What Is a Stress Belly Fat ?
When it comes to belly fat, most people incorrectly assume that it is the result of eating too many calories. Where adipose tissue, also known as body fat, is stored on the body indicates whether it is due to diet or if there is an underlying issue.
Stress belly refers to the additional abdominal fat that develops as a result of prolonged or chronic stress. It is not a medical term, but rather a popular description of how stress and stress hormones affect the abdominal area. If you would like to learn more about how to get rid of stress belly using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), read on.
Stress Belly Fat According to TCM
According to TCM
According to TCM, fat specifically in the abdominal area, is believed to be caused by a variety of factors, including poor diet, lack of physical activity, and chronic stress.
“In Chinese medicine, the liver system is responsible for processing stress, and when it becomes overwhelmed, it tends to overact on the spleen system,” says Vander Baan.
When the spleen is not performing properly due to weakness or deficiency, it will be unable to properly route fluids and nutrients to the parts of the body where they are needed, leading to a buildup of undigested matter. These turn into dampness and accumulation of phlegm.
All of which can contribute to weight gain, fat will then be stored in the middle part of the body (abdominal area). If this phlegm and dampness are left untreated, it turns into heat, or heat dampness and toxin over time. All these will cause conditions like constipation and stress belly.
Stress is associated with the liver. Liver Qi is affected by stress which may result in disharmony.
The Liver fails to regulate Qi (energy) flow, causing Qi stagnation, when the Qi obstructions in organ meridians will slow down the process of metabolism. And you will get less likely to flush out excess dampness and toxins.
How to Get Rid of Stress Belly Fat Using TCM
Practitioners of TCM can provide a number of options for those who would like to learn how to get rid of stress belly fat. Some examples include:
- Acupuncture: Proven safe and effective with little to no adverse side effects, acupuncture is a great treatment for reducing physiological stress. Acupuncture improves Qi and blood circulation and can improve Qi, blood, yin, and yang deficiencies. It can also help to relieve stress by bringing balance to both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
In addition to restoring balance, a study demonstrated that acupuncture has been shown to reduce cortisol content.
- Cupping: Cupping is a type of treatment that uses cups placed directly on the skin to create negative pressure using suction. This gentle suction can aid in ridding the body of toxins, improving blood circulation, and restoring hormonal balance. Cupping, when paired with acupuncture, can result in a reduction in both BMI and waist circumference.
Herbal Remedies for Stressed Hormonal Belly
Stress belly fat related to overall weight gain, not just a separate issue. It’s important to seek solution on the root cause. There are many drug-free herbal options could help. Check out the natural remedies for stress belly fat caused by:
- Dampness accumulation: Supplementing with astragalus root will reduce dampness thanks to its diuretic properties. Adding black atractylodes rhizome will help to tonify qi and strengthen the spleen. The poria mushroom will help to reduce inflammation with the added benefit of having antioxidant properties.
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- For heat dampness: Job’s tears seed, also known as coix seed, helps to decrease dampness due to its protein and polysaccharide content which helps to regulate water. Water plantain rhizome has a diuretic effect that helps to clear heat dampness. Adding folium nelumbinis will help to resolve dampness by invigorating the spleen.
- For qi and blood stagnation: Also known by the scientific name Cyperus rotundus, nutgrass rhizome will help to calm the liver while regulating qi to relieve liver qi stagnation. Concoctions that include tangerine peel have been shown in studies to remove liver stagnation and reduce blood stasis. Supplementing with hawthorn berries may help to limit the maturation of fat cells.
Lifestyle Changes for Stress Belly Fat
It’s important to note that reducing abdominal fat through a combination of healthy diet, regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight.
A healthy diet will go a long way to reduce belly fat. In addition to the above treatments and herbal remedies, it is important to avoid sugary foods. Instead, fill up on healthy fat and lean proteins.
Exercise will also help the body to manage its response to stress. Regular exercise will help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Consider creating a routine of light exercises such as walking, yoga, or bicycling to help refocus the mind away from stress.
Though many may think fat accumulation is just about calories, the answer to how to get rid of stress belly is less about calorie count and more about bringing balance to hormones while reducing dampness and any possible deficiencies to restore Qi and proper blood flow.
Treatment with acupuncture or cupping will help to relieve stress while improving circulation. Herbal remedies can help to eliminate dampness while resolving deficiencies. Exercise and a healthy diet that is low in sugar will also aid in getting rid of stress belly fat.
If you have been experiencing a stressed hormonal belly and are looking for a non-invasive, drug-free treatment, speak to a TCM practitioner about how the above solutions can help.
Frequently asked questions
Is stress belly fat only caused by stress?
Stress is a major contributing factor to stress belly fat, but it can also be caused by other factors such as hormonal issues, poor diet, lack of exercise, and other complications.
Are there medical conditions that can cause belly fat gain ?
Yes, There are. Some examples include:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A hormonal disorder that can cause weight gain, insulin resistance, and an increase in belly fat.
- Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty losing weight.
- Metabolic Syndrome: A cluster of conditions that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
- Insulin resistance: When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.
- Certain Medications : Some medications can cause weight gain, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and corticosteroids.
It’s important to note that these are just examples of medical conditions that can cause belly fat gain, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How do you know if you have a stress belly?
People with stress belly may experience symptoms such as hunger all the time, indigestion, fatigue, and difficulty losing weight etc.
It’s important to remember that having a stress belly is not a medical diagnosis, it’s a term used to describe the way stress and stress hormones impact your midsection. If you are concerned about your health, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
what's the difference between Hormonal belly vs stress belly
Hormonal belly and stress belly are both related to the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area, but they have different causes. Both Hormonal belly and stress belly can be reduced through a combination of stress management techniques, healthy diet, and regular exercise. It’s important to consult with a Tcm healthcare professional if you suspect hormonal imbalances, as they can help with appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Astragalus (Huang Qi)
Astragalus herb supplements (Huang Qi) has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. This powerful herb can be added to your daily routine to strengthen the immune system, increase stamina, strength, and vitality. Astragalus herb tablets are one of the primary immune tonifiers and natural antioxidants that protects the cells from external influences by increasing the antibody production to enhance the immunity system.
Atractylodes (Bai Zhu)
Atractylodes or Bai Zhu is a key herb in Chinese Medicine. This atractylodes supplement helps remove the accumulation of food, Phlegm and Qi ( energy ) and boosts the health of Spleen, eliminates fluid retention and offers long term digestive as well as weight goal management benefits. Atractylodes tablets can be added to your daily routine to control sugar cravings and appetite, it is also one of best to promote digestion.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with stress belly fat, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.