Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity's sake. Excess abdominal fat—particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and puffs your stomach into a "beer gut"—is a predictor of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and some cancers. If diet and exercise haven't done much to reduce your pooch, then your hormones, your age, and other genetic factors may be the reason why. Read on for 11 possible reasons why your belly fat won't budge.
Keep a calculator handy. To calculate your waist-to-hip ratio accurately, measure the narrowest point of your waist and the broadest part of your hip. Divide the values you obtained from the measurement and you have your ratio. The waist-to-hip ratio is a more accurate parameter to measure BMI. Those with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.8 are susceptible to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
!function(n,t){function r(e,n){return Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(e,n)}function i(e){return void 0===e}if(n){var o={},s=n.TraceKit,u=[].slice,a="?";o.noConflict=function(){return n.TraceKit=s,o},o.wrap=function(e){function n(){try{return e.apply(this,arguments)}catch(e){throw o.report(e),e}}return n},o.report=function(){function e(e){a(),h.push(e)}function t(e){for(var n=h.length-1;n>=0;--n)h[n]===e&&h.splice(n,1)}function i(e,n){var t=null;if(!n||o.collectWindowErrors){for(var i in h)if(r(h,i))try{h[i].apply(null,[e].concat(u.call(arguments,2)))}catch(e){t=e}if(t)throw t}}function s(e,n,t,r,s){var u=null;if(w)o.computeStackTrace.augmentStackTraceWithInitialElement(w,n,t,e),l();else if(s)u=o.computeStackTrace(s),i(u,!0);else{var a={url:n,line:t,column:r};a.func=o.computeStackTrace.guessFunctionName(a.url,a.line),a.context=o.computeStackTrace.gatherContext(a.url,a.line),u={mode:"onerror",message:e,stack:[a]},i(u,!0)}return!!f&&f.apply(this,arguments)}function a(){!0!==d&&(f=n.onerror,n.onerror=s,d=!0)}function l(){var e=w,n=p;p=null,w=null,m=null,i.apply(null,[e,!1].concat(n))}function c(e){if(w){if(m===e)return;l()}var t=o.computeStackTrace(e);throw w=t,m=e,p=u.call(arguments,1),n.setTimeout(function(){m===e&&l()},t.incomplete?2e3:0),e}var f,d,h=[],p=null,m=null,w=null;return c.subscribe=e,c.unsubscribe=t,c}(),o.computeStackTrace=function(){function e(e){if(!o.remoteFetching)return"";try{var t=function(){try{return new n.XMLHttpRequest}catch(e){return new n.ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP")}},r=t();return r.open("GET",e,!1),r.send(""),r.responseText}catch(e){return""}}function t(t){if("string"!=typeof t)return[];if(!r(j,t)){var i="",o="";try{o=n.document.domain}catch(e){}var s=/(.*)\:\/\/([^:\/]+)([:\d]*)\/{0,1}([\s\S]*)/.exec(t);s&&s[2]===o&&(i=e(t)),j[t]=i?i.split("\n"):[]}return j[t]}function s(e,n){var r,o=/function ([^(]*)\(([^)]*)\)/,s=/['"]?([0-9A-Za-z$_]+)['"]?\s*[:=]\s*(function|eval|new Function)/,u="",l=10,c=t(e);if(!c.length)return a;for(var f=0;f0?s:null}function l(e){return e.replace(/[\-\[\]{}()*+?.,\\\^$|#]/g,"\\$&")}function c(e){return l(e).replace("<","(?:<|<)").replace(">","(?:>|>)").replace("&","(?:&|&)").replace('"','(?:"|")').replace(/\s+/g,"\\s+")}function f(e,n){for(var r,i,o=0,s=n.length;or&&(i=s.exec(o[r]))?i.index:null}function h(e){if(!i(n&&n.document)){for(var t,r,o,s,u=[n.location.href],a=n.document.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=""+e,h=/^function(?:\s+([\w$]+))?\s*\(([\w\s,]*)\)\s*\{\s*(\S[\s\S]*\S)\s*\}\s*$/,p=/^function on([\w$]+)\s*\(event\)\s*\{\s*(\S[\s\S]*\S)\s*\}\s*$/,m=0;m]+)>|([^\)]+))\((.*)\))? in (.*):\s*$/i,o=n.split("\n"),a=[],l=0;l=0&&(g.line=v+x.substring(0,j).split("\n").length)}}}else if(o=d.exec(i[y])){var _=n.location.href.replace(/#.*$/,""),T=new RegExp(c(i[y+1])),E=f(T,[_]);g={url:_,func:"",args:[],line:E?E.line:o[1],column:null}}if(g){g.func||(g.func=s(g.url,g.line));var k=u(g.url,g.line),A=k?k[Math.floor(k.length/2)]:null;k&&A.replace(/^\s*/,"")===i[y+1].replace(/^\s*/,"")?g.context=k:g.context=[i[y+1]],h.push(g)}}return h.length?{mode:"multiline",name:e.name,message:i[0],stack:h}:null}function y(e,n,t,r){var i={url:n,line:t};if(i.url&&i.line){e.incomplete=!1,i.func||(i.func=s(i.url,i.line)),i.context||(i.context=u(i.url,i.line));var o=/ '([^']+)' /.exec(r);if(o&&(i.column=d(o[1],i.url,i.line)),e.stack.length>0&&e.stack[0].url===i.url){if(e.stack[0].line===i.line)return!1;if(!e.stack[0].line&&e.stack[0].func===i.func)return e.stack[0].line=i.line,e.stack[0].context=i.context,!1}return e.stack.unshift(i),e.partial=!0,!0}return e.incomplete=!0,!1}function g(e,n){for(var t,r,i,u=/function\s+([_$a-zA-Z\xA0-\uFFFF][_$a-zA-Z0-9\xA0-\uFFFF]*)?\s*\(/i,l=[],c={},f=!1,p=g.caller;p&&!f;p=p.caller)if(p!==v&&p!==o.report){if(r={url:null,func:a,args:[],line:null,column:null},p.name?r.func=p.name:(t=u.exec(p.toString()))&&(r.func=t[1]),"undefined"==typeof r.func)try{r.func=t.input.substring(0,t.input.indexOf("{"))}catch(e){}if(i=h(p)){r.url=i.url,r.line=i.line,r.func===a&&(r.func=s(r.url,r.line));var m=/ '([^']+)' /.exec(e.message||e.description);m&&(r.column=d(m[1],i.url,i.line))}c[""+p]?f=!0:c[""+p]=!0,l.push(r)}n&&l.splice(0,n);var w={mode:"callers",name:e.name,message:e.message,stack:l};return y(w,e.sourceURL||e.fileName,e.line||e.lineNumber,e.message||e.description),w}function v(e,n){var t=null;n=null==n?0:+n;try{if(t=m(e))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}try{if(t=p(e))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}try{if(t=w(e))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}try{if(t=g(e,n+1))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}return{mode:"failed"}}function b(e){e=1+(null==e?0:+e);try{throw new Error}catch(n){return v(n,e+1)}}var x=!1,j={};return v.augmentStackTraceWithInitialElement=y,v.guessFunctionName=s,v.gatherContext=u,v.ofCaller=b,v.getSource=t,v}(),o.extendToAsynchronousCallbacks=function(){var e=function(e){var t=n[e];n[e]=function(){var e=u.call(arguments),n=e[0];return"function"==typeof n&&(e[0]=o.wrap(n)),t.apply?t.apply(this,e):t(e[0],e[1])}};e("setTimeout"),e("setInterval")},o.remoteFetching||(o.remoteFetching=!0),o.collectWindowErrors||(o.collectWindowErrors=!0),(!o.linesOfContext||o.linesOfContext<1)&&(o.linesOfContext=11),void 0!==e&&e.exports&&n.module!==e?e.exports=o:"function"==typeof define&&define.amd?define("TraceKit",[],o):n.TraceKit=o}}("undefined"!=typeof window?window:global)},"./webpack-loaders/expose-loader/index.js?require!./shared/require-global.js":function(e,n,t){(function(n){e.exports=n.require=t("./shared/require-global.js")}).call(n,t("../../../lib/node_modules/webpack/buildin/global.js"))}});
Consider high-intensity interval training. Adding shorter, high-intensity workouts to your routine has been shown to burn fat. While the endurance you gain from running is great, it's not particularly helpful when it comes to burning fat, especially the more your body adjusts to your routine. During a high-intensity workout, you can't work out nearly as long, but mixing it in with your regular cardio routine will help blast away fat.

Simply take a good hard look at your diet, make a few modifications you can stick with and get your body moving. Not sure where you stand on diet? Write down everything you eat this week, then compare it to the list above and see where you could have made better choices. Don’t beat yourself up though, learning how to lose stomach fat fast is a process. Simply find areas to improve and work on them next week.
Having a hearty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast isn't just delicious, it's great for your waistline. "The whole grains not only absorb water to make you feel more full, but they're also high in soluble fiber to keep you feeling satisfied for long periods of time," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It. To really prevent any trips to the vending machine between meals, Taub-Dix recommends adding a spoonful of nut butter to your oats.
Pace around your office while talking on the phone or run into the bank to cash your check instead of using the drive-thru. When researchers at the Mayo Clinic fed a group of volunteers an extra 1,000 calories a day over the course of eight weeks, they found sedentary individuals gained eight times more weight than those who fidgeted a lot during the day.
In addition to helping maintain heart health and keep inflammation levels under control, monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, may stop belly fat before it starts. Research in the journal Diabetes Care found that people who got roughly 25 percent of their total daily calories from MUFAs gained no visceral fat over the course of the study, while those who ate less MUFAs and more carbs added fat to their midsections. My favorite MUFA-rich food is olive oil because you can use it in so many meals (check out the belly-blasting breakfast I recommend), but avocados and nuts are other excellent sources. Pine nuts are particularly great because they also contain high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These acids increase levels of two hormones that signal your brain when you’re full. Try snacking on one ounce of pine nuts (about the amount you can fit in a shot glass) 20 minutes before mealtime to avoid overeating.
Limit foods high in refined carbohydrates and refined sugar (white bread, white pasta, white rice), and replace them with high fibre ‘complex carbs’ – think: whole grains, brown rice, sweet potato, oats, beans and pulses. Fill your boots with as many vegetables as possible – they’re low calorie, high in micronutrients, and the fibre in them will keep you full.
Research published in the Journal of Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases concluded that following the Mediterranean diet could help to mitigate the harmful effects of belly fat on your heart. Better yet, it boosts the number of healthy bacteria in your gut – a study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition saw levels rise by up to seven per cent, compared with a western diet.
The zero-calorie tag is particularly tempting when you’re desperate to drop fat, but honestly you’ll see better results if you avoid any artificial sweeteners in your diet. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, when your brain registers something as sweet but fails to get those calories associated with it, it causes your body to seek them elsewhere, leading to excess calorie intake. In addition, popular sweeteners like Splenda are 300-600 times sweeter than real sugar on average, and consuming them may send your sweet cravings through the roof, potentially leading to poor food choices. Steer clear of the fake stuff and reach for the real stuff in moderation if you absolutely need something sweet. However, if you’re really serious about getting rid of your excess fat it would serve you best to avoid added sugar at all costs.
Use the meal as a reward for a week’s worth of hard work, or the completion of a project you’ve been dreading. “It’s OK for people to blow one meal a week without feeling guilty,” says James W. Anderson, M.D., director of the Metabolic Research Group at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “If you follow a healthy diet 95% of the time, you can relax and enjoy yourself the other 5% of the time without gaining weight.”
The internal and external obliques, which I like to call "nature's girdle," are located at the sides of the rectus abdominis. They are the muscles you use when you bend sideways at the spine or twist at the waist. They also contract to compress the abdomen, so you should work them just as hard as you work the rectus abdominis. Adding a twist to crunches works, as well as dumbbell side bends, but be careful not to use any jerky motions, especially if you've had back problems.
But don’t lose hope just yet. You can still incorporate strategies that help you lose total body fat, which will benefit your belly. At the end of the day, nothing sheds belly fat like diet, exercise, and everyday changes to your lifestyle. The slimmer stomach of your dreams is always within reach, but it takes time and dedication. Commit to these habits, and you’ll start dropping pounds before you know it.
"America has been trying to follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet for 40 years, and where has that gotten us? To being one of the heaviest countries in the world," says David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., obesity expert and author of Always Hungry. Think about it: "The problem is when you cut back on calories like that, your body tries to fight back with increased hunger and a slower metabolism because it thinks it's going into starvation mode," he says. Meanwhile, you eventually eat again to satiate the hunger pangs, and likely eat more because, well, you're insanely hungry. But your metabolism is still operating on that low level, so calories don't get burned fast enough and they get stored as fat. Ludwig says this cycle continues until you feed your body regularly (he suggests at least three meals and two snacks in between) with real food made from real ingredients. That matters more than the calories it's made up of, so repeat after us: I will always choose an all-natural version of something over food that's labeled low-calorie or fat-free.
Losing belly fat shouldn’t mean strict dieting or deprivation. “People often think that you have to eat certain foods or avoid certain foods [to lose weight] and in reality, it comes down to eating more of a balanced diet that is portion- and calorie-controlled,” says Zeratsky. “This allows your body to have enough energy to do what it wants to do while managing weight.”
×