The why and how to get rid of stomach lines
Many of you must be aware of the skin folds on your belly when you sit down or bend over. While some of you seem to be ok with these fat rolls, others certainly are not, believing those things to be unattractive. Having stomach creases most likely makes you feel self-conscious and more careful in choosing what to wear, as some types of clothes tend to highlight the folds. One common example of this comes with how some prefer avoiding putting on tight clothes. Overall it is apparent that having stomach cellulite can shatter your confidence and mental wellbeing, which in turn can bring harm to your physical health.
It is not only a matter of attractiveness: stomach lines can be detrimental on different levels, leading to a myriad of problems. Consequently, it is recommended to get rid of them as soon as possible. So, in case you are among those who feel your stomach creases are so large that they make you feel uncomfortable, here is the skinny on stomach creases and ways to get rid of them.
What are stomach creases?
Stomach creases are horizontal fat folds on your stomach that you can get as you sit down. Usually, stomach creases appear in overweight people but they are not uncommon among people with normal weight. In this case, the cellulite on your skin might become slightly visible when you sit down or lean over.
What causes horizontal lines on the stomach?
There are numerous reasons for the rolls on your belly, and some of them are really unexpected. For example, you can get stomach creases simply because of dieting and drastic weight loss. Indeed, after shedding a considerable number of pounds, your skin gets loose and does not get in shape immediately. When you are young, your skin is elastic, being able to reduce in amount and quickly firm up. As you are growing older, on the other hand, it becomes challenging to manage your excess skin, which results in horizontal lines on your stomach (5, 14).
Another cause of stomach lines is poor posture. Due to it, you can get belly creases even in the standing position. Holding a nice posture, you will make your stomach lines less visible and, subsequently, make your torso look more attractive (5).
The most common and obvious reason for fat rolls on the stomach is excess fat in the area, which is usually accompanied by being overweight. The excess of belly fat, also known as visceral fat, can induce visceral obesity with a number of health problems ensuing, including (1, 13):
- Increased cholesterol levels. Visceral fat is located closely to the portal vein, which transports blood from intestines to the liver.
- Heart conditions.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Increased chance of stroke.
- High blood pressure. Visceral fat can narrow your vessels, leading to high blood pressure and ensuing problems.
Accordingly, it is crucial to control your visceral fat and keep it within the normal boundaries to prevent severe health problems.
How to measure visceral fat for stomach lines prevention?
Without a shadow of a doubt, it is strongly recommended to measure the amount of visceral fat in the body to avoid diseases linked to obesity. Here’s how you can do it:
This formula is rather simple: just divide your waist circumference by your hip size. Before that, however, you need to measure your waist and hip sizes accurately enough to further determine the amount of visceral fat in your body. Knowing this, you will identify the cause of your stomach creases lines for sure. In addition, this will guide you to find the right strategy that will help you get rid of the fat lines in the area. To gauge your waist circumference, you will need to wrap a measuring tape around your stomach, so that it crosses the belly button. The tape measure should only rest on your skin rather than lying tightly on it. Gently inhale and on your exhalation take the measure (4).
After doing this, you can proceed to gauging your hip size. Stand tall with your feet directly underneath your hips and wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your hips. Then, take the measure (4).
After going through these two steps, apply the measures to the simple formula: just divide your waist circumference by your hip size (waist circumference / hip size).
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This method is even easier than the previous one because it hardly requires any mathematical calculations. All you need is to take the measurement of your waist and based on that conclude whether the visceral fat is the primary cause of your stomach fold lines. If you are a woman, and your waist size is over 35 inches, it is a sign that you have visceral fat and should find out how to get rid of stomach lines. The same goes for men with the waist size of 45 and more inches. Nevertheless, the waist size method is definitely not foolproof, as it is very general. In fact, it does not take your height into account, which is a decisive factor in determining whether or not your waist size is normal for you (13).
BMI (Body Mass Index)
It is the most famous method to determine whether or not your weight is perfect for you. BMI takes your height and weight into consideration, making it look like a credible tool at first glance. The formula is the same for women and men. If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are considered underweight. On the other hand, if your BMI exceeds 25, you are likely to be overweight. Accordingly, having BMI within 18.5 and 24.9 boundaries is deemed normal (3, 13). However, BMI is not that relevant considering it does not distinguish between fat and muscle mass (15). Consequently, the index can easily confuse obesity with great muscle mass, showing implausible results, which could throw you into panic for no reason.
This is the most expensive yet effective method on this list. What imaging tests do is show the exact amount of visceral fat in your body. Such tests as CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) can also identify how much visceral fat you have in your body (13).
How to get rid of stomach lines?
If you have started noticing creases on your belly, you might have already begun worrying about how these make you look. Large stomach fold lines usually point out the presence of visceral fat in your body, which is unhealthy. Plus, having stomach lines restricts you in your daily activity, clothes choice, etc. Furthermore, visceral fat can entail health problems, which range in severity from insignificant to deadly. Due to the insecurities visceral fat provides, you might want to find the right strategy of getting rid of it and stomach crease lines correspondingly. Here’s how you could achieve your goal:
Cut down on your caloric intake
Reducing your caloric intake does not necessarily mean eating less. Indeed, apart from consuming less food, you can simply reconsider your meal plan. Calculate how many calories each dish you eat contains and think about which foods you can substitute with low-calorie variants. Foods that are low in calories are usually high in water and fiber (6). In general, you are recommended to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 calories to lose 1 pound a week (2). In fact, you should aim at burning 1-2 pounds weekly to lose weight in a healthy manner and avoid possible risks (11).
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Exercising is a must do for those who intend to get rid of fat lines on the stomach. To yield a successful result, you should engage in moderate-intensity training for about half an hour every day. You can practice brisk walking or jogging. To burn your visceral fat even faster, you are recommended to do cardio and strength workouts (8). Overall, to get rid of belly cellulite, you should exercise the same way as if you wanted to slim down. HIIT, which stands for high-intensity interval training, is the most challenging yet effective type of cardio training.
During a HIIT workout, you will have to alternate between intense training and rest. Typically, the ratio ranges from 1:1 to 1:4 or even more, depending on the level of one’s physical fitness. For example, in the 1:1 ratio, the time of both work and rest can be 30 seconds, which is sufficiently intense. The 1:4 ratio is much easier, as in this the rest time is 4 times longer than the work time (e.g., 30 sec : 120 sec) (12). As for the exercises that target only abdominal muscles, they are not helpful in reducing visceral fat. Ab-isolation exercises will only strengthen your core but not help you get rid of stomach lines (8).
Drink plenty of water
Water is considered the healthiest and most useful drink that you can have anywhere and anytime without harming yourself. Furthermore, multiple studies have shown that water intake is associated with weight loss. One study that involved middle-aged people and the elderly showed that water consumption can decrease the meal energy intake (9). According to another study, having a glass of water shortly before a meal can make a person feel less hungry. Likewise, increased water intake can result in increased lipolysis which facilitates fat loss (7). In addition, in a study conducted among 55-75-year-old participants, those who drank 2 cups of water before a meal lost more weight than those who did not. Plus, the study suggests that staying hydrated throughout a day can keep your weight off (10). Accordingly, you should drink a lot of water every day to get rid of stomach crease lines.
Get enough sleep
Sleeping is an integral part of your day, and it is crucial to get enough of it to stay healthy and productive. Apart from this, sleeping 5-8 hours a day can help you keep visceral fat at bay. However, you should make sure you do not oversleep: sleeping for more than 8 hours has been proven to facilitate fat gain (8).
Abstain from smoking
Smoking is notorious for causing a number of health problems, particularly for adding to the visceral fat storage. Interestingly, smokers are more likely to have belly fat than store it on thighs and hips (8).
How to get rid of stomach lines: Takeaways
- Stomach creases are horizontal lines on the belly that appear when you sit down or lean over, so that the excess skin and fat in the area fold.
- There are a few causes for the creases: drastic weight loss, poor posture, and excess fat on the belly. This fat is known as visceral fat, notorious for its deleterious effects on a person’s wellbeing.
- Having excess visceral fat can lead to increased cholesterol levels, heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, increased chance of stroke, Alzheimer’s, and high blood pressure.
- It is important to regularly measure the amount of visceral fat in your body, which you could do with the help of the following methods: hip-to-waist ratio, waist size, BMI, and imaging tests.
- How to get rid of stomach lines? All you need to do is:
- Eat fewer calories (aim at cutting 500 calories a day to lose weight gradually and harmlessly)
- Exercise regularly (the most impactful types of workouts are strength and cardio training. Isolation exercises usually do not reduce visceral fat)
- Drink a lot of water (it curbs your appetite and triggers the fat-burning process)
- Sleep 5-8 hours a day (sleeping less or more than that can contribute to fat gain and, correspondingly, stomach creases)
- Do not smoke (smoking facilitates fat gain in the abdominal area)
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility.
- Abdominal fat and what to do about it (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- Are There Ways to Get Rid of Belly Creases? (n.d., livestrong.com)
- Calculate Your Body Mass Index (n.d., nhlbi.nih.gov)
- Calculating Your Waist to Hip Ratio (2019, verywellfit.com)
- Can You Get Rid of Belly Fat Rolls? (2020, verywellfit.com)
- Cutting Calories (2020, cdc.gov)
- Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Taking aim at belly fat (2010, health.harvard.edu)
- Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older adults (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water May Be Secret Weapon in Weight Loss (2010, webmd.com)
- Weight loss: 6 strategies for success (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- What Is The Best HIIT Workout? (2018, bodybuilding.com)
- What Is Visceral Fat? (n.d., webmd.com)
- What to Do About Loose Skin After Weight Loss (2019, verywellfit.com)
- What Your BMI Doesn’t Tell You (n.d., webmd.com)