Anyone who works out regularly knows that there are always a few spots on the body that seem particularly resistant to slimming down, and the belly is one of the most notorious of these. It can seem like no matter how many crunches you do or how strict you are about your diet, your belly desperately wants to hold onto unwanted fat. What is it exactly that makes belly fat so much more stubborn than fatty deposits elsewhere on the body?
The Primary Causes of Belly Fat
There are several areas of the body where fat naturally gravitates, and the belly happens to be one of them. It should come as no surprise that opens in a new windowliposuction is performed most commonly in the belly and similar problem areas like the love handles, inner thighs or upper arms that hang onto fat.
There are a few different reasons why the body could be storing excess fat around the midsection:
- Age: Muscle mass diminishes with age, and this reduction means a decline in the body’s calorie usage as well. This combination makes it much easier to gain weight due to excess caloric intake.
- Hormones: Hormonal changes, also a byproduct of growing older, affect the weight distribution throughout your body, causing more fat to settle around the belly. In men, belly fat may be caused by higher estrogen levels and low testosterone levels, while the opposite is true for women.
- Stress: High stress levels can also contribute to the appearance of belly fat due to another type of hormone: cortisol. High cortisol levels can contribute to a number of health problems, including an increase in belly fat.
It’s also important to realize that the appearance of a fuller belly could be due to the presence of both visceral and subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is far below the skin’s surface and surrounds the organs in the body cavity. Subcutaneous fat is the more visible fatty deposits that lie closer to the skin’s surface. Although visceral fat can increase around the organs, it’s very common for that last resistant inch or two of excess fat around the waistline to be subcutaneous fat instead.
No matter how carefully you count your calories, diet and exercise aren’t going to change your hormones or your age. Staying physically active can be a great way to burn calories and reduce stress, but even still you may want to slim down your waistline further.
How to Slim and Tone Your Abdomen
Most people aren’t aware that exercising a particular area of the body doesn’t necessary mean that they will slim down that exact body part. When you see fat and flab in your belly, the natural instinct is to ramp up the number of crunches you squeeze in at the gym. But exercise isn’t always the answer when it comes to belly fat.
While staying active is an important part of whole-body health, exercise isn’t always very effective at resolving subcutaneous fat. There may be some initial improvement, but it’s typical to hit a plateau before you reach your appearance goals. This is because the body is predisposed to hang onto subcutaneous fat in case of emergencies. Chalk it up to a leftover biological imperative from our caveman days. Modern society may have changed since then, but the body’s love for belly fat remains the same.
When diet and exercise fail to make an impression on belly fat, liposuction can help. This surgical approach toward body sculpting permanently removes the fat cells from around the belly for a slimmer waistline, smoother contours and improved muscle definition. If you’re frustrated by stubborn belly fat, liposuction may be the ideal solution.