For many women, having fat in the abdomen can be due to age. As they approach menopause, their bellies tend to accumulate fat that’s hard to lose with diet and exercise only.
A big belly can diminish a woman’s appearance, and while it might have been trendy to be big back then, these days, a big belly in a woman isn’t en vogue.
Why? Because most women are hitting the gym, so they have toned bodies. In addition, the risks of belly fat go beyond appearance and confidence.
What is Belly Fat?
Belly fat is an excess layer of abdominal fat surrounding the organs in your gut region. There are two main types of belly fat, namely:
This is a layer of fat situated directly under the skin. It’s not dangerous and helps regulate body temperature and protect internal body organs.
Also known as dangerous fat, this is a layer of fat situated beneath the muscles in your stomach. Visceral fat is associated with numerous health risks when there is too much of it.
The Causes of Belly Fat Among Women Include:
Age & Menopause
If you’re a woman with belly fat, it might be due to menopause. When you’re a teenager, an increase in estrogen hormone causes fat to be stored in areas such as the hips and thighs in preparation for pregnancy.
Having a layer of subcutaneous fat in these areas is natural. It’s when the fat becomes excess in these areas as well as your abdomen that it becomes unhealthy.
The amount of belly fat you have varies depending on the age when menopause starts. Women who reach menopause early tend to have minimal levels of belly fat, while women who reach menopause in their later years tend to have more belly fat.
Developing excess belly fat may be embedded in your genes. This supports studies hence why experts believe that gene receptors for hormones such as cortisol which regulates where fat is stored, could have genetic properties.
About a decade ago, scientists discovered three new genes linked to the development of excess belly fat. Two of those genes were found in women.
High Levels of Stress
When you’re stressed, your nervousness comes from cortisol. This is a hormone that comes from the adrenal glands.
What is its importance? Cortisol serves a vital role in your body; when it’s produced, your body goes on high alert. Gaining weight due to this hormone happens in the abdominal region.
Not only that, some women eat to drown their emotions. This is a problem because when you consume more calories than your body can expend when your body is producing cortisol, it makes you more susceptible to developing belly fat.
According to several studies, women with large waists in comparison to their hips produce more cortisol when stressed. So if you have a larger waist-to-hip ratio and you’re feeling stressed, you might experience an increase in belly fat.
Lack of Enough Protein in Your Diet
An essential rule of a good diet comprises eating whole foods and shunning processed foods. As a result, your diet should include mainly fruits, lean meats, veggies, and whole grains.
Lean meats are especially beneficial because they nourish your body with protein which helps keep you healthy and prevent body fat.
How does this happen? Protein offers several benefits to your body. For instance, the more proteins you consume, the easier it is for your body to build muscle. Also, protein makes you feel fuller for longer, so you don’t need to snack between meals.
What’s more, protein boosts your metabolism, so you need to consume more protein, and you’ll notice the fat accumulation in your belly start to slow down.
The more society advances technologically; the less moving people need to do. For instance, most people don’t walk to grocery shops to buy supplies for their families.
Instead, they order them via an app, and they’re delivered within the hour.
Sitting isn’t necessarily good for your health, and the more you do, the more you’re likely to have belly fat compared to someone who engages in some form of physical activity daily.
Pregnancy is a miracle in itself because of how much a woman’s body changes structurally to accommodate the growth of a new-born inside of her. Unfortunately, some of these structural changes could be permanent.
After delivering your new-born, you might find it difficult to lose weight, and muscular strength is harder to recover.
As a result, your belly fat may increase, and since you’re unable to engage in physical activity that much, it makes it even worse.
How Can Women Reduce Belly Fat?
Get A Support System
Having a support system is vital when embarking on any objective, such as losing weight.
A support system is available in various forms, for instance, a healthcare practitioner to help guide you on where to start and the steps to follow.
If you feel comfortable, you can discuss this with friends and family for encouragement. Also, you can look for online communities or individuals with the same objectives as you for accountability and support.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep is detrimental to any weight loss journey. According to reports, more than 30% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep.
Studies suggest that lack of adequate sleep can cause you to consume high-calorie and carb foods, increasing your belly fat.
Not only that, but not getting sufficient sleep can cause an imbalance in the chemicals that inform your brain that you’re hungry.
Improve Your Diet
A balanced diet can help you shed some belly fat, and it’s also likely to impact your overall well-being positively. You want to avoid fatty, processed, and sugar foods.
Instead, eat plenty of whole foods such as fruits, lean meats, and veggies. If you don’t know how to go about this, consult a nutritionist to help you come up with a meal plan.
As you can see, several factors contribute to belly fat in women. However, there are measures you can take to lose belly fat.
While altering your genes or how your body responds to menopause and pregnancy is impossible, you can try being more physically active.