Why Do Women Have Excess Belly Fat?

by Rakib Sarwar, RPh
Published on March 27, 2019
a person holding a bowl of salad and a measuring tape around their belly

In recent times more women have become concerned about their seemingly never-ending belly fat. Your overall weight as a woman may not be seen as overweight by any standard, but the fact that your belly region tends to accumulate more fats can make you appear overweight even when you are not.

Apart from the unfashionable look belly fat gives you, it has been linked with a number of health challenges that plague the womenfolk. One common health challenge excess belly fat can make you face include different types of heart-related diseases.

One sad thing about excess belly fat is that it can be frustrating trying to get rid of it once it has formed. Even with all the weight loss diet plans, strenuous exercises and lifestyle changes, losing your belly fat may still remain an elusive dream.

However, identifying the root cause of your belly fat can set you on the path to losing it. This is because once the cause is identified, it becomes easy to stay away from the things that make you gain belly fat while you try to shake off the already accumulated ones.

In this post, we will take a critical look at some common possible causes of belly fat in women and some natural remedies to lose belly fat.

1. Inadequate sleep

You risk gaining excess belly fat as a woman if you do not get enough sleep. That’s not the only sleep-related cause of excess belly fat though. If you sleep too much, you still stand a high risk of developing excess belly fat.

Experts advise you to ensure you get between 7-8 hours of sleep every night as an adult female to discourage the buildup of excess belly fat (5). When you do not get enough sleep or get too much of it, the common result is that your cravings for carb-loaded snacks will increase.

Another common result of an unhealthy sleep habit is a ghrelin and leptin imbalance in your body (5). These hormones are responsible for signaling hunger and fullness respectively. So how can you ensure you get adequate sleep to keep belly fat away?

Simply dedicate to having a specific bedtime and stay away from every activity of habit that keeps you up till late in the night such as late night movies, games, social media activities, working late, etc.

2. High-Stress Levels

Ours is a fast-paced age and women are always at the receiving end of the line. The life of an adult woman isn’t all that easy with so many things seeking attention at work and at home. It even gets more challenging if you are a working mum.

Waking early, getting the kids ready for school, fixing breakfast, dashing to work to meet loads of tasks with strict deadlines on your table, getting back home to fix things, the list is endless.

With such a schedule, you may never escape the tell-tale stress signs of a fully packed day of the typical woman. Researches have shown that people who feel stressed out and frazzled at the end of each day are at high risk of developing belly fat (5).

The stress hormones, cortisol is known to react with the fat cells and lead to weight gain. So it is in your best interest to work towards keeping your cortisol levels low at all times. And one way to do this is to learn to sort out your daily tasks, get rid of unprofitable tasks, and delegate what you can, start early, take them one task at a time and get adequate rest afterward.

3. Not eating enough fiber

There are two types of bacteria – bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. While the first encourages leanness in women, the second is mostly found in the gut of overweight women (2). However, you can decide which of these groups of bacteria dominate in your gut by what you eat.

Ensuring you include more fiber in your diet is one way you can encourage the domination of the lean bacteria, bacteroidetes. Fiber is known to disintegrate into short chain fatty acids that feed the bacteroidetes in your gut.

Aiming for about 5 cups of vegetables and fruits daily is one sure way to boost the lean bacteria in your gut and keep the annoying belly fats at bay (2).

4. Not taking enough probiotics

According to researches, women who have a bacterial imbalance or lack good bacteria such as lactobacilli, known to aid the loss of belly fats, gain more weight around the belly region and other parts of their body.

One thing you can do to beat the scarcity of the good bacteria strains and imbalance is to make sure you provide a healthy and balanced bacteria ecosystem in your gut by including more fermented foods in your daily diet. One good probiotic you can rely on is Greek Yogurt. You can also eat more plant-based foods and ensure your sugar consumption is kept low (5).

5. Obesogens

Obesogen is a term used for the description of certain hormone-disrupting chemicals found in food and water plastic and aluminum containers. These obesogens are part of what is known as persistent organic pollutants.

Researches have shown that these pollutants can interfere with your body’s healthy metabolic processes. Some common types of obesogens include BPA and phthalates which are known to cause the accumulation of excess fat around your belly region. To avoid this, make sure you look out for plastic and aluminum containers that are clearly labeled BPA-free (6).

6. Excess fat deposits around the belly region

Researches have shown that the body finds it easier to deposit excess fat near the belly region than any other part of the body. This is because the belly region is very close to the liver where the excess fat is converted to energy whenever the body feels a need to do so.

This explains why it is easier to notice excess fat growing around the belly region more than anywhere else. This is most common in women who either have a sedentary lifestyle or do not engage in regular workouts (1).

7. Hereditary

Genetics are among the common possible factors that explain why women have excess belly fats. Most women whose parent(s) have excess fat around the belly region tend to develop the same with time. This is as a result of a woman’s genetic makeup which makes her inherit the pattern that encourages the accumulation of belly fats around the belly region.

8. Age

Another coon cause of excess belly fat in women is the aging process. As you age as a woman, the production of the DHEA hormone declines sharply (1). This sharp decline in the production of this all-important hormone results in the accumulation of fat around the belly. Another link between excess belly fat and aging in women is the fact that as you age as a woman, your body’s overall metabolic process reduces, and this, in turn, leads to the accumulation of excess belly fat.

9. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes account for most cases of belly fat in women. Most of the hormonal changes that occur when a woman reaches menopause can lead to a very serious drop in estrogen production, thus enhancing the development of excess belly fat (6).

10. Unhealthy Diet Plan

One of the most common known cause of excess belly fat in women is poor eating habits. However, with several guidelines on what to eat and what not to eat to keep belly fat at bay, this can be easily controlled.

When it comes to the right diet plan and eating habits to keep belly fat away, you have to be mindful of what you eat as well as when you eat them. Eating healthy fat rich and Tran’s fat foods at the wrong time can give you belly fat same way eating unhealthy fatty foods would (3).

11. Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle is another major cause of excess belly fat in women. If your work of business makes you sit all through the day and give you little or no time to engage in physical exercises, you will have excess belly fat (1). This is because the more fat accumulates in your body without burning the excess fats, the more belly fat you will develop.

12. Apple-shaped genetic disposition

Apple-shaped women tend to pack extra fats around their middle rather than their thighs and hips. And this genetic predisposition makes it hard for you to get rid of belly fat, though it is possible to get rid of it with the right efforts and diet plans (1).

13. Ailments

It is easy to gain more weight around your belly region when you have high testosterone levels in your body. This high testosterone level can be due to polycystic ovary syndrome or some other related conditions (4). Taking care of the triggering health condition is one way to get around your excess belly fat.

14. Low motivation

Most women lack the motivation to stay committed to losing weight due to several factors. Losing excess belly fat requires a combination of a low-calorie diet rich in fiber and low sugar and carbohydrates levels along with some weight and cardio exercises.

Final Words

Belly fat is really ugly and everyone wishes to be free from it. We have mentioned above the 14 factors which potentially result in belly fat. If you can identify your cause of gaining belly fat, it will be very easy to find an effective way to lose weight. Find out your reason and fight against it to maintain a healthy and attractive body shape.


(1) https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-
(2) https://www.palmbeachstate.edu/wellnesscenter/Documents/lake_worth/bestworstfoods.pdf
(3) http://www.book-cover-design.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Abs-interior.pdf
(4) https://www.mayoclinic.org/documents/healthsource-pdf/doc-20079413
(5) https://app.prosemedia.com/sites/default/files/The%20Expert%20Guide%20To%20Burning%20Belly%20Fat.pdf
(6) https://theheartysoul.com/getting-rid-of-belly-fat/?utm_source=bellyfat&utm_medium=pdfguide&utm_campaign=ebooks&t=pdfguide_flatbelly

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