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What Causes Belly Fat?

Updated on October 6, 2009
Belly Fat
Belly Fat

Many people, men and women, constantly fight with belly fat. They try many of the so-called guaranteed diets, spend large amounts of money on exercise equipment, or just give up and say the heck with it all.

Before endeavoring to burn belly fat and toning abs, you need to understand about how the body works, and discover why you are plagued with battling the bulge.

Some people think belly fat stems from bad eating habits or sedentary lifestyles.   Although these can be causes, there are more reasons.


After menopause, sometimes a woman's body begins storing fat.  The fat is stored in different areas of the body, but often settles on the belly. Menopausal and post-menopausal women appear to gain weight for no apparent reason.  They may be active and exercise daily, but still have belly fat. 


Fat that is stored in the lower part of a woman's gives the body a pear-shape. And, if the fat is stored in the middle section of the body, an apple body shape is created.

Think about your family members and relatives.  If many of your relatives have belly fat around the mid-section, you might have the same genes in your body.  This will cause you to have an apple body shape, if you happen to gain weight.


Your belly doesn't get bigger because of stress, but if you're in a stressful situation or environment, the body releases cortisol, and in turn your body gets bigger.

Cortisol production causes the liver to produce excess sugar.  Thus you begin to feel hungry, and eat or snack more often.


Stress has been known to cause gastrointestinal problems that leave you gassy and bloated.  Poor digestion, gas and bloating can lead to pesky belly fat.


Aging causes the body's metabolism to slow down. When this happens, you burn fewer calories, and eating less might have no effect to your belly fat.  You can give your metabolism a jump-start by increasing exercise.

Poor Posture:

People with poor posture tend to have "pot belly" appearances. Stand hunched over, in front of a mirror, and look at your stomach area. Now, stand erect and straight.  Perhaps the belly bulge is more noticeable when slouching or allowing the body to stand with poor posture. 

Even if the belly fat is only minimal, good posture can make a big difference in how the stomach area looks.

Eating Late at Night:

Never eat and go to bed!  Going to bed with a full stomach provides greater risks for the body to store fat in and around the belly area.  If you must munch late at night, eat something healthy like a banana, celery, or a few almonds.

Exercising is considered to be a good thing, but there are stomach exercises that are not beneficial. Working out the wrong way can injure you and provide no results.


Remember to keep your knees bent with feet flat on the floor when doing crunches. Dropping your knees to one side can squeeze the vertebrae and injure your back.


Actually, traditional sit-ups do very little for the stomach muscles. Even if sit-ups are done correctly, most of the strain is placed on the hip muscles.

Leg Lifts:

Leg lift exercises tend to work the lower back more than the stomach muscles.  The excess strain on your back can, also, cause back injuries.

Exercise Repetitions:

There is no need to do more than 50 stomach exercise repetitions. If you're not seeing results, increasing the repetitions will not help or provide benefits.  Instead, try a alternate exercises while increasing difficulty in your exercise routines.


Research indicates how you sleep effects the stomach exercise routine. For instance, if you sleep in a position that can cause back pain, you will not want to continue with an exercise program.

Sleeping on the stomach can cause back pain because your body arches. Sleeping on the back can put extra pressure on the lower spine.  Many people prefer to sleep in the fetal position with a pillow between the knees. The fetal position removes excess strain from the spine and can have get rid of morning stiffness.


All stomach exercises need to have some resistance to be effective.  Resistance bands, exercise balls, and gravity provide the opposing force needed to make your routine effective.

Be sure to research the benefits and/or dangers of the type of exercise you are considering, and ask your doctor if your body is strong enough for the specific exercise you want to do.


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    • profile image

      Flatten Stomach 8 years ago

      Leg lifts are one of my favourite stomach exercises.

      A variety of different stomach exercses is key!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thanks for the great belly hub, I'm going to useit. creativeone59