The Cause Of Belly Fat
You’d think the main reason behind belly fat is poor diet, or a sedentary lifestyle. And that certainly contributes to the problem.
But really, the biggest problem is one that so many people all over the world deal with today: stress.
Related: 10 Ways To Stop Stress Eating
“Cortisol is released in response to stress to regulate the fuel necessary for the fight-or-flight response,” says Jenny Evans, nutrition and exercise physiology expert and author of The Resiliency rEvolution: Your Stress Solution For Life. “Our ancestors did a lot of fighting and/or fleeing and had to be very careful about managing energy stores on the body. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates both hunger and fat storage in response to stress.”
Fitness and personal development expert Debi Silber further explains, “One of the things cortisol will do is drive fat storage-particularly around the middle. This flooding of hormones also suppresses the thyroid which is in charge of our metabolism. So, chronic stress lowers thyroid function, slows metabolism and we have another reason why we’re gaining weight.”
In other words, even if you’re eating well and exercising, if you’re living a high-stress lifestyle, that belly fat will be much more difficult to shake. You must focus on each of these three areas equally.
But don’t give up. Belly fat is a silent and deadly killer.
Related: How To Beat The “Bikini Buzzkill” Bloat
Why You Need To Get Rid Of Your Belly Fat
The fat around your stomach isn’t just something to make you self-conscious—it’s something that can threaten your life.
The fat around your belly is dangerous,” says registered dietician and author Liz Pearson. “It doesn’t just sit there. It’s biologically active, producing hormones and other substances that promote chronic inflammation and negatively impact the way your body handles sugars and fats. Abdominal fat can kill you – the more of it you have, the greater your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer and more.”
Yeesh. But how much belly fat is “too much?”
There’s an easy formula, according to Pearson. “The simplest way to determine if you have too much is with a measuring tape. Measure your waist from the top of your hipbone around, just above or at your navel.”
If you’re male, 40 inches or above is dangerous; if you’re female, 35 inches or above is the deadly number, according to Pearson.
So you did the measurements, and you have too much belly fat. If it’s so difficult to get rid of, can you even do it.