Getting rid of your belly fat is important for more than just vanity’s sake. Excess abdominal fat – particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and gives your stomach the “beer gut” effect, is a predictor of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and some cancers. There can be many reasons why you are not losing belly fat: it could be that you’ve been misled by clever marketing to follow a new fad diet plan or you simply don’t take ownership of the things you can control. Here are 12 possible reasons why your belly fat won’t budge:
1. You don’t stick to the 90/10 rule
The 90/10 rule is very simple – 90% of your meals are good quality, nutrient dense meals. That means no processed foods, refined sugars, and dairy or wheat products. Then the other 10% (usually 1 meal a week) you can eat whatever you want. These foods contain huge trans fats content that remains undigested and increases ‘fluffiness’.
2. Not enough Protein
If you don’t know how much protein you eat in a day, chances are its insufficient. Look for protein rich-foods such as eggs, wild salmon, beef, lean chicken breast, tuna and supplement with Whey protein on you’re work out days. Ladies should eat about 1.5g per kilogram of body weight, guys need to eat around 2g per kilogram.
3. You drink too much alcohol
Heavy drinking is one of the most common causes of obesity in the present period. If you are serious about your weight and losing belly fat, you should give up your drinking habit. Once you reach your goal there is nothing stopping you from having a glass at dinner or special occasions – priorities!
4. Too much cardio
No doubt, a 30-minute run at a decent pace helps in burning calories, but in the long run, it affects metabolism. Granted that aerobic activity can help you lose a considerable amount of weight, but as you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, which means that your burn fewer calories at your new weight. One proven way to kick start your metabolism and keep you losing weight is weight training!
5. You’re a nighttime snacker:
Late-night eating is always a bad option. At night, the body’s metabolism slows down so undigested calories get stored as fat. This can also interfere with your sleep, which in turn can lead you to experience more stress, laziness and less motivation to workout. Think twice before eating at night, make it a habit to eat a good dinner and maintain at least a 2-hour gap between your dinner and bedtime.
6. Poor Sleeping Habits
Not getting enough or poor quality sleep will lead to increased inflammation in your body, which is associated with multiple health complications such as insulin resistance, chronically elevated cortisol and reductions in testosterone and growth hormone production.
7. You’re stressed:
Stress levels can be a contributing factor for your belly fat by raising inflammation in the body causing enlarged fat cells, disrupting hunger hormones & causes cells to be less responsive. I firmly believe that there is a direct relation between stress levels and extra body fat.
8.You lack consistency
Back to the 90/10 rule, the principal can be applied to both nutrition training. Find a program and stick to it relentlessly for 3 weeks before deviating.
9. You have no idea how many calories you are eating
While calorie-counting can be tedious and frustrating, you need to at least be aware of the calories that you consume. You don’t need to maintain a record of each and everything that you eat in the day, although keeping a food journal has helped many of my clients stay on track with their diets.
10. You don’t drink enough water
Water not only helps in maintaining a balanced diet but also helps in losing weight. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat, without water we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems.
11. You drink soft drink
Seriously? Still? Sugar beverages are among the most fattening products on earth. Fruit juice & Vitamin water is also loaded with high sugar content.
12. You don’t chew your food
If you’re guilty of shovelling food into your mouth without paying the slightest attention to what you’re eating its time to slow down. Eating slowly while paying attention to every bite not only makes you feel fuller quicker, but also aids in digestion. Stop inhaling food and starting chewing!
You’ll notice that you have total control of all the above – taking ownership of your diet and exercise habits is key for your success.
Author: Jeremy Gwyer, Men's Health Middle East contributor and Personal Trainer