If you've been exercising religiously, but notice that your belly fat and that number on the scale won't budge, you're most likely not a happy camper. Excess belly fat is a sign that fat is surrounding your abdominal muscles and increasing your risk of various health conditions, including type-2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Belly fat can be difficult to lose because it is affected by some things you can control and some that you cannot.
Not Enough Exercise
Exercise makes it easier to lose weight overall, including excess belly fat. If you are already exercising, crank up the length or intensity of your workouts. Build up to 30 to 60 minutes of moderately-intense cardiovascular exercise each day. Strength training can help burn belly fat in addition to strengthening your bones and muscles. Spot exercises, such as sit-ups, do firm the abdominal muscles, but will not reduce belly fat.
Out of Control Diet
To get your diet under control, make healthy food choices and pay attention to portion size. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, over white rice and potatoes. Select lean protein sources, like chicken and fish, over red meat, and consider meatless meals some days of the week. Measure servings to make sure you aren't eating more calories than you think you are, which is a very easy mistake to make.
Genetics Are to Blame
Some people are genetically predisposed to carry excess weight in the form of belly fat. People with an apple-shaped body carry excess weight around their bellies, while those with a pear shape carry excess weight in their lower bodies. Even at a healthy weight, someone with an apple shape may appear to have some excess belly fat.
Hormones Affect Belly Fat
Women may notice an increase in belly fat as they get older. This is due to changes in hormone levels and is often unavoidable. If you are entering menopause and notice an increase in your levels of belly fat, take control of the conditions you can, such as diet and exercise, to fight belly fat.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.