If you are a woman, Is your tummy like the one in the picture below? If you are a man, is your tummy like this in the picture below? In this series, you will discover the major causes of belly fat. Old age could contribute to an expanding waistline. For women, this can be especially true after menopause or childbirth, when body fat tends to shift to the abdomen. An increase in belly fat can do more than make it difficult for you to zip up your jeans and look ugly and shapeless as you can see in the pictures above. Belly fat is the warehouse of serious health risks.

But the good news is that the threats posed by belly fat can be completely eliminated. You will discover how to eliminate belly fat and keep it off forever at the end of this series. The simple explanation for weight gain, either in your belly or any other part of your body is largely determined by how you balance the calories you eat with the energy you burn. If you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to gain weight – including belly fat. For instance, if you consume 1500 calories a day and you burn only 1000 calories through physical activities same day, you have excess 500 calories. What happens is that the excess 500 calories would be converted to fat. This is just the explanation why you have belly fat, are overweight or obese – you are consuming more calories than you burn.

However, researches have shown that there are other leading causes of excess belly fat in men and women. We have two types of body Fat. They are Subcutaneous fat and Visceral fat. Subcutaneous Fat: This fat is visible to the eye because it is located just underneath your skin. In fact the name subcutaneous means – beneath the skin. While excess subcutaneous fat can certainly accumulate in the belly area, subcutaneous  is about 80% of all body fat. When you pinch your stomach, that excess flesh you can hold with your hand, there lies the subcutaneous fat.

Excess subcutaneous fat is very ugly and also poses health risks to you. Visceral Fat: Visceral fat on the other hand is the unseen fat that lies deep within the body, surrounding your organs and is often very solid and hard. Though both fats are unhealthy, visceral fat appears to be more dangerous with greater risk factors such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hormone imbalances, cancer and even sleep apnea. As visceral fat increases, it literally stifles your organs. As fat increases, it compresses the arteries and veins, interfering with blood flow. Excess tummy fat causes your belly to bulge, giving you the feeling of a hard stomach as it builds up beneath your abdominal muscle wall, crammed in among your organs. It is not only damaging to your health but also gives you an ugly shape.

As if that is not enough, belly fat is the most difficult fat to lose. Now let us discuss the major causes of belly fat in men and especially in women. Cause of Belly Fat #1. Stress:  People are living  a fast-paced life today. Both the rich and the poor. Check your daily schedule, look at your friends, family members,children, colleagues, in the market or office and you may notice that they’re always rushing to get from one place to the next because they’re constantly scheduled for the next work or social event, meeting, or sporting practice. It may feel as though you can never just sit and relax for a minute.

Hence,people are often stressed up. In fact people live with stress. When you pass through stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that the adrenal gland secretes in response to stress. It is classified as a glucocorticoid, which is a hormone that increases blood sugar levels. The hormone cortisol leads to overeating, craving for fatty and sugary foods, and relocating of fat from the circulation and storage depots to the deep internal abdominal area. Therefore, the link between stress – cortisol –body fat is that stress release the cortisol hormone and cortisol makes an individual to overeat and crave for sugary/fatty foods, which can lead to belly fat.

Cause of Belly Fat #2: Pregnancy(Childbirth). You may or may not have big tummy before pregnancy but usually after child birth you suddenly develop big tummy or your tummy gets bigger. Pregnancy causes fat gain around your belly because pregnancy stretches your tummy to accommodate the baby. Also, fat protects the child until delivery. However, after delivery, the fat remains there as ‘baby-fat’ which makes a majority of nursing mothers  have big tummy after child birth. Then come to imagine having up to 3, 5,9 babies. You can now appreciate why your tummy looks that ugly.

However, the good news is that you can still have your babies and maintain a flat belly like that of my wife you see here. She is a mother of three and still has a flat tummy. Cause of Belly Fat #3: Sedentary Life Style: A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with irregular or no physical activity. A person who lives a sedentary lifestyle is usually too busy to exercise. Sedentary activities include sitting for long hours a day reading, watching TV, chatting on phone, playing video games much of the day with little or no vigorous physical exercise. The implication of this is that you consume more calories than you burn in a day. So if you are living a sedentary lifestyle, the excess calories you consume will be converted to fat which are usually deposited in your belly, arms, thighs and butts.

Simply put, you live a lifestyle that does not encourage or give you the opportunity to move your body. Cause of Belly Fat #4: Menopause Menopause is the one major unavoidable cause of belly fat in women. During and after menopause, women tend to accumulate fat around the abdomen as a result of changes in their hormones. When Menopause begins in a woman, the amount of estrogen produced by her ovaries drop significantly. This causes the stored fat in her body to migrate from her buttocks, hips and thighs to her waist, and later to be stored in her belly. As you enter the early stages of menopause, maintaining your body weight becomes more and more difficult, and losing weight becomes even more difficult. This is because of the changes in your hormones like the sex hormone -Estrogen.

The low levels of estrogen that come with menopause are associated with loss of subcutaneous fat and gain of visceral fat, or belly fat. Cause of Belly Fat #5: Heredity Although most women tend to have a pear-shaped body, meaning it stores fat more so in the buttocks, hips and thighs. Like men, some women can also have an apple-shaped body which favours storage of tummy fat. This is a cause of belly fat that one of course don’t have any control over. If either of your parents have an apple body shape, you’re unfortunately at a higher risk of developing belly fat. Cause of Belly Fat #6: Poor Digestive System: The digestive system is responsible for absorbing nutrients from our foods and eliminating waste and toxins from our body via the poop. When digestion is less than optimal you can expect a host of health problems including fatigue, weight gain, anemia, nutrient deficiency, toxicity and more.

The problem here is that we eat more of dead foods. Over 90% of our foods are cooked, and in the process of cooking, the enzymes responsible for proper digestion are damaged. Have you observe that when you eat fruits and vegetables, you poop freely? Why is that? Simply because the digestive enzymes in fruits and veggies are living and that is why they improves your digestion. But when you eat your regularly cooked foods you hardly poop, perhaps once a day or once in two or three days. Eating high carbs food late at night, too soon before going to sleep obstructs proper digestion of food.

Going to bed immediately after a meal is also believed to increase the risk of your body storing fat around your abdominal area. Cause of Belly Fat #7:  Consuming Refined Carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates, such as packaged cereals, white bread, white rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits, sweets, candy, pastries, pies, white flour are quickly converted into glucose in your body, spiking insulin levels and setting off the insulin response that stores abdominal fat. Cause of Belly Fat #8 Soft Drinks and Alcohol: I have seen people who can not eat a meal without taking a bottle of coke/malt/glasses of juice. As harmless as it may seem, it has serious impact on your belly. Recall they are loaded with refined sugars. Not only can these drinks trigger an increased insulin response, leading to increased fat storage, but they also leave you feeling unsatisfied. They don’t keep you full in the same way calories from solid foods do.

That is why you keep craving for more. Cause of Belly Fat #9: Toxins: Toxins from polluted air, water, plastic containers, cosmetics, drugs and food is one of the major reasons you are fat. Toxins are dangerous to our health and the body in its amazing capacity to adapt,  takes these foreign substances –toxins  and store them in fat cells. The fat cell is the safest place to keep something it can’t effectively and safely eliminate through the elimination organs like liver, kidney, lung and skin. As your body continues to accumulate more toxins on daily basis, you are actually loading your body with myriads of toxins, since they cannot successfully eliminate all the toxins you are loading into your body; the body will continue to store the toxins in your fat cells, and what happens is that over time you may actually be gaining weight as the fat cells enlarge or worst still you will experience weight loss resistance  because you have a toxic overload. It is the  enlarged fat cells causing your big butts, thighs, arms, belly and cellulite. You can read more on the link between toxins and weight gain in one of the articles I published on my website titled “Beauty and Personal Care Products Making You Fat?

In my ebook Body Detox Secret, I discussed extensively how you can eliminate the accumulated toxins in your body for improved health, quick weight loss, glowing skin and boundless energy. One thing I want you to know is this: No matter the cause of your belly fat or overweight, you can still achieve a flatter belly and lose the excess body fat. But before we discuss how you can achieve a flatter belly and burn off the excess body fat to get back to shape. In the Part 2 of this Belly Blast Series, I will discuss the dangers of belly Fat. How does excess belly fat/overweight/obesity affect your health and your relationship. I encourage you to ensure you read all the Belly Blast Series that will be following soon. Please share this article with your friends using the share buttons below.