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As we get older, many of us notice more fat around our bellies and how difficult it can be to lose it. This type of fat (also called visceral fat) surrounds our organs and also increases the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. As we age, we tend to lose more muscle mass and our metabolism becomes slower (resulting in us not being able to burn off calories more quickly) which leads to increased belly fat.
You’ve tried everything- one trendy diet after another to core exercises that target your belly fat. You have even have tried some weight loss programs and filling up your pantry with low fat foods. However, nothing seems to get rid of that stubborn belly fat- what gives?
Well, it is important to remember that there can be many different causes that lead to increased belly fat. Many of us just focus on one or two of these causes. However, in order to keep the weight off, it is important to address the following causes.
Scientific Causes Of Weight Gain:
1. Inactivity and increased stress levels
In today’s hurried and fast paced society, stress is very common in all aspects of our life- from dealing with our family to our jobs and daily commute. High amounts of stress can have a negative effect on our mental state and weight.
Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that makes you crave unhealthy snacks that are filled with bad fats and simple carbohydrates (cookies, fries, chips, etc.). Increased cortisol levels over time can also contribute to belly fat, keep you up at night, increase blood pressure, and increase blood sugar levels in our body.
If you’re feeling stressed, try some activities to help you relax. Meditating, breathing exercises, listening to nature sounds or even going for an outdoor walk can all help.
Lack of movement is also very prevalent in our society- most Americans spend more than 10 hours per day in a seated position. Try and set a goal to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise each week. This helps increase your metabolism, avoid excess belly fat, and support healthy hormone levels.
2. Hormone changes
Aging affects hormone production in both women and men, which can result in changes in body fat distribution. A decrease in estrogen levels, as seen in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, can cause an increase in belly fat.
More women than men also experience hypothyroid symptoms, or a lower than optimal functioning of the thyroid gland. This results in lower metabolism- resulting in increased body fat, especially in the abdominal area.
In older men, especially in those over 40 years old, testosterone levels tend to decrease affecting metabolism. This, in turn, can also cause decreased muscle mass and increased weight gain.
Avoiding a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, as well as setting a goal for daily aerobic exercise can help you optimize these diminished hormone levels.
3. A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
Consuming unhealthy foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can temporarily make us feel less stressed by reducing our cortisol levels. When we have higher than normal blood sugar levels, our body has to rapidly produce insulin in an attempt to lower the increased blood sugar and keep it consistent. The continuous spike in blood sugar and insulin levels from eating meals that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates may eventually lead to insulin resistance, which can cause weight gain- especially in the abdominal area.
Instead, try to focus on whole foods that are high in fiber- such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts- which can help you stay full longer. Centering your diet on whole foods makes it so much easier to control your caloric intake.
It doesn’t have to be hard to ensure you’re getting enough fiber. Our Pineapple Chia Cleanse is packed with all the fiber you need, which helps to keep your cravings and blood sugar under control.
4. Not getting enough sleep
When it comes to losing weight, sleep is just as important as getting daily exercise and consuming a healthy diet. Those that don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developingobesity. Studies have shown that lack of sleep canaffect the hormones that regulate our body weight and hunger, causing us to crave more of those unhealthy midnight snacks.
Try and aim for at least getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. For some other great tips on how to get a more restful sleep, please check out our blog.
* It is also important to ask your doctor to test your blood sugar, cortisol, thyroid, and estrogen and/or testosterone levels if not done so already.
Dr. Jason’s Belly Fat Busting Protocol
In addition to the lifestyle suggestions listed above, we would suggest incorporating the following products below in order to optimize weight loss in the abdominal area.
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