. In addition, women need to have plenty of extra energy stores when it comes to making babies.
In addition to all of that- the things that you are eating and the effects they have on your body determines the fat that you burn and the fat that sticks. Here are a few common diet mistakes that could be keeping you from losing that belly fat once and for all.
You’re not getting enough healthy fats in your diet
Something you must realize is that in order to burn fat, you’ve also got to eat some fat as well. However, if you choose the wrong types of fat, it could keep you from losing that stubborn belly fat. One study on a group of healthy weight individuals revealed that those who consumed and extra 750 calories from saturated fats over a 2-month period gained more abdominal fat than those who chose polyunsaturated fats as well.
According to the researchers, a diet that is high in saturated fats actually activate genes responsible for belly fat storage. If you want to increase your consumption of polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3s, you’ll want to fill up on fish such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna twice weekly.
You’re not getting much- if any- breakfast and/or lunch
You can keep from gaining any additional belly fat by spreading out your caloric intake over the course of the day. Ideally, you should be having small meals every 4 to 5 hours. According to the research, the cells in your body become more insulin resistant at night, so when you consume a large meal at night, your blood glucose levels spike higher than at lunch time. Over a period of time, this means that you have increased inflammation, higher levels of insulin, and belly fat.
You eat lots of refined carbs
By simply switching out refined carbs that cause your glucose levels to spike for whole foods packed with fiber, you can banish that belly fat for good. This is because if your diet is high in sugar, it causes your pancreas to produce more insulin, which causes fat to be stored around your waistline- even if you’re not genetically predisposed to gaining weight in your abdomen. In addition, high sugar consumption has been linked to an increase in cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone that causes belly fat and inflammation.
Finally, the fiber in unrefined carbs can put a damper on your weight loss goals. One study revealed that those who increased their daily consumption of soluble fiber by only 10 grams were able to reduce their belly fat by just under 4% over a period of 5 years. According to the experts, the average American is only consuming around 14-15 grams of fiber daily. In order to lose weight and increase overall health, you’ll need to get getting at least 25 grams/day.
When you drink alcohol, you tend to overdo it
Your body metabolizes alcohol differently than it does food. It causes the entire digestive process to shut down so that it can be detoxed by your liver, which causes fatty acids to be produced and your body to go into overload. Once the digestion process is turned back on, your body starts to store food calories as belly fat.
With that in mind, one study did suggest that non-drinkers carry more belly fat than those who drink. However, research also revealed that those who had 4 or more drinks in one sitting ended up with more belly fat than those who had only 1 drink per sitting. So, you really don’t have to give up your happy hour in order to burn that belly fat- but when you do need to unwind, avoid drinking too much.
You’re not getting enough antioxidants in your diet
Inflammation within your body causes fat to be stored around your waistline. One of the best ways that you can put a stop to that inflammation and belly fat accumulation is to ensure that your diet is packed with fruits and veggies that are loaded with antioxidants.
Belly fat is the most stubborn fat of all. Sometimes, it seems that all hope is lost- you lose weight everywhere but around your midsection. However, there are a few habits that are keeping you asking, “why can’t I lose belly fat?” and when you take some steps to change these habits, you’ll see yourself slim down quickly.