Body Shapes Belly Fat and Hormones

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Belly fat can be a problem for many women. We normally think that this kind of fat is often a product of a poor diet and a lack of exercise. However, the biggest culprit that contributes to belly fat is the hormone. People should understand the real role that hormones play in their body shapes. Doing so will help them burn fat and exchange it for lean muscle mass. 

No matter how many sit-ups people do, they will not lose belly fat if their hormones are the problem. Problems with body fat can also be caused by cultural aspects. People tend to eat the exact same thing that their parents eat.

When people know what is going on inside their body, they are more likely to predict what they will look like in the near future.

Cortisol, the belly fat hormone

Cortisol is one of the hormones that is responsible for determining body shape. This hormone can cause people to gain fat around their belly. When people are under stress, cortisol enhances the body's fat storage capacity. In addition, cortisol converts protein to sugar and then to fat. As a result, people who are under stress experience reduced lean muscle mass growth and more flabby fat, especially in the midsection. 

Stress lowers your metabolism rate, and this contributes to fat accumulation around the vital organs– which are located in your stomach. Rest and recovery do the opposite. This is why many sports and bodybuilding enthusiasts need to observe a rest period in between exercise bouts. Resting reduces stress to keep cortisol levels at a minimum.

Growth Hormone, the fat-burning hormone

Another hormone that affects people's body shapes is the growth hormone. This comes from the pituitary gland, and it is responsible for muscle-building and strengthening. Growth hormone also plays an important role in burning fat.

However, this hormone only increases with intense exercise and sleep– of course, these are two things you can’t do at the same time. Its fat burning mechanism may be a little slow, but increasing growth hormone levels can facilitate fat loss in almost all parts of the body only when you are sleeping.

Fat Storing Hormone, the dominating fat-making hormone

Fat Storing Hormones also affect people's body shapes. Although its main function is to regulate blood sugar, Fat Storing Hormone also aggravates fat storage. When blood sugar and Fat Storing Hormones are at high levels, the Fat Storing Hormone triggers excess sugar deposits in the form of fat.

This occurs when people eat meals that are high in carbohydrates. If present in only tiny amounts, all of the six fat-burning hormones become inactive– this explains why the ‘everything in moderation’ and ‘portion control’ don't work when hormones are involved.

Thyroid hormone, a fat-burning hormone

The thyroid also plays a major role in fat burning. Thyroid hormones are used for energy management. When people have low levels of thyroid hormones, they have a very hard time burning belly fat. You could consider the thyroid as the gland that regulates the overall metabolism of your metabolic body type.

Thyroid hormones can speed up or slow down the rate in which people burn belly fat. It is essential that people know the roles that these hormones play so that they will not waste their time on improper diets and exercise regimens.

Although there are a lot of available ways to reduce belly fat, it is best when people know the main reasons why they have excess body fat before choosing a method to get rid of it so the focus would be on the right thing. Calorie counting and exhaustive exercise can add stress and stop all your progress because these activities do not enhance hormone health.

A healthy lifestyle and proper education can help people achieve their dream shape.  Women often face hormone fluctuations after pregnancy and other life-changing events. Hormone imbalances can even lead to more serious problems. Because of this, understanding hormones and other factors that affect belly fat should not be taken for granted. 

In my book, 'The 7 Principles of Fat Burning', I describe the relationship between hormones and fat burning extensively but simply.

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