Not all belly bulges are the result of excess fat or weight gain. Even if weight gain is the cause, there’s no quick fix or way to lose weight from one specific part of your body.
Taking in too many calories can cause weight gain, but a protruding or pronounced belly can also be the result of hormones, bloating, or other factors.
Read on to learn about the possible causes of belly bulge and what you can do about it.
Types of belly bulge
Bloating is the feeling of pressure or swelling in the stomach. The most common causes are trapped gas or eating too much in a short period of time. The sensation of bloating can cause abdominal distention, which is a visible swelling or extension of your belly.
Distention happens when the sensation of being bloated triggers your brain to react by moving your diaphragm down and relaxing your abdominal wall muscles.
Along with gassiness and eating too much, other common causes of bloating include:
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
gastroparesis, which causes delayed stomach emptying
Stress is a natural response to a perceived threat. When you’re faced with a threat, a combination of nerve and hormonal signals tells your adrenal glands to release adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones.
Stress is usually short-lived, and your body returns to normal. When faced with ongoing stress, your body remains in this state. There is evidence that chronic stress increases abdominal fat and cravings for foods that cause abdominal obesity.
Though studies haven’t found a link between beer and belly girth, there are reasons why drinking beer might give you a big belly. The more you drink, the more calories you consume, which could contribute to weight gain.
Beer is made with hops, and hops contain phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that have similar effects to the female sex hormone estrogen. Though it hasn’t been proven, there is speculation that the phytoestrogens in beer change the way your body stores belly fat.
Food intolerance, which is not to be confused with food allergy, is difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is also called food sensitivity. It’s become much more common in recent years and affects up to an estimated 20 percent of the world’s population.
Food intolerance can cause bloating after you eat certain foods. Along with the sensation of bloating and a distended abdomen, you might have other symptoms like gas, stomach pain, and diarrhoea.
Dairy, gluten, and caffeine are common food intolerances.
Common weight gain
Though weight gain can be spread throughout your body, some people are more prone to gaining belly weight than others. Weight gain is usually the result of consuming more calories than you burn through regular bodily functions and physical activity.
Sleep deprivation and stress have also been linked to overeating and weight gain.
What can you do about your belly?
You may be able to do something about the amount of fat on your belly, but factors beyond your control determine how the fat is distributed.
Fat allocation is determined by:
My top ways to help alleviate these belly symptoms are the following:
Reduce stress - to combat use meditation, mindfulness, a long walk, jogging, hot baths, aromatherapy or just doing something you enjoy for part of the day.
Get more sleep - Aim for seven to eight hours per night whenever possible.
Supplementation - Using fibre supplements, laxatives, probiotics and calming herbs like passionflower and camomile can all help.
Diet & Exercise - Increase your level of physical activity during the day. Also limit stimulants e.g. caffeine, alcohol, nicotine. Drink plenty of water e.g. 3 litres per day. Avoid high sugar and refined carbohydrate products e.g. white bread, pastries and dough. Do a mixture of cardiovascular exercise e.g. running and anaerobic exercise e.g. lifting weights. Get adequate amounts of healthy fats in your diet e.g. omega 3's, fish oils, avocadoes, olive oil, nuts etc. Consume at least 1g of high quality protein per kg of bodyweight. Good sources are, meat, fish, cheese, eggs etc. Try to eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruit.