Unless you hit the genetic jackpot, the chances are that your tummy isn’t immune to showing its fat gains. Something interesting is that there are different kinds of belly fat, and they all require different techniques for shedding it. Belly fat isn’t merely an issue of appearance. Sure, it looks and feels nice to have a shredded tummy, but more important are the health implications.
Abdominal fat consists of active cells that can produce disease-causing chemicals. Some of the diseases and medical conditions associated with belly fat are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), metabolic syndrome, and gallbladder problems.
Belly fat can be tough to lose. Even people who eat well and exercise regularly complain about the stubbornness of belly fat. In fact, abdominal fat is sometimes the last area to become noticeably slimmer. The reason for these discrepancies is that there is more than one body type and each type responds differently.
Before we detail the five different belly types, it’s important to remember that they all share one trait with regards to fat loss: consuming healthy fats and exercising the deep abdomen are the most beneficial in terms of fat burn.
It’s also vital that we recognize the association between belly fat and severe health issues. Research shows that higher levels of abdominal fat are linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Here are the five different belly types, and the types of belly fat that accompany them:
1. Alcohol Belly
Also known as the “spare tire,” alcohol belly fat isn’t flabby like hormone belly fat, but it’s just as bad, if not worse. Physiologically, drinking slows down your metabolism and increases fat storage. Not to mention that many alcoholic beverages, e.g., beer and wine, contain empty calories – and no nutritional value.
The best ways to shed a booze belly are to:
– Cut down or eliminate alcohol;
– Do some cardiovascular exercise, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or fast-paced walking;
– Eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
2. “Full” Belly
Does your belly tend to look noticeably slimmer in the morning? Your eyes may not deceive you, as gas, food allergies and intolerances, imbalance of gut flora, and poor digestion may be to blame.
Another sign of “full” belly is if your bowels frequently feel bloated. Gluten intolerance and lack of fiber are two notorious causes.
The bests ways to shed a “fully” belly include:
– Boost your fiber intake with fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts;
– Drink plenty of water (helps promote digestion);
– Take probiotics, which balance out the gut flora;
– Practice deep breathing exercises.
3. Hormone Belly
Hormone levels have a significant influence on weight loss and gain. Ask any person with an underactive thyroid just how hard it is to shed belly fat (it’s v-e-r-y hard.)
For both women and men, low levels of the primary hormones estrogen and testosterone (respectively) can lead to more fat stored in the abdomen. Imbalances of either hormone – too high or too low – can sabotage weight loss efforts.
The best way to shed a hormone belly is to:
– Boost your intake of fiber – beans, fruits, and vegetables;
– Consume plenty of healthy fats, such as omega-3’s and omega-6’s;
– Do some light exercise to keep the stress levels (cortisol) low;
– Reduce the intake of foods that cause inflammation, e.g., dairy products.
4. Mommy’s Belly
Although reproduction is a very natural thing, many women wouldn’t know it by looking at their tummy. When the abdomen stretches to house the little one, the belly often doesn’t “return to normal” after giving birth – at least without some serious work.
A post-pregnancy condition called diastasis recti may be to blame. The condition causes the abdominal muscles to separate, which can make the belly appear as if the woman is still carrying.
The best way to shed a mommy’s belly is to:
– First, see your doctor to check insulin levels and rule out diabetes;
– Abstain from crunches or setups, and they can aggravate your abdominal muscles if diastatic recti is present;
– Go for brisk walks;
– Do floor exercises that strengthen the core and pelvis.
5. Stress Belly
The stress hormone cortisol can really screw with your belly. The problem with cortisol is two-fold: First, the chemical makeup of cortisol causes the body to store visceral fat. Visceral fat is stored between your main organs and in the midsection and is the most dangerous type of fat. Experts state that visceral fat increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Secondly, cortisol levels spike the more that we’re anxious or stressed which may lead to “stress eating.” It’s a double-whammy, in otherwords.
The best way to shed a stress belly is to:
– Do at least 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise daily;
– Eat a healthy breakfast to evade mood swings and cravings;
– Eliminate junk food;
– Reduce caffeine intake (it raises cortisol levels);
– Stop overeating;
– Practice meditation or yoga to de-stress.