What is belly fat?

What is belly fat and why can’t we seem to lose it? This is a question I have been asked many times over the years. Especially from post-natal clients. I answer the question in this short article.

Energy surplus

First of all, any increase in body fat wherever you store it is always going to come from an energy surplus. In other words, you have consumed more calories than you have burnt. The excess has been converted into body fat and stored somewhere on your body. Usually, the place you don’t want it.

Energy deficit

In order to lose that excess body fat we now have to create a calorie deficit. Burn more calories than we consume so that our body is forced into breaking down body fat to fulfil the energy deficit.

Belly fat

There is a theory that the stress hormone cortisol encourages fat storage around the abdomen therefore stress management could also be helpful for avoiding this unwanted abdominal fat. Remember. the body will always need somebody fat around the middle as it helps protect our vital organs. However, too much and that increases the risk of heart disease.

Spot reducing

Spot reducing which is burning body fat from specific areas of the body is not possible. At least, not yet anyway. Unless you resort to liposuction! However, if you increase physical activity and reduce calorie intake, in order to create an energy deficit, then over time you should see a reduction in body fat in stubborn areas such as the tummy. It may be the last place it comes from but it will still come off eventually.

Post-natal women

The above still applies to post-natal mums. However, there will also be some stretching of the skin around the tummy from the baby. So it is not just body fat, there will also be excess skin. The skin is very elastic and should return back to its original state but not always. Many women consider surgery with the hope of removing excess skin. Although, this certainly is an option it is not one I would necessarily encourage or discourage. It is the decision of the individual after weighing up all the pros and cons.

Final thought

Exercise and nutrition are wonderful tools for sculpting physiques that boost confidence and self-esteem. However, it still has its limitations. My advice to anyone is to focus on progress, not perfection.  Progress is achievable, whilst the pursuit of perfection just leads to disappointment.

Controllable the controllable 🤟

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