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Stress and Belly Fat: The Vicious Cycle of Stress, Excess Abdominal Fat and Why It's So Hard to Lose It

Jul 1, 2008
Too much fat anywhere is not a good thing, but there are several reasons why too much belly fat is especially bad: It's the most likely to cause health problems, it makes it difficult to find clothes that fit, which causes challenges with projecting a professional image as well as self-esteem, and it also makes strangers draw inappropriate conclusions. Moreover, since it is often stress that either caused or continues to increase this particular pattern of fat distribution, the resulting stress from the consequences may well make the problem even worse.

1. Health Problems:

By now, most people know that too much fat upfront and center causes major health problems. We have read for years now that apples are bad - i.e., bodies shaped like apples, with most of the excess fat stored right in the stomach. Why? Apple shaped people have a much higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and related ailments. In fact, there's now a name for the body shape and its associated conditions: Syndrome X. And syndrome X is bad news indeed.

2. Professional Image:

The clothing industry has yet to catch up to the realities of body fat distribution among an ever increasing number of women. Most clothes that allow for a less than slender waistline are specifically made for pregnant women, and these days, many of them are designed to show off that pregnant belly rather than to camouflage and minimize it. This may work nicely for women who are in fact pregnant, but it makes things worse for those who aren't.

So it can be quite challenging to find flattering clothes, short of having them custom made. Some companies are beginning to see the potential in offering flexible waistbands, but far too often, clothes, even in stores specializing in plus-sized women, are designed for pear-shaped women. Women with apple shapes have a much more difficult time finding attractive, well-fitting, and professional-looking clothes.

3. Problematic And Embarrassing Assumptions:

Big bellies in men, sometimes referred to as beer bellies, can cause people to think that the bearer might have issues with excessive drinking, certainly a problematic assumption with potentially detrimental consequences for a man's career.

Women with excess fat in that area on the other hand are assumed to be pregnant, which theoretically has the benefit of being offered seats in crowded subway trains and such, but more likely causes strangers to feel at liberty to ask about due dates or even reach out and touch a woman's belly. While this sort of thing is an inappropriate violation of personal boundaries, it is also extremely humiliating to non-pregnant recipients, to say the least.

4. The Vicious Cycle:

All three of the above consequences of excess belly fat have yet another unfortunate consequence resulting from the previous three: They cause even more stress, and since stress may well have been responsible for the excess abdominal fat in the first place, and since it makes the body accumulate even more fat right where it's least wanted and prevents the fat that's already there from being burned off, the stress resulting from too much belly fat can easily result in more of the same and makes it even more difficult for affected people to lose weight and improve the situation. Thus, the vicious cycle continues and feeds on itself.
About the Author
And if you recognize yourself or someone you care about in this article, you are invited to get your FREE ebook with seven stress-reducing strategies.

If you want Elisabeth Kuhn's full-sized version instead, with lots more strategies, you can get it at InstantStressReliefStrategies.com
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