Can't Seem To Loose Belly Fat?
The real reason and factual truth about stomach fat in women and why they can't seem to lose it.
Belly fat, the most dreaded enemy both gender is afraid of and with good reason. it's been scientifically proven that fat around your abdomen is even harder to shift than fat on other areas of your body. As per the NHS website, a healthy weight for a woman is anywhere between 60 to 80kg, dependant on your height. It's worth checking out their BMI calculator, if you're interested. Aesthetic motivations for wanting to lose stomach fat aside, carrying excess weight around your abdomen can impact your long-term health, putting you at a greater risk of developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Wondering why you get excess stomach fat? essentially, fat around the belly occurs because of the same reason you get fat build up anywhere on your body; when you’re consuming more energy than the body is using. Excess energy = more fat stores. (let that sink in)
An Important Question
Do women find it harder to lose belly fat than men?
On average, women have 6 to 11% more body fat than men. Studies show oestrogen reduces a woman's ability to burn energy after eating, resulting in more fat being stored around the body compared to their male counterparts. The most likely reason for this, according to science? To prime women for childbearing, according to experts.
Now down to it, what are the reasons why you can't seem to lose bellyfat?
1 Some stomach fat is just harder to shift, factually.
We all carry two fat cells in our body: alpha and beta, Alpha cells respond better and accelerate the process, whereas beta cells don’t respond as favourably and make it harder to lose the fat. Because different areas of the body have different amounts of each of these cells - with some parts having a higher amount of alpha cells than beta, and vice versa - the areas with more beta fat cells will inevitably be more difficult to shed excess fat.
When you’re actively trying to lose fat, you may see changes on your legs, face and arms first because these areas have more alpha cells, areas like the hips, thighs and belly as having more beta cells, therefore making them harder to lose weight from.
Simply put: it’s more difficult to shift belly fat because it has a higher amount of fat cells that don’t respond as easily to the fat breakdown process (lipolysis).
2 You Are Probably Lacking In Leptin
Scientific research studies show the hormone leptin - which signals to your brain that you’re full - decreases as women age, therefore, many women find they’re hungrier, more frequently. Eating more often means eating more calories than you're burning, or need.
3 You Are Eating Too Much Sugar
The majority of the population is consuming too much sugar. Studies actually suggest there’s a link between high sugar intake and holding onto belly fat in particular, also as women age, they become more insulin resistant, making it harder to process these sugars. "That's why you become even more prone to store it down as belly fat.
4 You're Undergoing Too Much Stress
Life becomes increasingly stressful as you get older. "When you're stressed, the stress hormone cortisol increases, which is linked to storing fat, especially around the mid section.
5 You're Exercising Way Too Much
Yep, you read that right. Some people can actually be doing too much exercise. This can increase stress on the central nervous system, peaking cortisol and creating the same negative affect as mentioned above.
That’s why it’s very imperative you take adequate rest time and mix your workouts up.
6 Eating Too Many Few Calories
Years upon years of any kind of dieting can actually take its toll. It plummets the metabolic rate and means, when you do eat a normal amount of calories again, that your baseline is lower. Which means? Your metabolism will be slower, you’ll be less efficient at burning the calories you consume and more likely to hold onto body fat. That’s why fad diets should be avoided.
7 Genetically Predisposed
There is a genetic predisposition to storing fat, of course. A lot depends on the diet and lifestyle, but genes are also always at play here.
8 You Have A Lower Metabolic Rate
Naturally, women do have a lower metabolic rate than men. This means women's bodies use fewer calories to fuel normal body functions and store the leftover calories as fat.
All these being said, what ways can you burn belly fat and have a better waistline?
1 Eat More Protein
This one's a no-brainer. Make sure you're eating at least 15 to 20g of protein at each meal sitting. You could try including the following in your diet: Turkey, Chicken, Whitefish, Eggs, Nuts and Seeds. Why? You'd ask, well, because protein triggers leptin (the full hormone mentioned above) and has been shown to create a significant decrease in the number of calories consumed, which means less belly fat.
2 Do Shorter Intense Workouts (HIIT)
You'll know that as you get older, your metabolic rate naturally decreases. It's important to do what you can to keep it firing effectively. Your body would love HIIT - that's high-intensity interval training - as it creates an oxygen debt, which can take up to 24 hours for your body to recover from. "All that time it’s burning energy and raising the metabolic rate, helping you burn any excess belly fat".
3 Eat A Healthy Range Of Macronutrients
Balancing meals and snacks to ensure they provide a carbohydrate, a protein and healthy fat is a great way to slow down the release of glucose and therefore insulin release. This means you'll feel satisfied for longer. The following can be added to your diet, if your aim is weight loss. yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, pickles, oily fish, apple cider vinegar, vegetables and high fibre foods.
NB - None of these is essential - ultimately, weight loss is about achieving a sensible calorie deficit, but the above foods have particular nutrient-dense properties that will assist with fat loss.
Fat loss and a trimmer waistline is the ultimate goal for the majority of the population, achieving this is no small task as seen above due to gender, genetics, lifestyle and a whole lot of other challenges. Still, the fact remains having a healthy waistline does not necessarily mean having washboard abs or looking like a model on GQ mag, having a healthy BMI, fitting in your clothes, and feeling healthy all around should be your yardstick, except for outrightly medical reasons, if not you are fine just the way you are.