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A big bloated belly is uncomfortable and a lot of us would like to shed the extra fat, but it is very difficult. Why am I not losing belly fat, even when I’m eating healthily and exercising? Express.co.uk chatted to weight-loss nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr www.clarissalenherr.com who said you might be struggling to lose belly fat due to your hormones, diet, and stress levels.
Why am I not losing belly fat?
Clarissa said: “Hormones play a role in fat distribution.
“A reduction in Estrogen for women and Testosterone for men, particularly as we age, can trigger the redistribution of fat to the stomach.
“Additionally, certain hormonal imbalances such as PCOS can increase the risk of insulin resistance which can lead to an increased production of fat cells.”
There’s little you can do about this, but chat to your doctor and see if your hormones are out of whack.
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Of course, what you eat will determine how much belly fat you have.
Clarissa explained: “Eating a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates, sugars and alcohol can increase our insulin levels.
“This promotes fat storage, increases the risk of fatty liver, and all of this results in a higher incidence of weight gain around the stomach.”
Cut down on carbs, sugars and alcohol to lose this weight.
Noticed that you’re feeling increasingly stressed while gaining belly fat?
That’s no coincidence, stress plays a role in fat distribution.
Clarissa said: “One of our stress hormones, cortisol, can cause elevations in our blood sugar which then raises our fat storage hormone insulin.
“This results in our body holding onto more fat, particularly around the stomach.”
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What to eat to lose belly fat
If you’re really concerned about your belly fat, rule out a hormonal imbalance and excess stress before addressing your diet.
Clarissa advises starting with eating more fibre, including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g, so you won’t go hungry.
She said: “Adequate amounts of fibre keeps you fuller for longer and gives you more sustained energy, which can result in less snacking and overeating.”
Then, avoid foods high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Clarissa explained: ”Frequent consumption of foods high in added sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white breads and pastries can lead to blood sugar imbalances, insulin resistance and potential fat accumulation.
“The NHS suggests no more than 30g of added sugar in our diets per day.”
To make a change, swap out the white carbohydrates in your diet for the whole grain alternatives such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and brown breads.
It’s time to up your protein intake!
Clarissa advised: “Lean protein sources from poultry, fish, eggs, pulses and soy products tend to be lower in saturated fats and protein keeps us full and satiated.
“For anyone who consumes a lot of high fat meat may find that reducing their consumption has a significant effect on their body fat levels.”
Belly fat exercises
Eating well is half of the battle, but you’ll need to exercise to banish belly fat for good.
Clarissa said: “If you are trying to lose excess body fat, you need to commit to a regular exercise routine which combines cardiovascular workouts and strength/resistance training.
“When we include strength training in our exercise regime, we build more muscle mass which in turn can mean we burn more of the calories we consume from food as energy, and potentially use up some of our stored fat.”
The NHS advises aiming for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, or 75 minutes of moderate activity.
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