If you’re skinny but your belly sticks out, this article will show you why you have belly fat and how to get rid of it.
The truth is it’s not just overweight people who have belly fat. You can be skinny with a fat belly.
As you’ll see, for some people, the belly sticks out even when they don’t have excess belly fat. Factors like poor posture and bloating can make your stomach look big.
But before we look into why you’re skinny with a belly, here are 5 belly fat myths you should ignore.
- Doing crunches will melt belly fat
- Drinking green tea alone can flatten your stomach
- Supplement pills burn belly fat
- Waist trainers can trim your waistline – see their side effects
- A calorie is a calorie – this study found that some foods increase belly fat more than others.
Why you’re skinny but belly sticks out
1. You may have lordosis
Lordosis is an excessive inward curvature of the spine. When the spine curves inwards, it forces the lower belly to stick out.
Lordosis is usually caused by tight hip flexors or weak abdominal muscles. These two problems can be triggered by poor sitting posture or sitting for long hours.
To check if you have lordosis, lie on your back and place your hand under the lower back. You should be able to move your hand under the back with little space left.
If there’s a lot of space left between the lower back and the floor, chances are you have lordosis.
How to fix it: Stretching the hip flexors and strengthening abdominal muscles can help fix lordosis. And remember to stretch your hamstrings and lower back as well.
You should also avoid exercises that require you to arch the back.
Note that extreme cases of lordosis may require therapy or surgery.
2. Your stomach may be bloated
Bloating can make your belly look bigger than it is.
Common causes of bloating include, lactose intolerance, high sodium intake, drinking carbonated drinks, dehydration, and irritable bowel syndrome.
While it’s normal to be bloated every now and then, being bloated all the time isn’t something you should ignore.
How to fix it: Manage cortisol levels, increase potassium intake, avoid carbonated drinks, drink more water, avoid foods that give you gas, and chew food slowly.
3. You may have a beer belly
Drinking a lot of alcohol doesn’t just increase calorie intake, it can actually make your belly bigger.
Research shows that people who drink a lot of alcohol gain more belly fat.
What’s more alarming is that people who are skinny but have belly fat have a high risk of diseases, according to research.
How to fix it: Reduce beer intake or drink low-calorie alcoholic drinks.
4. You may be skinny fat
A skinny fat person is someone who is skinny but carries excess body fat.
Skinny fat men store excess fat in their chest and belly while skinny fat women have excess fat in their waistline, hips, and butt.
People become skinny fat because of excessive cardio, low-calorie intake, high estrogen levels, and not doing strength training.
How to fix it: Do less cardio, do more strength training, regulate estrogen levels and eat fat burning foods.
5. You may have poor posture
Slouching does not increase belly fat but it can make your stomach look bigger.
For one thing, slouching weakens the abdominal muscles because it keeps them relaxed all the time. And when the abdominal muscles are weak, the belly will stick out.
Second, slouching squeezes the organs and forces the belly to stick out.
How to fix it: Practice proper sitting posture – avoid slouching while sitting. And use exercises that correct poor posture.
6. You may have weak transversus abdominis muscles
Transversus abdominis are inner abdominal muscles which tightly hold the internal organs.
When these muscles are weak your stomach may stick out and you may even experience back pain.
Strengthening these muscles will wrap the internal organs and make your belly smaller.
But realize that regular ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups don’t target these muscles.
How to fix it: Do exercises that strengthen the transversus abdominis muscles. These exercises include the stomach vacuum, elbow plank, and side plank.
7. You may have unhealthy gut bacteria
Some of the bacteria in the gut are beneficial while others can be harmful.
There’s evidence showing that an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria can increase stomach fat. Additionally, research shows that gut flora influences where fat is stored in the body.
It’s important to mention that unhealthy gut bacteria have been linked to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, just to mention a few.
How to fix it: To improve gut health you need to avoid inflammatory foods, eat high-fiber foods, and eat more omega 3s and fermented foods.
8. You may have excess visceral fat
The stomach stores two types of fats, subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is stored beneath the skin while visceral fat is stored around internal organs.
You may have small amounts of subcutaneous fat but a lot of visceral fat. Not only will this make your belly bigger, but it’ll also increase the risk of diseases.
Research has linked visceral fat to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
How to fix it: Do high-intensity exercises, reduce alcohol intake, avoid trans fats, and eat low-calorie foods.
9. Menopause could be to blame
Women usually store fat in the hips, thighs, and buttocks. But their body shape changes after menopause.
You see, when women hit menopause, estrogen levels drop. And these hormonal change forces fat to settle around the belly.
The good news is you can lose post-menopausal belly fat.
How to fix it: Start doing full-body workouts, increase intake of healthy fats, get enough sleep and manage stress.
10. Stress and high cortisol levels
Cortisol isn’t your enemy. In fact, it is essential for survival. But high cortisol levels can increase stress and expand your waistline.
You probably know that stress triggers overeating. But did you know that cortisol forces the body to store the excess calories in the belly instead of the fat being stored all over the body – see study.
How to fix it: Manage your stress by exercising regularly, walking, meditating, and avoiding toxic relationships.
11. It could be your genetics
Genes play a major role in the shape of your body.
Research shows that belly fat is affected by genetics. In this study, researchers found that genes were linked to abdominal obesity and waist-to-hip ratio.
I may also note that people with apple-shaped bodies are more likely to have a belly even though they’re skinny.
How to fix it: You can’t do much about your genetics, just make sure you eat nutrient-dense foods and exercise regularly.
You’ve probably heard that smoking suppresses appetite and promotes weight loss. But did you know that smoking causes excess belly fat?
Researchers at the University of Glasgow found that smoking reduces overall weight but increases waist circumference. And the excess belly fat puts smokers at a higher risk of diabetes.
How to fix it: Quit smoking.
The Bottom Line
I hope this article has helped you identify whatever is making your belly stick out. Now, use the tips above to flatten your belly.
Note that regular exercise can help fix most of the problems making your belly stick out. And you don’t even have to exercise for hours. Simply do these intense home workouts for 15 minutes a day.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]