We’ve all been there: you’re eating well and exercising often yet when you look in the mirror you can’t help but notice this stubborn belly button fat that does not seem to want to go away. It can be discouraging- not knowing what else you can do to get rid of it. That is why the trick to eliminating belly button fat is knowing where it comes from in the first place. Here is a little science lesson:
The causes of belly button fat
Much like other stubborn areas on your body, your belly stores and holds on to fat. To burn fat your fat cells need to release it through a process known as lipolysis. The fat that your belly button holds in particular burns a lot more slowly than other areas on your body. This is because the receptors in stubborn areas are different from those of “normal fat cells” which are split into alpha and beta receptors respectively. Alpha receptors react to the body’s hormones that trigger the release of fat from its cells a lot more slowly. Thus, you will notice fat loss a lot more slowly in stubborn areas than you will in others with normal fat cells.
Secondly, your belly button may not be getting enough blood flow. Your body goes through a process called lipid oxidation- which is the reaction between fatty acids and oxygen that causes fat loss. In order for that reaction to take place, you need an ample amount of blood flow that stubborn areas- like your belly- may not be getting. So, these fat cells are not able to be burned and are more likely to stay in place.
Finally, stubborn fat cells are far more sensitive to insulin in your body. Simply, insulin increases the amount of fat storing enzymes in your body and lowers fat releasing enzymes. So you end up retaining fat at a higher rate than you are burning it. Thus, stubborn fat cells are much more likely to store fat for far longer.
Let’s sum that all up. So why does your belly button area tend to store fat? First, it is made up of stubborn fat cells that burn more slowly than normal fat cells. Secondly, this area may not be getting enough blood flow in order to burn these fat cells effectively. Finally, your belly fat cells are more sensitive to insulin which means they are more likely to store fat than burn it.
How to get rid of fat around belly button
Now that we broke down why our belly button fat is so stubborn in the first place- we can start to talk about how to get rid of it. Remember, everyone is different, so what works for someone else may not work for you. It is also important to remember that much like any weight loss journey, results take time, so do not get discouraged too soon. The key is to stay consistent! With that being said, here are some tips you may want to think about when you start your belly button fat loss journey:
Follow a very low carb diet
What you put into your body is just as important as how much exercise you do. Take a second and think about what kind of food you generally consume on any given day. Now, consider whether or not you can make some changes. Following a low carb diet means something different for others. It is not one size fits all. A low carb diet may mean cutting out a few foods completely or just lowering your carb intake generally.
Following a low carb diet may be beneficial for losing belly button fat. Research suggests a low carb diet will decrease your appetite which results in eating less calories a day. If you maintain the diet you could begin to see results. A low carb diet can also lead to other health benefits like helping to decrease high blood sugar and manage insulin levels. And, as I’ve mentioned earlier, belly fat is very sensitive to insulin. That’s why women with PCOS (who suffer from insulin resistance) tend to have extra weight around the midsection.
So, how can you start to follow a low carb diet? Like we talked about before, start by evaluating what you are already eating. Chances are there are some foods that are high carb and provide little to no health benefits. The most common ones are chips, cookies, carbonated drinks, sweet juices. Swap those foods out with healthier alternatives. Some good carbs you can add to your diet include all kinds of non-starchy vegetables, nuts, whole fruits, seeds, etc.
The total amount of carbs you include in your diet depends on your current eating and exercising habits. For example, a person that works out an hour a day 5 days a week can tolerate more carbs than someone who does not work out at all.
If you want to lose belly button fat fast, you may want to reduce your carb intake to 100g (or even 50g if you are comfortable doing this) a day.
Such diet can lead you down the right path of eliminating sugary-processed foods and replacing them with fruits and vegetables that contribute to your overall health. Like with all diets, a low carb diet is not going to get you results overnight. In fact, the initial weight loss you notice from the beginning may be due to your body getting rid of excess water weight. After a month or so of consistency, your body will get used to the change in diet and at this time you will usually begin to see results. Remember, a low carb diet is not for everyone. Do your own research to see what foods will best fit into your diet for your specific needs. Experiment with different foods and different amounts of carb intake to see what best works for you.
Avoid unhealthy fats
If you are noticing your belly button fat still is not going away even if you follow a relatively healthy diet, the reason may be that you overeat fats. A lot of people make the mistake of swapping out unhealthy foods for seemingly healthier alternatives and indulging. However, too much of anything no matter how healthy it may be, is still bad for you and still contributes to your weight gain. A high fat diet leads to numerous health concerns such as heart disease, and too much fatty foods leads to obesity which comes with its own list of health concerns. Limiting the amount of unhealthy fats you take will not only help you get rid of belly fat, but help you make smarter choices when you eat.
Where do you start? First, you need to know that not all fat is bad fat. Unsaturated fats are essential to our health and to maintaining a healthy diet. They can be found in avocado, olives and virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish. Unlike unhealthy fats, or saturated fats, unsaturated fats lower the risk of heart disease and decrease cholesterol levels. Saturated fats can be found in dairy, fatty meats, processed foods – and are linked to high cholesterol. Dairy can also cause insulin spikes that you want to avoid when trying to lose belly button fat. So try to reduce amount of dairy you eat for a few weeks and you’ll probably boost your weight loss a lot!
Now, think about what kind of food you eat. A lot of the time the food we eat incorporates trans fats. Trans fats are essentially unsaturated fats that have been processed and now carry the same dangers as saturated fats. These are found in processed foods, fried foods and commercially produced foods found in supermarkets. So, it is always important to take a look at the labels on your food before you buy it. That way you are able to determine: What is the calorie count of those foods? Is there a healthier alternative? Does “low fat” mean “low calorie”?
A lot of the time foods that claim to be healthier actually have the same amount of calories as their unhealthy counterparts. So it is important to be aware of the food you eat, and know how to eliminate fatty foods from your diet. This will help you get the nutrients you need to create a healthier diet and reduce your belly button fat.
Try Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a time restricted diet where you only eat during a certain time period of the day. For instance, you may give yourself an 8 to 10 hour window where you eat and then fast for the remainder of the day/night. Research shows that those that practice intermittent fasting consume less calories than those that do not.
RELATED: Intermittent fasting for weight loss
How does that help you lose belly fat? Intermittent fasting has many health benefits and also assists in weight loss. It helps to decrease inflammation, balance insulin levels and consume less calories. Well, combine the decrease in calories that you get from intermittent fasting with an increase in physical activity and you will start to see great results.
Also, it can be very effective to train in the morning while fasting because you are more likely to burn fat in a fasted state. First of all, you have less insulin in your blood while fasting and, second, when you train your abs you get more blood flow to your belly which is beneficial because we now know that high insulin levels and poor blood flow are the main causes for stubborn belly button fat. Therefore, exercising while practicing intermittent fasting will help you burn more fat.
Reduce stress levels
Not a lot of people realize that their mental health can sabotage their weight loss. High levels of stress hormone cortisol lead to excessive belly fat because it increases appetite and cravings and raises insulin levels. There are many reasons for stress nowadays, but in some cases, spikes in cortisol can even be triggered by missing meals or choosing the wrong workout methods. Thus, this all can contribute to gaining fat around belly button.
So, what are some of the ways to reduce stress hormones and start to lose belly button fat?
Well, you can start with eating three meals a day. This is a simple and effective start. Making sure you eat three meals a day will give you the energy and nutrients you need to go through your day. You will not feel faint because you missed a meal which causes your blood sugar to go haywire which, in turn, leads to accumulating belly fat.
Try to eliminate stressors. I don’t know what causes the most stress in your life, but take time to figure out the main reasons and ways to cut them off your life (or at least, reduce them). At the end of the day, our health is the most precious thing we have so make it a priority. Because high levels of cortisol not only prevent you from losing weight, but also negatively impact your overall health.
Get enough sleep. This will help balance your hormones altogether. Getting enough sleep at night leads to the production of growth hormones and melatonin which are essential good immine system, metabolism and overall health. When you suffer from low-quality (short or disrupted) sleep, your cortisol levels increase as well as your hunger hormones while your energy and metabolism become worse. That’s something you definitely do not want. Sleep is very important for effective weight loss so make sure you have at least 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep every night.
Take supplements. We all have moments when it’s impossible to avoid stress. But when you know how to prepare, you can still achieve your weight loss goals. I recommend “Adrenal Cortisol support” by “Protocol for life Balance” because I’ve personally noticed that it works. It contains the most effective calming herbs, magnesium and chromium that also help to reduce appetite.
All in all, making sure you are eating enough of the right foods, taking care of your mental health, and not straining yourself while exercising contributes to reducing the amount of cortisol in your body which leads to a decrease in belly fat.
Getting rid of belly button fat begins with making the choice to understand your body and the way it reacts to diet and exercise. It also relies on you making the conscious effort to watch what you put into your body and make sure that your diet is full of nutrients that are essential to your health. Equally as important, remember that every person is shaped differently, so do not compare someone else’s journey to your own. Weight loss takes time, but if you stay consistent, you’ll manage to get rid of stubborn belly button fat!
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