Many of us have a problem keeping that ugly bulge away, especially as we get older and our metabolism dwindles. Even with exercise, that stubborn lump of fat can prove to be a feat to get rid of. So what causes the formation of our tummies and what are some ways we can keep them at bay?

3 major causes of belly fat

1. Lack of exercise

Most of us are highly busy individuals and it is not surprising that they do not get enough exercise in their daily lives to burn off those excess calories. We get home too late, we are too tired, we choose to indulge in more food and sleep. Getting rid of the belly requires a lot of determination and some effort to actually take that first step to becoming fitter, which is unfortunately not the strong point of many of us.

2. Lousy food choices

kueh malaysia

With so many delicious but super unhealthy food options in Singapore, many of us resort to the most convenient way of just eating whatever is available and tastes good. We disregard the inclusion of vegetables in our meal, omit that piece of fruit thereafter and instead, sometimes choose desserts like ice kacang (shaved ice dessert), and goreng pisang (battered deep-fried bananas). As the ratio of so much fat in our diet is so much more as compared to the amount of exercise we do, it becomes a tummy that we cannot hide.

3. Lack of sleep

While we should be getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night, many of us don’t. And when we don’t get enough rest, what happens is that our level of cortisol (stress hormone) increases and causes us to crave sugary foods. With this in mind, the imbalance in the level of our stress hormone will also make it more difficult to get rid of that dreaded belly fat.

3 proven ways to get rid of the belly fat

1. Eating more protein

Consuming more protein in your diet has proven to reduce cravings by 60% boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day and help you eat up to 411 fewer calories each day. In fact, besides helping you to lose that belly fat and overall weight, protein can also help in avoiding a weight regain if you ever decide to abandon your diet. Do take note though to consume unprocessed proteins. If they are smothered in too much sauce and seasonings, everything will be for naught.

2. Do aerobic exercises

Aerobics spinning monitor trainer woman at gym at trainning class

If you haven’t already heard, spot reduction is not possible. Those who have tried did not see any significant loss in fat after a few weeks of intensely training that one particular spot on their bodies. Go for a run, a swim or even brisk walk around your neighbourhood for at least 30 minutes a day. You will start to see a change in your body shape, a flatter tummy and feel better after a couple of weeks.

3. Consume fewer carbs and more fibre

When you are trying to get rid of belly fat, or any fat in and on your body for that matter, diet is of the utmost importance. Eating less carbs will ensure almost instant results as low-carb diets lead to quick reductions in water weight. Apparently, low-carb diets specifically target the fat in our belly, and around the organs and liver which will lead to lower visceral fat and a healthier body. Avoid refined carbs as much as you can to keep your protein levels high.