Here’s Why Women Get Different Types of Belly Fat

a women showing belly fat with fingers types of belly fat in women

Medically reviewed by Shruti Mundhra, Post Graduate in Food and Nutrition

All belly fat is not the same for women. The way women put on excess fat around their belly depends on hormones, motherhood, stress, bad eating habits.

To deal with this you need to cut back on processed foods, sugar, and excess salt. Eating small meals and regular exercise goes a long way.

The shape of your belly fat tells a lot about the kind of lifestyle you have; this is true especially for women.

They, more than men, tend to put on excess fat in different ways around the belly.

It is different for women because a woman’s body goes through changes at different stages in her life.

Women tend to suffer from hormonal imbalances due to various changes in their bodies. Issues like pregnancy, stressful lifestyle, lack of exercise, and bad eating habits all contribute to belly fat.

In such cases, your metabolism slows down which means your body is unable to burn the calories which become fat that sit around your midriff.

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Types of fat

Body fat occurs when your body has larger fat cells than normal. You turn overweight. Excess fat can also cause many serious health problems especially diabetes, hypertension, etc. [1]

Our body generally stores two types of fat

  • Subcutaneous and
  • Visceral

Subcutaneous fat is the one that is easily visible so we are more bothered about this kind of fat. This fat accumulates below the skin and is more prominent around your thighs, hips, and waist. Subcutaneous fat actually takes away the body tone and totally finishes off your natural-toned shape.

While this is most visible, you don’t have to be so worried about this type as much as you should be about visceral fat.

It is the invisible kind of fat that gets deposited between the organs in your abdomen.

This leads to slowing down of your metabolism which leads to glucose intolerance and increased lipid levels in the body.

Visceral fat is actually related to many diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.

When you are obese, it is a double whammy for you, since you are most likely to have both visceral and subcutaneous fat.

The cause of fat deposition in the body

Well, when you are body is unable to process the sugars into energy, you end up with fat. Fat is necessary for the proper functioning of the body, as it is the source of energy.

However, when your body is unable to burn the same effect that’s when you end up with the two types of fat depositions in your body.

Research shows that the natural aging process, hormonal ups and downs, excess intake of sugar and trans-fat, and sedentary lifestyle all lead to deposition of visceral fat.

Signs that fat deposition in your body may be harming you include shortness of breath when climbing stairs or your clothes feel tight around your abdomen.

Types of belly fat deposition that women get

types of belly fatThe pattern in which women put on weight around their abdomen depends on their lifestyle and certain conditions that their bodies go through.

Check out here the kind of belly fat women may get or are already having, and what should you do about it:

1. Mommy’s belly fat

How it looks:

A mommy’s belly falls low, below your actual waistline. All that fat, that your body accumulated to ensure you give birth to a healthy baby, tends to hang loose after you deliver.

This also happens because your muscles get stretched when you are carrying. You might even feel a gap between the stomach muscles in your upper abdomen, which also feels loose.

What you should do:

A month or so after delivery you should start regular belly workouts. If you are breastfeeding, then it is good news!

Your body will burn up extra fat to support you and your baby’s energy needs. If you eat right, along with doing lying leg raises, and boat poses from yoga, you should be able to get back the shape of your belly.

Boat pose yoga
Boat pose yoga

2. Stressed-out belly fat

How it looks:

The upper belly – just below your ribs – is expanded and bulges out when you sit or wear your shirts. You might get a sensation of discomfort and even breathlessness after a tiring day.

What you should do:

These types of belly are caused by the stressful life you might be leading, and lack of proper sleep at night.

Due to excessive fatigue, your metabolism slows down and fat gets deposited on your upper abdomen.

Start sleeping at the right time and follow healthy sleeping habits including switching off from your emails and phone at least half an hour before you hit the bed.

You can do low-impact, yoga stretches to get your body to relax. It also helps you digest your food.

Eat a little early at night so that you are not discomfited by the digestion process. Avoid caffeine at night.

3. Hormonal belly fat

How it looks:

Sudden weight gain around your lower belly, especially around your pelvic area is a sign of belly fat caused by hormonal imbalances. Many women suffer from PCOS, which might lead to the lower belly extending out and falling low. This weight gain happens suddenly without any apparent cause.

What you should do:

Consult your gynecologist to find out if it is caused by PCOS or other feminine hormonal issues. Get treatment for the same.

Besides try eating lean proteins like fish and chicken, along with cruciferous green vegetables which are also high in fiber.

Add antioxidant food like tomatoes and oranges to improve your body’s immunity. Try healthy juices and smoothies. Include exercises that work on your lower belly, along with hip raise to tone the lower belly area.

Hip and belly raise pose
Hip and belly raise pose

4. Tiered belly fat

How it looks:

You know you have tiered belly fat, when you find that your belly has two layers, with a bulging upper abdomen that dips near the belly button and then bulges out again.

The fat sits all-around your belly and hip area like a tire.

What should you do:

This is caused by a sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, especially alcohol and smoking. Say bye to those French fries and packs of salted chips if you want to fight this belly fat.

Include daily moderate-intensity exercise. Pick whole-grain cereals like oats, brown rice, lean proteins like eggs and fish, along vegetables.

This kind of belly fat is the toughest to lose – the progress might be slow but keep going at it. [2]

5. Bloated belly fat

How it looks:

The stomach looks distended with an increase in the overall girth of your abdomen. You get a sudden feeling of being very full.

There is a sense of tightness around your stomach. Your stomach looks completely round and extended forward.

What should you do:

This is not so much due to fat due to digestion disorder. You might notice this distension after certain foods.

It follows a cyclic pattern where your stomach might be in normal shape in the morning, and increase in girth as the day progresses.

Just follow a balanced diet with foods and herbs that assist and regulate digestion and eliminate specific foods like dairy or gluten that might be causing or aggravating the problem.

What should you do about belly fat in general

When you start noticing that your belly fat is increasing, the first move is to figure out the root cause. It could be any of the types of belly fat mentioned above.

This is important because each person gains fat in different ways and for different reasons.

As a rule, avoid smoking and alcohol if you want to fight belly fat. Add some moderate amount of exercise on a daily basis.

You don’t have to hit the gym – go for a run or jog, dance, swim, or do yoga to get your muscles moving.

Eat right. Small meals at regular intervals. Lots of fluids especially fruit-infused water. Add fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Nuts and whole cereals are a must too. [3]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is visceral fat?
A: Visceral fat is the invisible kind of fat that gets deposited between the organs in your abdomen.

Q: What are the root causes of belly fat?
A: Several factors contribute towards belly fat in women. These factors include motherhood, hormones, stress, unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.

Q: What are the foods that burn fat?
A: Foods that are rich in fibre, protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and several other micronutrients will help burn fat.

Q: What are the different types of belly fats?
A: The different types of belly fat are mommy’s belly fat, stressed out belly fat, hormonal belly fat, tiered belly fat and bloated belly fat.

2 thoughts on “Here’s Why Women Get Different Types of Belly Fat

    • somaraghavendra says:

      Hi Amy! We thank you sharing your feedback. This article explains why women get different types of belly fat. Keep following our blog to know more health information.

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