Your waistline says a lot about your health and it is more common after menopause. In this article, we look at the causes of belly fat in women, the danger it poses, and what to do about it.
An expanding waistline is sometimes looked at as the price of getting older, and for ladies, this can be especially true after menopause, when the body fat tends to shift to the abdomen.
Belly fat simply refers to fat around the abdomen. Belly fat can either be visceral fat that surrounds your organs or subcutaneous fat that settles under the skin.
What causes belly fat in females include; the food choices that we make, alcohol, trans fats, lack of adequate body exercise, low protein diets, stress, inadequate sleep, and genetics.
why is belly fat dangerous?
Research shows that belly fat especially visceral fat carries serious health risks which among others may include;
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia
What causes belly fat in females?
As mentioned earlier at the beginning of this article, a big tummy is brought about by the increase in fat volumes in the abdominal region. Below are some of the causes of belly fat in females.
1. Food choices that we make
The foods that we pick on have a great impact on the accumulation of belly fat. High sugar foods have been linked to abdominal obesity. These include processed foods soft drinks like soda, cakes and candies, muffins, frozen yogurt, and sweetened beverages. The excess added sugar in the body is stored as belly fat.
Alcohol is said to have both harmful and health benefits. In moderate quantities, red wine is said to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. However, excess consumption of alcohol may lead to inflammation, liver diseases, and diabetes. Studies have shown that alcohol reduces the body’s metabolism (fat-burning). As a result, the excess calories are stored as belly fat, hence the name “beer belly”. This causes women to have a big stomach.
3. Lack of adequate body exercise
Regular exercise is the key to better health. And in fact, an active body is less likely to be obese. Due to the sedentary lifestyle in the current days, people have become less active. This has played a big role in the rising rates of abdominal obesity hence the big stomach in women
4. Inadequate sleep
Sleep deprivation causes changes in hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin, the hormone responsible for suppressing hunger. This creates intense craving and therefore more calorie intake leading to weight gain. This weight gain includes abdominal fat which makes the stomach grow big.
One study followed over 68,000 women for 16 years, those who slept 5 hours or less per night were 32% more likely to gain 15kg than those who slept for seven hours.
Related; how to sleep to lose weight.
Genes are said to play a major role in obesity issues and that the tendency to store fats in the abdomen is influenced by genes. You have heard people say that in our genes, or in our family people are fat. It so happens that Epigenetic markers that elevate your risk of obesity can be carried on through genes from mother to child.
When one is stressed, the body instructs the adrenal glands to produce a stress hormone called cortisol to respond to the stress. The body interprets any form of stress as the same, whether driving in a rush, name it. Cortisol directs the body to store more fat in the abdominal region. When cortisol is produced in excess, it can lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal region.
7. Consumption of Trans fats
Trans fats are unhealthy fats. They are made by combining unsaturated fats with oxygen to preserve packaged foods or to extend their shelf life. Foods like muffins, crackers, and bakeries all contain Trans fats. Trans fats increase inflammation that may drive insulin resistance and the accumulation of belly fat.
8. Low protein diet
With a low protein diet, one is always craving within a short time after a meal. This leads to overeating which can increase the belly fat. However, a high protein meal gets you satisfied for a considerable amount of time, thereby avoiding overeating. As a matter of fact, a high protein diet can help you build lean muscles when combined with exercise. Lean muscles help to burn more calories throughout the day, which can help you lose weight.
Here is our guide on high protein foods in case you want to adopt a protein diet.
9. Hormonal changes
When a woman is at puberty, the hormone estrogen orders the body to store most fats at the hips preparing for a possible pregnancy. At menopause, the estrogen levels drop. Instead of the fats to be stored on the hips, it is stored on the abdominal region, causing belly fat and a big stomach in women.
How can a woman lose belly fat?
Losing weight is challenging especially if it’s to do with a specific part of your body. A case in point is stomach fat.
Here are some of the strategies to help you lose a big stomach.
Stomach fat is most times due to the excess fat in the body. Therefore, physical exercise of any kind increases the metabolic rate, which results in more calories burnt from the body.
Exercises such as running, walking, bicycling, and swimming can help you lose body fat and eventually slim down your belly.
Water is important for general body health and can be of great importance if you are looking to lose belly fat. Having water just before having a meal helps you feel full and eventually reduces your consumption. This implies less calorie intake and hence weight loss. Weight loss will eventually reduce belly fat.
Reducing alcohol consumption
Alcohol increases weight gain and bloating the moment when one goes overboard. As a matter of fact, alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients. Over drinking puts you at risk of overweight. Checking your alcohol intake is one way of controlling alcohol-induced fats.
Avoid heavily processed foods
If you are the kind of person who is fond of eating heavily processed foods like cookies and pasta, you stand a high chance of having excess fat in the body.
These processed foods carry a lot of sugar and calories with less or non-fiber and nutrients. This implies that digestion takes place very fast, leading to craving and overeating hence overweight.
Have plenty of sleep
Having more time to sleep is one of the key strategies for weight loss. Cortisol, a hormone that controls blood sugar and metabolism can be affected due to sleep deprivation. High levels of cortisol alter metabolism and increase appetite leading to weight gain.
How can I eat to reduce a big stomach?
Having looked at what causes belly fat in females, we can now think of what to eat to reduce this fat. If you have weight loss goals, avoid a crash diet but concentrate on a balanced diet as this will ensure good health. You can check out our article on the best diet planning for weight loss for women here.
Have whole-grain foods as these provide the fiber that is good for your muscle development. The more muscles a mum has the more calories she burns, which contributes to weight loss.
Take plenty of water. This not only removes waste from your body but also improves your metabolic rate to burn more calories.
High protein foods such as; eggs, fish, and beans. A high protein meal gets you satisfied for a considerable amount of time, thereby avoiding overeating. With a high protein diet, ketones are released into the bloodstream which helps to lower appetite. As a matter of fact, a High protein diet can help you build lean muscles when combined with exercise. Lean muscles help to burn more calories throughout the day, which can help you lose weight.
Leafy greens such as cabbage, spinach, and Swiss chard contain very few calories. These do not add fat to your body.
What can I drink to reduce my stomach?
There is a variety of teas, recipes, and supplements that one can drink to reduce a big stomach. Let’s look at some weight loss drinks below.
Green tea naturally flushes your system. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It will not only help your body to increase the production of detox cation properties but can boost your immune system while protecting the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances such as alcohol.
Ginger lemon drink
If consumed in the right manner, proportion, and at the right time, the drink can give you amazing results. This is made out of a mixture of ginger and lemon. Ginger lemon boosts the body’s metabolism hence promoting weight loss as more calories are burnt.
It is high in antioxidants, vitamin c, and manganese. It helps to enhance detoxification as well as maintaining a healthy body. It also cures uncomfortable bloat.
Cinnamon Detox Drink
Cinnamon helps to boost metabolism and has fat-burning properties. If you wish to have a flat tummy, cinnamon is the way to go. It can show effective results in the weight loss journey if consumed in the right manner.
How can I cope with big stomach dressing?
As we look at what causes belly fat in females, it’s high time we considered fashion too and how women can cope with a big stomach. When it comes to dressing, women with a big stomach worry so much about their belly area. It becomes hectic for them to choose the type of wear that will make them look elegant, without a protruding belly.
Let us look at a few guidelines below that will help you to hide your belly and the side fat underneath your clothes.
1.Wear loose tops, t-shirts, and tunics
Choose loose clothes over tight ones. Loose clothes are a great choice if you don’t want to show your belly. However, do not be too extreme or wearing something that is too big. This will only make the body look bigger instead.
Cardigans are universal they go well with pants, jeans, skirts, and dresses. They create a vertical line that will straighten your body.
3.Go for Compressive underclothes
To go out, you may need special compressive underclothes that hide the flaws of the body. Using special underwear will help you look more fit
For example, a pencil skirt made of thick fabric with high heels makes the stomach less prominent.
There is a higher likelihood of a cluster of health issues that come with having excess belly fat. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. All these are due to poor diet, inactivity, smoking, excess alcohol, hormonal changes, genetic, stress, poor sleep, and more.
The good thing is that; a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help people lose excess belly fat and lower the risk of the problems associated with it.
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