Many mums who are on the Healthy Mummy weight loss plans are concerned about stomach fat and how to lose it.
It’s a common problem for many, many new mums, because we gain lots of weight on our stomach during pregnancy, and following the birth, we still carry some extra weight on our stomach.
Stomach fat can be difficult to shift, and even after you’ve lost the rest of your pregnancy weight, you may still carry extra fat on your tummy – it’s often the last place that the weight comes off of.
To help you shift the stomach fat, we’ve come up with everything you need to know about stomach fat.
The facts about stomach fat
A larger tummy is actually caused by two types of fat, subcutaneous fat, which means under the skin. This is the fat that you can see and it’s the fat the largely causes a rounded tum. Visceral fat is also present in the stomach area, and this type of fat is within your body, around your internal organs.
Having lot of visceral fat is not only dangerous, as it is so close to the internal organs, but it can also force the tummy outwards – more fat on the inside pushing out the fat on the outside. Tummy fat is something that makes us all self-concious – but getting rid of it could improve your health.
Why we gain stomach fat
During pregnancy, fat is vital in the stomach area as it helps to cushion and protect the baby.
Oestrogen has a lot to do with fat storage, too – during pregnancy, oestrogen levels reduce, which can cause fat stores to be directed to the stomach area in preparation for breastfeeding. Oestrogen also causes fat to be stored around the hips and thighs, causing a “pear” shape.
Stress can have a dramatic influence on fat storage. When we are stressed, we produce cortisol to deal with the stress. Too much stress = too much cortisol, which can cause you to convert more energy into fat and gain more weight around your stomach
Genetics do actually have their part to play in how and where we gain weight and fat. Some people gain weight on their arms, while other gain weight around their tummy and others gain weight around the thighs. Each person gains weight and fat differently.
What you Eat
Your food habits obviously play a big part in how much fat you gain. If you eat lots of processed food, you’ll be more likely to have a larger tummy. Soft drinks, energy drinks and alcohol can also cause a rounded tummy, and consuming them can increase your appetite. An increased appetite can lead to over eating, which can lead to fat gain around the stomach.
How to lose stomach fat
Breastfeeding is a great fat loss tool – many women say that breastfeeding helped them to lose weight. Breastfeeding also helps to shrink your uterus, which means that your tummy will look smaller.
2) Eat better!
It’s simple, really – the better quality foods you eat, the more weight you’ll lose all over your body, not just on your tummy. Fatty and processed foods will stop you from losing weight, but a diet rich in lots of healthy foods, such as wholegrains, lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables and some low fat calcium will help you to shift the pounds while also providing you with plenty of vitamins and nutrients.
3) Drink Less
Alcohol consumption can cause a round gut – just think about the term “beer belly”. Sweet, sugary, fizzy drinks, sugary alcoholic drinks, beer and lager are all the worst culprits for fat around the tummy, and they also put lots of stress on your liver. Extra stress on your liver can make it more difficult for you to build muscles mass, and without lean muscles mass, you’ll find it difficult to shift the pounds in the future.
4) Exercise, exercise and exercise
Exercising will cause you to lose weight from your entire body, which is very important. You can’t exercise and just lose weight from your tummy as this is just not possible – exercise your whole body, and eventually your body will use up excess fat to fuel your workout. You can see our section here on the best exercises for the tummy area
5) Weight training
Cardio exercise is excellent for heart health and for burning calories, but if you just do cardio exercise, you will find it difficult to shift fat from your stomach. To really up the effectiveness of your exercise, add weight training into your regime. It’s fairly simple – to lose belly fat, you need to build lean muscles. The good thing about muscles is that the more you work them, the more they burn off – and the more your fat stores will be depleted. Try exercises such as squats, press-ups and sit-ups to work the major muscle groups.
Motivation is key to weight loss – and fat loss. To lose weight, it’s important that you stay motivated. Losing weight is difficult, but you need to stay motivated when it gets tough – always keep in mind your goal. A great way to stay motivated is to track your progress using a tracking program, as you’ll be able to see the numbers going down – which will keep you on track.
How to burn body fat
Challenge yourself during workouts
To burn off fat, you need to challenge your muscles during workouts. If you don’t push yourself hard enough, you won’t shift the fat. You don’t need to push yourself to the point of exhaustion, but you do need to push yourself hard enough so that you feel slightly sweaty and out of breath during your workout. Make your workout tough, but not tough enough that you can’t do it, and give yourself enough time to recover between your workouts. If you do weight training every day, you could damage your muscles, so have a rest day in between each weight training session.
Work the larger muscle groups rather than isolated muscle groups
Working out the larger muscle groups is way more efficient than working out isolated muscles – it burns off more calories, and therefore more fat. It’s as simple as that – you can spend the same amount of time exercising, but you can burn off many more calories if you work the larger muscle groups compared to the smaller ones.
As an example, a push up is a great exercise that will work a lot of your upper body muscles, including the shoulders, chest, upper back, biceps and triceps. However, a bicep curl will only work the biceps. Because a push up burns many more calories than a bicep curl, it will burn off more fat. This is a similar idea to power walking versus regular walking – power walking helps you to burn off more calories, which means that it will burn off more fat.
Work out your larger muscle groups to burn fat more quickly and efficiently. But remember to work out the smaller muscles groups too – work out all muscles equally and for a similar amount of time to properly balance your muscles. Balanced muscles means less chance of injury.
Work your core
A stronger core means that you’ll have better overall body strength and you’ll also have improved posture. Pilates and yoga exercises are great for working your core.
If you are ready to lose weight then The Healthy Mummy plans offer a healthy and safe exercise and diet routine that are safe if you are breastfeeding.