Why can't I get rid of my belly fat?

All Woman

Dear Donovan,
Why do people have such a hard time losing belly fat? This is the constant source of my frustration, as I have changed my diet and am exercising and I still have this pudge. Is there a point at which I will have to admit that plastic surgery is the way forward?

Simply put, belly fat basically refers to the fat around the abdominal region. For many people around the world, excess belly fat is a major source of frustration. This is not just in its look, and the fact that it is hard to get rid of, but also that it is a major risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and asthma.

There are two types of belly fat — visceral and subcutaneous fat.

Visceral fat is the fat around the organ, while subcutaneous fat is the fat that is under the skin. It should be noted that visceral fat is much more harmful than subcutaneous fat.

Excess belly fat can be caused by a number of factors. These include a poor diet, poor food choices — such as soft drinks, fast food, pastries, processed carbohydrates — can lead to weight gain which can also occur in the stomach region.

Overall, an increase in weight can lead to a slow down in the metabolic rate and a reduction in a person's ability to burn fat. Additionally, studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption, especially in males, can lead to inflammation, fatty liver and weight gain around the waist. However, studies in females have not been able to conclude similar results.

It should also be noted that a lack of physical activity can result in excess belly fat. If more calories are consumed compared to what is burned, then weight gain can take place, and again, excess fat can be stored in the stomach area. Stress is also a factor for excess belly fat. When a person is stressed, the body produces a hormone called cortisol, which can cause fat to be stored in the stomach region. Also, when some individuals are stressed, they are likely to eat more, especially comfort food which may be a source of major calories that can cause weight gain.

Genetics has also been shown to be a factor in excess belly fat. Genetics may influence metabolism and behaviour towards food, and other lifestyle factors. It may also play a part in where excess fat is deposited. For example, we know that fat may be deposited more in different areas for different individuals.

Also, studies have shown that poor sleep patterns, as well as smoking, may be risk factors for excess belly fat.

With that said, as you have found out, belly fat may not be easy to get rid of. I see where you have made some changes in your diet and exercise, but have you lost weight? Usually, if you lose weight you will lose weight from all parts of your body, including your stomach region.

However, people tend to lose weight in the way that they put it on.

Therefore, I would suggest that you do a lifestyle programme involving both exercise and diet. It may not be a bad idea to get a professional to assess the programme that you are doing on your own. There might be a number of reasons why you are not getting the results you want.

The aim of a diet programme is to reduce calories, as well as to eat healthy foods. It is best to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, yogurt, et cetera. In addition, it is a good idea to do a four-to-seven-day detox programme. This will help to clean the intestine.

If one is suffering from constipation, this can also cause the stomach region to look bloated. Hence, you could speak with a professional about how to do a detox programme. Once you have lost weight and have done your detox programme, you should see a decrease in belly fat.

However, you will still notice that the stomach region is often soft and skinny. The next step is to exercise to tighten up the stomach muscles.

I must tell you that the stomach muscles will take time to tone, but just keep working at it.

So the good news is that you can lose belly fat without surgery, but it will take some effort. I must also tell you that cosmetic surgeons are also more interested in you when you have lost most of the belly fat and the stomach reaches the soft and skinny stage.

With that said, it should be interesting to know if diabetes runs in your family. In some cases, individuals with a history of diabetes tend to put on more weight in the stomach region. So watch your diet and exercise, as well as other lifestyle factors.

It might be a good idea to get a professional to assess what you are doing, with a view of finding out why you are not getting the results.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.




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