Most of us have belly fat to some extent or another. However, when it gets excessive, it can begin to cause health issues; some can be serious or even deadly. So to keep from getting too much belly fat, you have to know what causes it. Here are three main causes of excess belly fat:

Bad Genes

I listed genetics first because it is the hardest to control. If you are pre-disposed to accumulate belly fat based on your DNA structure, all you can do is try to control it the best you can through healthy eating and vigorous exercising. It will mean you’ll have to work a little harder than other people to see the same results, but it can be done through diligence and dedication.

Poor Diet

Today, most people do not eat properly by choice. We rely too heavily on processed and fast food, both of which are not good for us.

Instead, we should focus on a high protein/low carb diet by mainly eating these foods:

  • fresh fruits – berries, apples, melons, and peaches
  • fresh vegetables – asparagus, cauliflower, cucumbers, and cabbage
  • whole grains – whole wheat, oats, brown rice, and quinoa
  • lean protein – chicken, turkey, tuna, fish, eggs, and lean cuts of meat

The type of food we eat is not the only reason we get fat; how much we eat (i.e. portion control) is also important. One trick many people use is to put food on a smaller plate. It tricks your mind into thinking you ate more than you did. Remember these four simple “rules of thumb” when it comes to portion control size:

  • 3 ounces of lean meat = deck of cards
  • 1/2 cup of fresh fruit = 1/2 baseball
  • 1 cup of salad = 1 baseball
  • 1 cup of cereal flakes = a fist

Lack of Exercise

Not only is a poor diet the cause of us gaining excess belly fat; a sedentary lifestyle is a major contributor also. When combined with a diet that relies heavily on processed and fast food – both high in saturated fat and calories – your body will store the extra calories it doesn’t need as fat. In many people that fat gets stored as belly fat – the worst kind of fat.

Fortunately, belly fat is one of the first fats to burn off once you start exercising. Just 30 minutes a day of vigorous activity, such as walking, running, or swimming (and eating healthy) will start burning off excess belly fat. Done diligently, you should start to see results in two weeks.

Because excess belly fat is so dangerous, it is imperative that you start eating healthy and exercising. As with other types of weight loss, it comes down to burning more calories than you take in over a period of time; burn 3,500 more calories per week than you eat, you’ll lose a pound. Eventually healthy eating and exercising will become part of your lifestyle and you won’t think twice about it.