Are you disturbed about your body shape? Do your clothes feel uncomfortable when you wear them?

Did you know that you do not have to be overweight to have belly fat? Even a slim person of normal weight can have belly fat

Belly fat is fat that gathers around your internal organs and it can be dangerous. Studies have now shown that belly fat is associated with an increased risk of death due to heart problems. It increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other chronic illnesses.

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So what causes belly fat. Let’s take a look.

The truth about what causes belly fat

Did you know that there is a strong connection between stress and what causes belly fat?

Your body is designed to react quickly to any stressful situation. When you are stressed, your brain stimulates your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones – adrenalin and cortisol.

Adrenalin makes you alert, focussed, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure is elevated and your senses become more alert, every one of these changes increases your strength and energy getting you ready to either fight or flee the stressful situation.

At the same time cortisol increases your blood sugar to provide you with the energy to deal with the stress. Once the stressful situation is over, your adrenal glands stops releasing the adrenalin and cortisol and your body returns to normal.

However these days, a lot of individuals live under chronic stress which is continuous and can come from daily life activities in the form of frustrations, demands, deadlines, family disputes, late trains, exams, traffic jams, etc so cortisol levels can remain high for a very long time.

If you don’t fight or flee the stressful situation, cortisol remains high increasing your blood sugar to provide you with all the energy you need, if the energy is not used up, the sugar is stored as fat in your belly; this is what causes belly fat.

The fat tends to be stored in your belly because it is close to your liver where it can be rapidly converted into energy when needed and ready for the next stressful situation.

In one study, the researchers found that women with belly fat had more stressful lives and produced more cortisol under stress. Prolonged high levels of cortisol is what causes belly fat so it is important for you to manage your stress.

the truth about what causes body fat

Here are 7 things you can do to manage your stress:

1. Identify what is causing the stress

You can keep a stress journal to record what is causing your stress and how you are responding. This will help ou manage it better.

2. Meditation 

Spending some time meditating can make you still and restore your inner peace. You can practise meditation anywhere you are. It will assist you in focusing your attention and getting rid of all the stressful thoughts.

3. Exercise regularly

Any form of exercise can help to relieve stress. It helps to increase the production of your brains feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins which helps to take your mind off your anxiety and worry.

4. Yoga

Will help you slow down and relax

5. Eat a healthy balanced diet

This will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to reduce stress

6. Get enough sleep

7. Make time for relaxation

References

1. The Atlantic (2014) Study: Belly fat officially the worst http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/08/study-belly-fat-officially-the-worst/261630/

2. Epel, E.S.S. et al (2000) Stress and body shape: Stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat, Psychosomatic Medicine, 62: 623-632.

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