Reduce Stubborn Belly Fat by Ditching Excess Hormones
Losing stubborn belly fat may not be as tough if you understand how certain chemicals affect your weight. These chemicals (called estrogenic) can cause your body to create an abundance of estrogen. When there's too much estrogen around, your weight loss attempts may continue to fall short!
In the US alone, there are nine major holidays throughout the year. That doesn’t even include birthday parties, sporting events, and other special occasions that people celebrate on a personal level. (Like anniversaries, birth of a new child, graduations, social/family gatherings, and weddings.)
The downfall is that all of these special days are typically celebrated with loads of fattening foods. Getting into a cycle of eating and eating makes your stomach a prime target for extra fat!
However, having an extended belly is not only unappealing, it can be down right dangerous, even if you don’t have high amounts of fat anywhere else on your body. To understand how to lose stubborn belly fat, first you need to understand how fat is stored in your body.
Fat is stored in two ways
Subcutaneous fat – The skin you can pinch just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen.
Visceral fat - Deeper inside, around the vital organs. (heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys).
Subcutaneous fat is the fat you can pinch but visceral fat cannot be visibly seen by the naked eye.
Even though many people are self-conscious about the fat they see hanging over their pants, few get enough motivation to do anything about it. Research shows that the hidden visceral fat always possesses the biggest threat. No matter what your weight, a large waist circumference indicates that you are at risk.
Foods That Increase Stubborn Belly Fat
I would bet that you already know the major contributors! But in case you don't, they are packaged foods, non-essential fats, processed meals, partially hydrogenated oils, and enriched flours. These are certainly the worst offenders.
Trans fats, (found in in margarine, packaged cookies, crackers, and pasta), also increase stubborn belly fat because they tend to redistribute fat from other parts of the body to the belly.
How Hormones Called Xenoestrogens Increase Stubborn Belly Fat
The number one reason it’s so hard to lose belly fat is your hormones.
Everyone is exposed to daily amounts of estrogenic chemicals, known as xenoestrogens. They are capable of mimicking estrogen-like activity in your body. Xenoestogens are found in the air, car emissions, detergents, paints, plastics, nail polishes, lotions, soaps, food, and water. The most potent sources of xenoestrogens are petroleum based products like pollution, plastics, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.
An overabundance of xenoestrogens may show up as belly fat, (as well as other areas that contain stubborn fat), allergies, recurring sinus infections, fatigue, water retention, and mood swings. Xenoestrogens are not the only reason for excess estrogen however.
Obesity, aging, birth control pills, estrogen replacement drugs (HRT), anabolic steroids, hormones found in meat and dairy, and poor diet are also major contributors. The 'thickening' of a woman's body and the 'softening' of a man's body are often related to excess estrogen.
Estrogen excesses promote the growth of estrogen sensitive tissues, leading to an increased size of adipose (fat) tissues in the waist, abdomen and other estrogen sensitive fat tissues. For men, it shows up mainly in the belly and chest but for women, it can be expressed in the belly, lower buttocks, upper thighs, and the back of the arms. In some cases, excess estrogen causes feminization of men's bodies with conditions such as gynecomastia. (men's enlarged breasts)
Estrogen sensitive fat tissues are considered to be stubborn fat, which is due to their high resistance to fat burning. Generally, not even diet or exercise can help remove this estrogen sensitive persistent fat.
The only way to eliminate stubborn fat is to reduce excess estrogen.
How to Reduce Excess Estrogen
Estrogen inhibiting compounds, (called estrogen inhibitors) found in plants (flavonoids and indoles) can help fight stubborn belly fat. These compounds are found in chamomile, honey, citrus fruits, garlic, onion, and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage). Other beneficial estrogen inhibitors are omega 3 fatty acids, derived from flaxseed, hempseed and fatty fish.
Estrogen promoters are found in pesticides/herbicides (on fruits and vegetables), hormones (in meat and dairy), soy foods high in soy isoflavones, plastic derivatives (in packaged foods and water), diets high in animal fat, and excessive consumption of omega 6 rich oils (such as vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, and soy oils).
Its interesting to note that 'processing' increases the concentration of the already existing estrogen-like compounds found in many common foods. Processed soy products may be more estrogenic than actual soybeans and commercially processed milk or whey protein products may be more estrogenic than plain milk or yogurt. (Unless they're organic or pesticide free.)
Some compounds are neutral to estrogen. Omega 9 fatty acids, (monounsaturated oil), found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds are neutral and safe to consume. Fruits that contain a peel (such as bananas, oranges, grapefruit, or avocado), are considered to be much safer than their counterparts without a peel, such as grapes, blueberries, or strawberries.
Exercises That May Help Target Stubborn Belly Fat
Although there aren't any exercises that can specifically target stubborn belly fat, when you strengthen the core muscles, you may also help reduce stubborn belly fat.
Strengthens your core muscles and helps build abdominal muscles better than sit ups or crunches!
Cat N’ Cow Pose
Strengthens core, activates abdominal muscles, elongates spine, and reduces lower back pain.
Get on all fours. Arch your back like a cat, and work the deep abdominal muscles by inhaling and pulling the stomach back toward the spine. Inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds.
Regardless what you've heard or read, stubborn belly fat is one of the easiest types of fat to get rid of. It may take a little time to find the best approach for you but that’s OK. The point is to start. All you have is today!