Different bodies store fat differently. A commonplace that almost everyone’s body stores fat is in the lower belly. This is usually influenced by factors like genes, diet, inflammation, and lifestyle choices. Many people usually want to get rid of their belly fat and especially their lower belly fat. First of all, it is a self-confidence crusher as you can’t walk confidently with a big tummy. Secondly, it comes with increased risks of certain diseases, which leads to a lower quality of life. In this read, we shall look at ways on how to lose lower belly fat.
Lower stomach fat is one of the hardest fat to lose in your body. The reason for this is the fact that the fat cells that gather around your lower abdomen are known as ‘beta’ fat cells, and they are very hard to change.
Although you might want to lose that lower belly fat, it is important to know you cannot target weight loss. This means you can choose to lose weight for a particular body part or organ only. To lose your lower belly fat, you have to lose overall fat and weight all over your body.
Read More: Yoga Poses For Weight Loss: Get In Shape And Lose Belly Fat With These Simple Asanas
Types Of Belly Fat
When it comes to belly fat, there are two main types. These are subcutaneous belly fat and visceral belly fat.
Subcutaneous belly fat is found just underneath the skin. When people say they want to lose belly fat, this is mostly what they are referring to. It is the visible stomach overhang that can be touched and seen. This particular type of fat is not only found in the stomach. It is also seen in other parts of your body like your buttocks, arms, legs, and so on. It is any fat that you can pinch between your fingers. This is the fat most people see and decide to lose weight for, although this type of fat is not particularly dangerous.
Visceral belly fat is located inside your body. Unlike subcutaneous fat, you cannot see it. It usually surrounds most of your internal body organs. This includes your heart, lungs, intestines, liver, and other major organs. This type of fat is very dangerous and is harmful to your body as it pumps substances called cytokines into your bloodstream. These substances cause inflammation and are known to lead to health conditions such as diabetes, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, inflammation throughout your entire body, liver problems, etc.
Causes Of Lower Belly Fat
As mentioned above, there are so many factors that can lead to belly fat, and that love handles you don’t like.
Here are some reasons you might be having lower belly fat:
You Don’t Take Enough Fiber
Fiber is very important in your diet as it helps you feel full faster and for longer, hence reducing your daily calorie intake (3). Fiber also helps stabilize your hunger hormones and reduces the calorie absorption of food. All this helps prevent weight gain and, most importantly, lower belly fat.
You Consume Sugary Foods And Drinks
By now, you should know foods with added sugar are not good for your health. Apart from increasing the risk of diabetes, they are also the reason you can’t rock the two-piece bikini. It is hard to resist sugary foods and drinks because they are too sweet. The reason sugary foods cause lower belly fat is from their high fructose content.
A ten-week study was done on overweight and obese people who consumed 25% of their calories as fructose-sweetened beverages (5). The study aimed to assess the relative effects of dietary sugars during sustained consumption in human beings. The people experienced a decrease in insulin sensitivity, as well as an increase in belly fat (5).
The reason for the increase in belly fat is that taking fructose in high amounts can reduce fat-burning properties in people and your metabolism. Reduced-fat burning properties and metabolism will result in your body not being able to burn most of the calories you consume, and as a result, the extra calories are stored in the stomach leading to lower belly fat.
You Consume A Lot Of Trans Fat
Trans fats are fats that are usually created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats to make the fats more stable (7). They are usually used on packaged foods so that they can extend how long the foods can last without going bad. Trans fats are quite unhealthy and are known to cause inflammation that leads to a big lower belly. It also increases the risk of getting other conditions such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular diseases, and many other health conditions.
You Are Too Stressed
Stress is a common feature of our lives. There are so many things that can stress us out. Work, school, relationships, and finances are all examples of things that can make us feel wired. When you are stressed, your body produces a hormone known as cortisol (7). This hormone helps your body to respond to stress. When it is produced in large amounts, it can lead to weight gain. This is because when most people are stressed, they tend to overeat. Instead of the excess calories being stored throughout the entire body as fat, cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly.
You Do Not Exercise
To live a healthy life, you have to eat well, avoid stress, sleep enough, and exercise. Exercise is an important part of people’s lives. Not so many people exercise, especially in this generation where everything is at the click of a button. Hence, people don’t exercise and are also inactive.
Lack of exercise leads to people gaining extra weight as they do not burn all the calories they are taking in (3). This leads to people having tummy fat, as well as an increase in body fat.
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You Do Not Take Enough Proteins
Another reason you may be having lower belly fat is that you don’t take enough protein. High protein intake is key when it comes to preventing weight gain. Proteins make you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer, thus, helps reduce your daily calorie intake (3). Proteins also increase your metabolic rate, and in the long run, cause a reduction in your calorie intake. When your diet has less protein, you are more likely to gain weight and most importantly belly fat compared to a person whose diet has lots of proteins. In addition to this, when you have high levels of a hormone known as a neuropeptide, you have more appetite, which in the long run leads to gaining belly fat. This hormone increases when your protein intake is low.
You Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is drunk in all parts of the world, and it is actually not a bad thing when taken in moderation. When you take alcohol in high amounts, it increases the risk of inflammation, liver disease, and other health conditions. Belly fat is not referred to as a beer belly for no reason. Alcohol is known to suppress fat burning in our bodies. In addition to that, the excess calories from alcohol are usually partly stored as belly fat (7).
Men who consume more than three drinks in a single day have an eighty percent more likelihood of growing a beer belly than men who consume less alcohol. If you drink too much alcohol, a good way of dealing with your love handles might be by reducing your consumption of this beverage.
Your genes have a say in whether you are likely to have love handles or not. Some people have genes that influence the tendency to store fat in the abdomen (3). Genes are known to influence behavior, metabolism, and the risk of developing obesity-related conditions.
You Don’t Sleep Enough
Sleep is crucial when it comes to weight management. Sleep helps prevent unhealthy eating habits such as midnight snacking, which in the long run may lead to weight gain.
Other factors like pregnancy, which definitely does not need an explanation, can also cause lower belly fat.
Read More: Meditation For Insomnia: Best Techniques To Ensure A Good Night’s Sleep
How To Lose Lower Belly Fat And Love Handles Fast?
Since now we’ve highlighted the main causes of lower belly fat, here are some ways you can lose it:
Dieting is a nice place to start. Remember, you can’t target weight loss; hence you have to lose overall weight so that you can get rid of lower belly fat. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume (4). This leads to a calorie deficit, which results in weight loss. Even though you might be in a hurry to lose lower belly fat, it is recommended you reduce your calorie intake by about 500 calories a day. This will lead to you losing 1 to 2 pounds in a week, which is the recommended rate of weight loss.
Just as mentioned earlier, sleep is important when it comes to weight management. A person should sleep for at least eight hours every day. A study that was done showed that people who sleep for more than 7 hours every night gain less visceral fat compared to people who sleep for 5 hours and less per night (8). This shows how sleep is important when it comes to getting rid of those love handles.
This is a proven way of losing weight and lower belly fat. The best part about exercising is that there is something for everyone regardless of their age, gender, schedule, finances, fitness level, and all. Since you aim to lose weight, go for exercises that increase your metabolism, and make you burn a lot of fat. Examples of exercises that are effective when it comes to losing that lower belly fat are burpees, mountain climbers, kettlebell swings, lunges, sprinting, jumping rope, and so on (6). If you don’t know which exercises are best for you, you should consult an expert as they are the best people to direct you. If you also have an injury or health issue, you should also consult an expert before starting any exercise program.
Different people have different ways of dealing with stress. Some people work out, others meditate, others do yoga, others listen to music, and so on. Stress, as you’ve seen earlier, will lead to you having lower belly fat. Find a way that works best for you and use it anytime you are stressed (8). We could tell you to avoid being stressed, but we all know that is impossible. However, having a good way of managing your stress helps your fight towards losing that lower belly fat.
If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!
Good thing we haven’t said do not drink any alcohol as that would have been where most of you would have stopped reading this article. Alcohol can prevent weight loss in many different ways. One way is in that heavy alcohol drinking can stimulate food intake (2). This results in taking in more calories than your body burn and hence resulting in weight gain.
Drinking a lot of alcohol can also overload the liver whereby the liver prioritizes processing the alcohol over the foods and thus results in the body storing those unprocessed foods as fat (2).
Another way alcohol can cause weight gain is from the fact that alcohol does contain calories (2). Those calories added to your daily intake of calories will result in you taking more calories than your burning can burn hence weight gain. You can deal with your lower belly fat by reducing the amount of alcohol you take.
Eating a lot of protein will help in weight management. High protein intake will increase the release of a hormone that decreases your appetite and promotes fullness (4). This reduces the number of calories you take hence resulting in weight loss.
Proteins are also effective when it comes to building muscles and muscles help in weight loss (1) as they increase your metabolic rate. Muscles burn more calories at rest compared to fat mass, and this results in losing that lower belly fat that has been disturbing you.
Other ways you can lose lower belly fat include: avoiding processed foods since they contain trans fat, avoiding sugary foods and drinks, and eating a lot of fiber.
The Bottom Line
Highlighted are ways on how to lose lower belly fat. Before you can try any of the ways highlighted in this article, it is always advisable to consult an expert as they may create an individualized plan for you to help deal with your lower belly fat. Remember, you can target fat loss, thus, you cannot just lose lower belly fat alone. For you to lose lower belly fat, you have to lose weight altogether.
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. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 9 Ways to Ditch Lower Belly Fat That Don’t Involve Crunches (2020, greatist.com)
- 12 Science-Backed Ways to Lose Belly Fat for Good, According to Weight Loss Experts (2019, prevention.com)
- 12 Things That Make You Gain Belly Fat (2016, healthline.com)
- 20 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat (Backed by Science) (2020, healthline.com)
- Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- No, You Can’t Target Belly Fat, But These 7 Exercises Will Give a Full-Body Burn (2020, menshealth.com)
- The Science Behind Losing ‘Belly Fat’: Your Need-to-Know Guide (2020, menshealth.com)
- The Truth About Belly Fat (n.d., webmd.com)