June 8, 2022
There are so many reasons it isn’t easy to get and maintain a flat belly.
Things like lifestyle habits, genetics, and childbirth are all factors that influence how and where our body stores fat. So if you’ve tried before to get a flat belly and failed, it’s not your fault! Getting and maintaining a flat belly is difficult because it requires a significant lifestyle change.
The good news is, this doesn’t mean your life needs to become highly disciplined, revolve around one particular food, or mean giving up the things you enjoy most. Instead, it just means learning some of the fundamental things that matter when it comes to getting and maintaining a flat belly and sticking to them.
4 major reasons why it’s hard to get a flat belly
1. Sitting too much
Modern life is typically very sedentary. We spent a lot of time sitting in front of computers, in cars, and on couches. So when you feel like your butt is taking the chair’s shape, that’s a sure sign you’ve been sitting too long.
However, there are some other common signs you may not be as aware of. For example, if you feel like your shoulders, chest, and neck are tight or like everything is contracting more than usual, it’s probably from too much sitting.
Your body has to move, or it can’t improve.
If you look at your lifestyle and most of your daily exercise comes from errands like grocery shopping, you’re probably sitting too much. Try walking or taking your bike for errands, and limit the time you spend in your car. If you work from home, consider investing in a standing desk or a treadmill to use while watching TV.
Anything to keep you standing for a larger portion of the day will help reduce the impact of being sedentary.
Most people don’t know this, but you should eat until you are satisfied, not full.
When I first heard this principle, I realized I didn’t even know what that meant – when am I satisfied? What is the difference between satisfied and full?
I used to be a stress eater – I was used to eating fast and then feeling full immediately. So it took me a long time to learn how to eat until I was satisfied and not full. I made little deals with myself that if I were hungry in an hour, I would eat again in an hour, but I wouldn’t allow myself to overeat anymore. I needed to slow it down and learn my body cues, which was the most challenging part of that journey.
Here is the most helpful formula: Imagine your stomach is a container split up in 10 parts. You want to eat until you’re seven parts full.
Once you’re seven parts full, put your fork and knife on your plate, or throw your napkin onto your plate, or put the rest of the food away. Do whatever you need to physically do so that you don’t absentmindedly start picking at the food as the meal continues.
3. Increased stress
When you’re under a lot of chronic stress, it raises your cortisol levels. And when you have higher levels of cortisol, your body responds by protecting your organs. It does this by holding onto weight, particularly the fat stores around your torso.
This is why you typically gain weight around your waist when stressed. Even if you’re not eating that much, you’ll hold the weight if you live a high stress life simply due to the amount of cortisol running through your body.
Stress also leads to chronic eating, which can further add to weight gain – or an inability to lose weight. You’re checked out from your body, meaning you’re eating too fast and/or overeating chronically. Maybe food relaxes you, so when you get home and need to relax, you make a huge meal and then stress eat.
While you remain under high stress, you can’t release that weight.
Therefore, methods such as deep breathing, meditation, slowing down, working pauses in to your life, and figuring out your sleep cycle are all ways of decreasing your stress that may help you lose weight.
Sometimes, all it takes is to begin to work with your emotions differently. It helps to learn the tools to breathe through things and manage your emotions in a more balanced way.
4. Improper breathing technique
Diaphragmatic breathing is connected to your deep internal pelvic floor. The transverse abdominis or TVA holds all your organs in, and it is what flattens your belly. So when it is weak, you don’t have the stability you need around your pelvis and lower back to maintain healthy abdominal muscles. You also tend to have problems with digestion, which can lead to more significant health issues down the line.
On the flip side, some women actively suck in their stomachs regularly. This activates the abdominal muscles, but it does so in an unhealthy, nonfunctional way. Your abdominal muscles are designed to move with your breathing, eating, exercise, and baby growth. By sucking in, you are immobilizing the muscles and forcing them to contract when they shouldn’t be, which leads to weakness and difficulty controlling your diaphragm.
Everything in your belly revolves around your breathing, so if you can’t breathe properly, you can’t flatten your core. Therefore, if your goal is a flat core, then your breathing habits must be consistent. Likewise, your exercise routine must be designed to ensure it targets what you’re trying to target without unintentionally causing more damage.
Where to go from here
If you are doing things that don’t support you stepping into the best version of yourself, you need to figure out a better plan to get support for who you want to be. So, if you’re interested in learning more about getting a flat belly once and for all, then check out the Flat Belly Challenge!