There are many factors that come into play when we are talking about the causes of belly fat.
What you eat, your exercise routine, your stress levels, alcohol consumption, your gender and your sleep schedule all can contribute to how much belly fat you have!
No matter what your circumstances are, when exercise is paired with proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, a positive mindset, and CONSISTENCY, you can shed the pounds and achieve the midsection that you have always wanted!
Let's take a closer look at some of the main causes of belly fat.
Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise
These two are the most obvious, yet the first two that people seem to forget about when life gets busy. A diet that is high in processed foods, sugars and fats directly relates to weight gain and a slower metabolism.
If you consume more calories than you burn off, you are going to put on weight. We have adapted a very sedentary way of life and living this way makes it easier for someone to gain weight and harder to lose it.
Sleep and Stress
When we are stressed out, our bodies release a chemical knowing as cortisol. We also tend to emotionally eat when we are stressed out. We are all guilty of this one! When we stress eat and cortisol is running through our body, our bodies will store the excess calories, typically around your midsection for later use.
Proper sleep is also a huge factor in how we feel for too little rest can have a major impact on our well-being. Poor quality and short duration of sleep directly affects the bodies ability to rest, heal and recover. Our bodies are continually working around the clock, so getting 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night really is important. When you prioritize your sleep, you will immediately notice a difference.
Gender and Alcohol Consumption
The extra calories that we consume when enjoying alcoholic beverages tend to be stored as fat in the body. These sugary drinks typically lead to weight gain in the abdominal area. When the drinks are flowing, we also tend to not make the best decisions food wise. Have you ever heard of someone hungover wanting a salad? No, me either. Check out my blog on how alcohol affects your fitness.
As far as gender, as a female, you are more likely to carry weight in your lower belly area do to different hormones. We are so lucky!
No matter who you are, we all have multiple factors that work against us in terms of carrying our weight in our midsections.
What can you do to lose your belly fat?
Get Your Workout In To Lose Belly Fat
A lot of people think that the best way to shed fat is by doing lots of steady cardio. You can lose fat that way, but it's not the optimal type of training for fat loss. Intense fast-paced cardio, power moves, are much better. By adding muscle to your body, you will burn more fat all of the time.
Muscle mass actually boosts your metabolic rate, which helps you burn calories even when you're not working out. Targeting multiple muscle groups in one move, as you do with full-body exercises, burns more calories (and thus more fat) and does it efficiently, maximizing your time at the gym.
To help you get the most out of your time and get results, add your email here to Get our new free monthly workout schedule.
Focus On Nutrition To Lose Belly Fat
To lose belly fat, you should avoid highly processed foods and products with lots of sugar and refined carbs. Focus on loading up on veggies, lean proteins, and fiber.
Stay away from the sugar sweetened drinks! Our brains don't process liquid calories the same way as solid calories so when we are enjoying these beverages you end up consuming more total calories!
Eating protein is a great way to keep your metabolism boosted and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Lean proteins combined with veggies and fiber is a good way to give your system all the vitamins and minerals it needs to run effectively and efficiently.
Are you looking to step up your game when it comes to your nutrition?! Check out the 5 Day Better You Program to get started with 1 on 1 coaching and a customized nutrition plan just for you!
Show Yourself Some Love To Lose Belly Fat
I know it can sometimes be difficult to make yourself a priority when you've got a million different things go on, but this is so important. Lower your stress levels by taking a bubble bath or using your favorite face mask. Spend some time relaxing outside by the ocean or by a bonfire in the backyard.
Put yourself to bed earlier and get a full nights sleep! You cannot pour from an empty cup. Once we have taken care of ourselves we can take care of others and be more productive!
Now its time for the yummy stuff! We all know the saying that abs are made in the kitchen!
Here are a few of my favorite LOW CALORIE meals that will help you lose belly fat!
Mango Vanilla Energy Smoothie
Calories 300 | Protein 21g | Carbs 50g | Fat 4g | Fiber 7g (Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 1)
- 2 cup Frozen Mango Chunks
- ½ cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- ½ cup Vanilla Soymilk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 scoops of Rebecca’s Healthy Meal Protein *
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Split up into two glasses. Save one for next breakfast!
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Calories 289 | Protein 37g | Carbs 7g | Fat 13g | Fiber 4g (Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1)
- 2 tbsp Minced Cilantro
- 2½ tbsp Lime Juice
- 1½ tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 (6-oz) Skinless Chicken Beast
- ¼ tsp Salt
- Cooking Spray
- 1 cup Chopped Plum Tomato
- 2 tbsp Chopped Onion
- 2 tsp Lime Juice
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ⅛ tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Avocado, Finely Chopped
- Prepare marinade, combine minced cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and add chicken.
- To prepare chicken, remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
- Sprinkle chicken evenly with ¼ tsp salt.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat & coat pan with cooking spray.
- Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
- To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl.
- Add avocado; stir gently to combine.
- Serve salsa over chicken.
Honey Soy Salmon
Calories 345 | Protein 39g | Carbs 10g | Fat 15g | Fiber 3g (Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1)
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 2 scallions
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 salmon fillets, about 6 oz each
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds
- 1 1/3 cups cooked edamame
- Lime wedges, optional garnish
- Preheat the grill over medium-high heat.
- Finely chop the cilantro and scallion and mix in the oil and ginger.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut two 3-inch long slits through the skin on the bottom of the salmon fillets, going about halfway into the salmon.
- Evenly stuff the slits with the herb mixture.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Stir together the lime juice, soy and honey.
- Place the salmon, skin side up, on the grill and cook until well, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Turn the salmon and continue to cook, brushing the tops with the sauce, until the fish is cooked through, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
- Serve with edamame and lime wedges.
These yummy meals combined with the correct workout program is a recipe for success! Losing your belly fat doesn't need to be complicated. Stay on track with your nutrition and focus on your fitness.