We asked our Facebook fans about their biggest bare-the-body worry: a fat belly, a saggy butt or flabby arms. Not surprisingly, nearly 80 percent chose a fat belly. One Facebook fan said, “I am physically active…[and] am losing weight, but my stomach won’t get flat enough.” She’s hardly alone.
So, why is belly fat so stubborn—and how can you get rid of it? We went to our experts for answers. Here’s what we discovered.
Why belly fat is so stubborn
1. You’re too stressed. Stress hormones not only encourage your body to pack on more pounds in general, but also more belly fat in particular.
2. You’re getting older. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, “The older you get, the more reluctant belly fat becomes.” He adds, “Doing what you’ve done in the past is most likely not going to work as well as it once did. You’ve got to change it up.”
3. You’re eating for speed. Packaged foods contain your belly’s biggest enemies: partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and simple carbs. Trans fats increase the fat in your midsection, says Dr. Dean Ornish. They even redistribute fat from other parts of the body to the belly.
Three ways to blast that belly
You can’t spot-reduce belly fat. To lose fat anywhere on your body, you’ll need to eat less and move more. And remember, says personal trainer Jeff Croswell, “This fat didn’t come on overnight . . . so to think that it will come off overnight is ridiculous.” Try these tips to speed your success.
1. Eat the right fats. Make sure your diet is full of belly-busting monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, seeds, olives and olive oil, and avocados. Green tea is another fat burner.
2. Choose the right moves. Surprise! Crunches and sit-ups are often ineffective when it comes to shaving inches from your waistline. Dr. Oz suggests yoga as your belly-blasting alternative.
3. Get more sleep. According to sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, lack of ZZZs affects levels of several hormones that influence appetite. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and you should see a flatter belly sooner.
Dropping belly fat won’t just make you look better, it will make you healthier, too. That’s because carrying extra weight in your abdomen puts you at increased risk for everything from diabetes to heart disease to cancer.
For those of you who are more worried about a saggy butt, try Dr. Mike Clark’s butt and thigh workout. If you need a little extra help slimming down and getting into shape, try exercises designed to target your trouble spots.