I have been getting a lot of questions about fat deposition in the abdomen.
When and why do women still store fat in their abdomens, even though they traditionally have more subcutaneous fat than men? These are the top four reasons:
1) Women store fat in the abdomen during menopause.
Women store fat in their abdomens during menopause fairly frequently. This is because estrogen levels are dropping sharply. Many women supplement with bio-identical hormones, in fact, and see their weight gain/ weight shift minimize. Another great way to mitigate this problem is to eat a diet consisting of whole foods (no processed, grains, legumes and dairy), which will minimize insulin spiking that can also contribute to abdominal fat gain, and which will also keep hormone levels fairly well-balanced.
2) Women store fat in the abdomen when they are stressed out.
Cortisol drives abdominal fat deposition and breaks down fat burning muscle. This comes from stress as well as from any loss of sleep quality that may have occurred as a result of stress. When cortisol is high and insulin is too we’ve got a formula for increased fat storage in the abdomen.
3) Women store fat in the abdomen when they are insulin resistant.
Insulin resistant (IR) women experience more abdominal fat deposition than those who are insulin sensitive. Moreover, a woman at any single BMI can be insulin resistant, which means that thin women can have IR problems still and deposit fat in their abdomens. Insulin sensitivity in both overweight and normal weight women drives abdominal fat deposition.
4) Women store fat in the abdomen when they are particularly genetically primed to.
Some women naturally have more fat in their abdomens than other women do– that’s just how genetic rolls the dice. It’s okay, it really is. It does not mean you are unhealthy. Only blood tests might reveal that. Each woman has a different shape particular to her genetics and her history.
Hope this clears up why some women store fat in the abdomen, why it is so difficult for women to metabolize fat near the belly, and how to deal with body changes that come with aging, lifestyle and sometimes, our inherited genes. 🙂