If you were to ask a collection of people where they would most like to lose weight from, the most common answer is quite probably the belly. There’s a good reason for that it’s difficult to lose! It’s hard to shift, and it’s stubborn. Of course, it also just happens to be one of your body’s most prominent areas.
So, no wonder we feel so self conscious about it constantly adjusting our clothing in an attempt to hide it. We wish we could just drop pounds from it, but even when we diet hard, it seems to be the last place to change shape.
Aside from your physical appearance, excess belly fat has a long-term impact on your health. It increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The real question that so many of us have, though, is why is it so difficult to budge belly fat? Let’s talk about it.
The reason you gain fat around your belly is the same reason it builds up anywhere else. It’s because you consume more fuel than your body can burn. So, because it can’t use that energy, it stores it as fat. The real question is, why does it seem to settle there and become impossible to move? It’s simple. There’s a higher number of fat cells in your belly, and they don’t respond as quickly or easily to lipolysis, which is the process of breaking down fat.
We carry two different types of fat cells alpha and beta. They respond differently to lipolysis. Your alpha cells accelerate the process because they respond quickly to the process.
However, beta cells just don’t, which makes it much more difficult to lose weight. So, because some areas of your body have more beta cells, you will find it more difficult to shift weight from those areas.
That is all well and good, but why? Why is fat laid down first on the belly, and it is also the last place to give it up? Simply, our bodies evolved in a more primitive space than we now inhabit. Mobility was crucial to our survival, and so was storing some body fat as insurance against starvation. The belly is not critical to mobility (running, catching prey, evading predators) as are arms and legs. So to store a little useful fat, the belly is ideal.
Typically, we see weight changes quicker in our legs, arms, and face simply because there are more alpha cells in these areas. Meanwhile, beta cells populate your belly, thighs, and hips, which means they are last to join the weight loss party.
Unfortunately, this slow weight loss can be discouraging. Don’t give up! It can take as long as 12 weeks before you start to see any change in your belly fat, it’s just so much more difficult to break down. However, if you reduce your intake of sugar and other simpe carbs, increase protein and healthy dietary fat, and get regular exercise, you will eventually experience change.
Additionally, there are a few key reasons why you might be struggling to shift those additional pounds from your belly.
There are a lot of calories in alcohol. One can of beer comes with over 150 calories, and a standard glass of wine isn’t much better. That’s just basic alcohol, cocktails come with even more calories. That means your body has diverted its attention from burning fat. It’s possible to drink responsibly and still lose weight, but that will limit you to one drink a day. Also, your mixers may be more a factor than the alcohol.
The Wrong Exercise.
Is your focus on cardio? It’s not enough. You should also work weights and strength training into your exercise regimen. That will help you build muscle mass, which will allow your body to burn more fat.