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What Belly Type Do You Have?

09th January 2014
types of belly

Stress can make you gain weight – we’ve heard this so many times and we know it’s true, it’s a scientifically proven fact. However, in some people stressful periods seem to have exactly the opposite effect, making them lose weight and get skinnier, but also more tired and prone to ailments.

Women tend to put on weight as they approach menopause, and most of the newly gained fats go either on the hips, belly on thighs, or in the upper body. Men on the other hand are less likely to gain weight in the lower body, but are more prone to storing excess belly fat.

Men and women gain fat differently due to hormones: estrogen stores fat in the lower body, and as you know, this hormone is found in higher amounts in women. However, as levels of this hormone decrease, fats migrate from the lower body to the upper body, so this is why postmenopausal women are more likely to have higher belly fat percentages.
belly fat in women and men

In men, estrogen levels are also low, so although testosterone helps in keeping the fat percentage lower (this hormone supports the fat metabolism), the lack of estrogen contributes to belly fat gain. Males are typically apple shaped while females are pear shaped.

These facts are well known, but Dr. Eric Berg proposes a different approach to fat gain and weight loss. His approach is based on the type of body and belly fat each person has. Knowing the cause for your weight gain can help you determine how to control it.

These are the four different belly types:


  • – Adrenal belly
  • – Ovary belly
  • – Thyroid belly
  • – Liver belly

types of belly

Most people are a combination of these body (or belly) types, but each of us has a predominant fat storing pattern, which makes us more likely to gain weight in a certain area of our body.

The Liver belly type

liver belly type
The typical image for people who store fat due to liver problems is the so-called pot belly: thin arms and legs, lots of fat sticking out in the abdominal area.

People with this belly type often accuse digestive problems, bloating, flatulence, as well as mid back pain and soreness without any apparent reason. Right shoulder pain might also appear.

This pattern is more frequent in men, but women may have this belly type as well. How does the liver belly appear? Because people in this category wake up with low blood sugar levels after fasting overnight.

Normally, in healthy adults, blood sugar levels rise in the morning, but in people with liver belly, blood glucose is lower in the morning, irritability is higher and hunger doesn’t disappear after eating. This happens because bile isn’t released properly and food isn’t broken down as it should, so these people feel hungry after eating and crave for sugars, as a result of their low energy levels.

Solution to lowering the amount of fat in the abdominal area for people in this group: focus on restoring your liver’s functioning, and eat more proteins, as these help keeping blood sugar levels under control. Replace simple carbs with complex ones, coming from fruits and veggies, and eliminate soda and alcoholic beverages from your menu. Your liver needs to detox for you to lose the liver belly, so water should become your favorite beverage.

The Thyroid belly type

thyroid belly type

In people with thyroid belly, the fat is usually distributed throughout the entire body, from neck and shoulders to legs, and the accumulation of excess weight is caused by an abnormal dominance of estrogen. This slows down the thyroid and causes weight gain, but the storage of lipids isn’t the only health issue in these people: they tend to lose hair, to have brittle fingernails and have a poor circulation and cold extremities.

People in this category often wake up tired even after sleeping for 8 hours, have cravings for sweets and fats, have saggy skin on their arms and tend to have thinner outer eyebrows. Solution for getting rid of the thyroid belly is to restore the functioning of this gland and normalize the levels of estrogen. Women are more likely to get this type of fat, but men can have it as well.

The Adrenal belly type

adrenal belly type

These are the individuals that gain weight if they undergo stressful periods, and the belly fat tends to cause a saggy abdomen, which drops toward the legs. Sustained periods of stress make both men and women in this group gain large amounts of fat around their waist, and this leads to low back pain, general fatigue and even fibromyalgia.

Due to the increased stress levels, people in this group have poor sleep patterns, poor memory, brain fog, worry excessively and often crave for salty foods at night. People with adrenal belly are irritable and edgy most of the times and they’re very likely to try restrictive diets and to overtrain, but this ends up causing even more stress.

Solution? Eliminate the stressful factors, eat a light snack 2 hours before going to bed, to stop the cravings, get more rest and make sure to sleep in complete darkness, as this ensures a restful sleep. A tired body needs sleep and tired adrenal glands need rest, so allow your body to rest properly and weight loss will happen.

The Ovary belly type

ovary belly type

This is found exclusively in women and usually looks like saddlebags and lower stomach fat. Estrogen excess is the cause of this type of belly, and women are more likely to start storing fat in the mentioned areas after giving birth, due to hormonal changes and estrogen spikes.

Women in this group are very likely to have heavy periods, facial hair, frequent acne outbreaks and headaches, to suffer from bloating, PMS, depression and ovarian cysts. Lower back pain and hip pain, as well as knee pain during the menstrual period are very likely to appear. Water retention also occurs during the cycle, along with a low libido, hot flashes, mood swings and night sweats.

The solution in this case is to balance the hormonal levels and fix the ovarian cysts, if present. Diet should be richer in natural, healthy foods and should include mostly protein and fat from vegetal sources, as animal products are very likely to be loaded with hormones.

Specific diets and exercise programs have been developed for each of these types of belly fat, so it’s worth spending a few more minutes researching this topic and getting familiar with the proper weight loss approach for each category.

If you have a weight loss success story to share, we’d like to hear from you! Feel free to leave your comment below, or join our community on Facebook!

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