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When you see a person with excess weight, the first thought that comes to mind is that he/she is not eating healthy foods, and he/she does not work out. Many fitness experts believe that everyone can have a flat stomach. You might not get that elusive six-pack, but you can have that flat stomach you always wanted.

Well, that is only half true. There is another part to that story. Not all tummies are caused by excess weight. That means that no matter how much you work out, you won’t get rid of the belly fat. However, most tummies are related to weight gain. We have to understand the problem in order to find a solution.

Types of belly fat

There are two types of belly fat that prevent you from having a flat stomach. The first one is visceral fat, and the second is love handles.

Let’s start with visceral fat, a type of belly fat related with excess body fat. Men carry their fat around the middle. That allows them to have thinner limbs. Women, on the other hand, carry their excess fat in hips and thighs, as well as on their arms and chest areas.

When those areas run out of space, women traditionally store fat around the middle. Visceral fat is a problem, as it is a sign of unhealthy diet. Visceral fat accumulates around the internal organs and can lead to problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Women are at higher risk of developing breast cancer when they have excess visceral fat.

Love handles are not belly fat, but they still appear in that region. The name might sound sexy, but love handles are a sign of dangerous visceral fat. Love handles are a red flag and early symptom of serious medical conditions. They cause stress and inflammation to your body, the number one reason for chronic diseases.

Women in menopause often experience and notice love handles. They might not have been there before, but they appear as women enter the menopause. Losing weight during menopause is a challenging task. However, it is not impossible. The best way to lose fat during menopause is to cut out sugar, stop consuming fried foods, eat more fish, consume more fruits and vegetables, increase your daily cardio exercises, and exercise more in general.

Belly types that prevent flat stomach

As mentioned at the beginning, despite working out and a proper diet, you just cannot fulfill your goal of a flat stomach. That might be a sign of a serious problem. Here are three cases when you should definitely not expect a flat stomach, and what to do.

Bloating throughout the day

Bloating is uncomfortable, and prevents women from having a flat stomach. The important part is to understand why women experience bloating. The many reasons include, but are not limited to:

– Hormonal, PMS symptoms. Bloating due to menstruation is an unfortunate fact part of the pre-menopausal life. You cannot do much about bloating due to the menstrual cycle. The good news is that bloating due to menstruation is not a sign of a more severe problem

– Digestive issues are one common reason why you are constantly bloated. If it happens after meals, bloating might be a symptom of IBS, celiac disease, food sensitivity, or ulcerative colitis. You can determine many of these diseases by a simple blood test. Keep a journal what you eat, and you can easily detect the problem. Gluten sensitivity is a common cause of bloating

– Fluid retention is the next cause for bloating. It might be a sign of liver disease or even cancer. It is important that you talk to your doctor if you struggle with fluid retention

– Dehydration, coupled with electrolyte imbalance will slow down your digestive system. Food sits longer in your stomach and causes bloating and gas

– Another digestive problem that is related to bloating is constipation. Having stool in the intestines will cause an uncomfortable and hard feeling in the stomach, accompanied by pain and bloating. Constant constipation is caused by lack of fiber. Consume foods rich in fiber to prevent it

– Small intestine bacterial overgrowth can also cause bloating. SIBO happens when harmful bacteria take over your intestines. Your body has good and bad bacteria. It is crucial that you feed your body with good bacteria (probiotics) to maintain proper balance

– Last, but not least, bloating might be a sign of colon or uterine cancer

Post-birth tummy

During pregnancy, your stomach grows. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot get back to normal the moment you give birth. It is acceptable for women who gave birth to have post-pregnancy tummies.

During pregnancy, your hormones changes, and your body adjusts to the new situation. A proper diet and a healthy exercise routine will help you get rid of the post-baby belly, but that will take a while. Here is what you need to know.

– Start slowly with your exercises. In the weeks following delivery, start with pelvic floor exercises. Walk around with your baby to get some cardio exercise and movement

– When you do cardio, start with lower impact exercises, and work your way to the intense exercises

– When you do strength exercises, start with baby weight, and focus on stability and control

– Try exercising with your baby. It is a great way to bond with your baby and get some workout done

Lower belly pooch

Many women experience this problem. It is normal. After all, women have a uterus. However, when this condition is exaggerated or changes over time, it is time to check with your doctor. Lower belly pooch might be a sign of uterine fibroids. See if you experience any of the following symptoms:

– Long and heavy periods

– Pelvic pressure

– Frequent urination

– Difficulty emptying your bladder

– Back and/or leg pain

– Constipation