Excess body fat and weight gain can certainly cause a bulge in your belly, but they aren’t always the reason for your stomach sticking out.
Issues like bloating, food intolerance, poor posture, and stress can cause your stomach to stick out, as well as being overweight.
If you’re hoping to develop more of a flat stomach, then read on to learn more about why your stomach might be sticking out and what you can do to fix it.
5 Reasons Why Your Stomach Sticks Out
1. Standard weight gain
One of the more common reasons for visible belly protrusion is being overweight, which can lead to excess belly fat, particularly in men – sometimes this is referred to as a beer belly.
Usually, excess belly fat – and body fat in general – occurs when you consume more calories than you burn. This is called a calorie surplus and, without regular exercise, will lead to weight gain, more specifically the development of fat.
Some people are also more genetically predisposed to gaining weight quicker than others, plus people’s body shapes are all different and some might have more pronounced stomachs than others.
A more short-term – and extremely common – cause of your stomach sticking out is being bloated. This can lead to a particularly protruded belly and often causes discomfort because there is a build-up of pressure around your abdominal muscles.
Bloated stomachs are caused by a variety of different factors, though often it is due to food intolerances and consuming things that your body is not able to properly digest. This could be because the food is highly processed, or it’s a simple case of having food sensitivities like lactose intolerance.
Overeating can also cause bloating, as well as trapped gas, which can sometimes be caused by carbonated drinks. The good news is that bloating is a temporary issue and will usually pass on its own, though there are ways to alleviate the problem and help prevent it from happening in the first place.
Everybody feels stress; it is a natural reaction to perceived threats and problems, however, too much of it can lead to your stomach sticking out. This is because your adrenal glands release adrenaline and other hormones that can lead to weight gain.
There have been studies that prove chronic and long-term stress can lead to increases in fat around your abdominal muscles, which will cause your stomach to stick out. Part of the problem is that increased levels of stress tend to result in a heightened appetite, and turning to comfort food (which is often high in calories) is a common reaction.
This, of course, does not mean that everyone with a flat stomach does not experience stress, but it could explain why abdominal fat is occurring for some people.
Believe it or not, but the way you hold your body could be the reason your stomach is sticking out. Having bad posture and slouching a lot can lead to a protruded belly because your abdominal muscles are weakened and your organs are also being squeezed.
This leads to your stomach sticking out, producing a more visible belly. Plus, your lower back will also likely be curved inward, further accentuating your stomach.
The process of menopause causes a slew of changes to a woman’s body, one of which is a fluctuation in the distribution of hormones such as estrogen. This can affect the deposition of fat across the abdomen and stomach, making it protrude more.
Menopause can also cause physical changes such as a reduction in muscle mass, or a higher resistance to insulin, which can cause health problems and lead to weight gain.
How to Fix Your Stomach Sticking Out
Weight loss will often be the most practical solution to problems with your stomach sticking out, and regular exercise is needed to promote this. Physical activity is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and you should try to maintain a decent activity level every day.
In order to lose weight, you need to be expending more calories than you are consuming, and exercise can help greatly with this as it allows you to burn more calories in a shorter space of time.
Exercise can also help with other issues, like bad posture. Certain exercises can strengthen the core muscles and address other muscle imbalances around your spine, which can help fix common posture mistakes and make your stomach stick out less.
Regular exercise can promote proper sleep and more healthy food choices, as well, which can lead to weight loss.
As made clear in the sections above, the food and drink you consume will likely have an impact on how much your stomach protrudes, which is why keeping a food diary can be an effective way to monitor what you’re putting in your body.
If you’re undertaking a weight loss process in order to lower body fat, then you’ll need to consume fewer calories than you’re burning, so it’s best to avoid things like sugary drinks and white bread. You don’t need to cut them out altogether, but just enjoy them in moderation.
A food diary can also help you work out which foods might cause issues like bloating and belly pain.
Your stomach sticking out can be a sign of a health issue, but in most cases, it is caused by lifestyle choices and perhaps genetics. Once you’ve figured out what’s causing the problem, you can go about solving it through some adjustments to your routine and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my lower belly hard and sticking out?
This is a common symptom of bloating or food intolerance and is completely normal. It might be due to trapped wind or eating something that your body doesn’t agree with, and in most cases, the issue will resolve itself fairly quickly. If, however, it persists you should consider speaking to a doctor.