But then you notice that you are just not losing those last few inches of belly fat. Those last few inches which are preventing you from having washboard abs and posting half naked pictures of yourself in social media.
It’s the year 2019. Like the previous years, you make resolutions again to lose weight. You start out tough,go to the gym every day, exercise vigorously, until you’re covered in sweat, eat right, avoid sugary sweets and sodas. You eat salads with just salt and pepper, and drink your protein shakes. This goes on for a few months. You’re feeling really good about yourself and you tell everybody about it too.
Here’s a wake up call. Belly fat is not just the fat present below the skin, like in other areas. Belly fat also includes the visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat present around the abdominal organs to act as a cushion for them. Thin people, the ones with washboard abs have it too. So, to lose belly fat, it requires a lot more effort than losing fat everywhere else, where the fat is just skin-deep. Sometimes, it might not even be your fault as to why you’re not losing it.
This article is here to tell you all the reasons that you might not be losing your belly fat and the things you can do to remedy that. Without further ado, let’s get to the top six reason why you are not losing your belly fat!
1.Lack of activity
You are working out, well and good, hitting your weekly targets for the amount of time to be spent in the gym or working out wherever you are. You put yourself on a diet and you follow it rigorously too. Then comes a hiccup in the form of a festival or wedding, where you undoubtedly need to eat whatever you’ve been avoiding. So you gorge on food that you’ve secretly been missing, and eat so much that you’re searching for the proverbial snake to tie your bursting stomach together like Ganesha. You go home, and you sleep like a well fed baby. Morning comes, and you feel bloated. You don’t go the gym that day. A “rest day”, you call it. Then you don’t go the next day as you don’t feel like going that day either. Soon, the rest day becomes a rest week and then a rest month, and then before you know it, it’s 20-effing-19. And you haven’t lost any weight, but might have gained some too. Your clothes seem to have shrunk is what you think. But the truth is that you have gained inches around your belly.
Exercise is of paramount importance to lose those inches from your waist. And the right kind of exercise is important too. Doing only cardio will not help you lose those inches, but you need to mix it up. Throw in some weight training. Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is the new found mantra that almost everybody swears by, and with good reason. Doing HIIT will make you blast fat all over the place and lose inches fast.
So stay active and do the right kind of exercise to lose inches of pudge around your stomach bulge.
2.Meal times and diet
Skipping breakfast because you’ll get late for wherever you have to go in the morning? It turns out that skipping breakfast or meals is not good as it makes you gain weight instead. Eating a healthy breakfast boosts your metabolism levels and keeps you energised until lunch. Skipping breakfast might also lead to you overindulging during lunch, which again leads to more intake than what is being burnt, leading to more stomach fat.
Eating close to your bedtime is also not good as it increases your blood sugar and insulin levels, which just gets stored up as fat as you’re asleep and not doing anything to burn the sugar released. Eat at least 3 hours before sleeping for the best results.
And what you eat is important too! Eating too many processed foods like jams, spreads, bread, chips and soda is also not good as it has a high sugar content which is just converted to fat. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables and meals cooked with whole grains have a much lower sugar content. Plus they have fibre, which helps you to feel full and not bloated. They also contain anti-oxidants which help in reducing the ill effects of the processed foods on our body.
And for those who like to drink beer with every night time meal, or more than 3-4 times a week, STOP. Ever heard of a beer belly? Yeah, that’s what you have. And you wonder why you cannot lose those inches (shaking my head in exasperation). Drink alcohol in moderation.
Too much work? Not enough sleep? Forcing yourself to stay up to finish those reports for a boss who is soundly sleeping at that time? Blame your lack of sleep for not being able to reduce those last few inches of your belly.
Have you seen the movie The Intern? There’s a scene in that where Anne Hathaway’s character is speaking to her mother who says that people who sleep for 5 hours or less were more likely to gain weight than those who slept for 7 hours. And Anne Hathaway’s character understandably freaks out.
You need sleep to reduce your weight. It’s called your beauty sleep for a reason! Not only will you lose weight, but you’ll feel better too! More rested, more peaceful. Less stressed.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, stress and anxiety screws up your life like nothing before. And yes, stress also is preventing you from losing those inches of blubber around your midline. Why, you ask? Stress increases the amount of cortisol released in the body. Now cortisol is an ass. It increases the amount of fat in your body by increasing the amount of fat stored in each cell. Kinda like a punch to your gut after being kicked in the crotch.
Stress also makes each person react to it differently. Ever heard of stress eating? Yeah. That’s another reason you might not be losing your weight. You feel stressed, so you eat something, usually unhealthy, to make yourself feel better. Then you feel guilty that you ate something unhealthy, so you feel more stressed. And you eat something unhealthy again. It’s a vicious cycle.
Now, what can you do battle stress? Meditation, physical activity, socialising, counselling. Sex is a great stress buster as it releases the “feel good” hormones like endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine, plus you get some physical activity too! Unless you’re one of those people who lets the other person do all the work. Don’t be that person. Get off your butt and get to pleasing your SO and yourself!
Low thyroid levels can cause the increased deposition of fat around your midline despite you exercising. It lowers your metabolism levels, thus converting whatever you eat into fat and storing it. It also makes you feel sluggish despite eating an energy rich meal. Getting your thyroid levels checked regularly is a good way to prevent hypothyroidism.
Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) also tend to have high testosterone levels, which can prevent the action of insulin on your body. If insulin is prevented from acting, then whatever you eat is going to be converted into fat and stored. So get yourself checked at the hospital on a regular basis to screen for these diseases and treat them as early as possible.
Eating disorders like bulimia can also lead to weight gain. A person with bulimia eats thousands of calories in one sitting and then purges the meal from their body by vomiting or using laxatives. This might halt absorption, but the body starts absorbing the food minutes after ingestion.
6.Age and genetics
You must have seen your family members grow older, and with age, grow wider. This is because as we grow older, our metabolism slows down. But we don’t reduce our quantity of our food intake. So this excess is taken up and converted into fat. And it is a double blow to women because of menopause. During menopause, the hormone levels of oestrogen and progesterone go down, but testosterone levels go down slower. The high testosterone levels (compared to the other hormones) causes’ insulin resistance, which leads to weight gain.
Another factor is that you’re “apple” shaped. Yes, there’s something like this. It’s when you have more fat in your midsection, i.e. your stomach and waist, than your hips and thighs. This is a genetic predisposition (at last, something that you have no control over), and it just makes it tougher to lose weight, but doesn’t make it impossible.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Now that I’ve told you all about the six main reasons that you’re not losing belly fat, what are you going to do? Close this tab and continue watching the TV series that you’ve been binging with the tub of ice cream by your side? Or are you going to do something about it and lose those extra inches? Get the drool-worthy body that you’ve always dreamed about? So what are you waiting for?! Get up! Throw all those unhealthy foods in the dustbin, and no, you may not finish them off all at once cause they’re going to go waste. Throw them! Sleep more! Meditate! Meet your friends, meet your SO. Live!
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