Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity’s sake. Excess abdominal fat—particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and puffs your stomach into a “beer gut”—is a predictor of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and some cancers. If diet and exercise haven’t done much to reduce your pooch, then your hormones, your age, and other genetic factors may be the reason why. Read on for possible reasons why your belly fat won’t budge.

• You’re getting older: As you get older, your body changes how it gains and loses weight. You experience a declining metabolic rate, or the number of calories the body needs to function normally decreases. The good news: you can fight this process. Read on.

• You’re Doing the Wrong Workout: You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training. Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day. 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week is recommended.

• You’re eating too many processed foods: Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies. Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat.

Are you committed to the work needed to lose belly fat? “Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training

If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and you can stop singing the Belly Fat Blues.

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