The Real Reason Not Everyone Can Get A Flat Stomach

It's not uncommon to dream about having defined abs and a flat stomach like models in magazines. And while it's certainly not a bad thing to have fitness goals, it's important to be realistic about what we can and can't achieve with our bodies. Here's why you may be struggling to get a flat stomach.

Many people think getting a flat tummy comes down to diet and exercise, but there are many other factors that play into your body shape. Age, sex, hormones, sleep habits, and genetics all contribute to how your body looks (via Verywell Fit). Women tend to store fat in their lower stomachs while men store it in the middle of their stomachs. Even within those categories, genetics play a huge role in how people store and lose fat. According to a 2014 review in Diabetologia, researchers have found "good evidence that body fat distribution (FD) is controlled by genetic factors." Simply put, it can be much harder, if not impossible, for some people to get a flat stomach no matter how much work they put in.

You may never get a completely flat stomach, and that's okay

While we tend to view washboard abs as the pinnacle of health, there are many aspects of your life that play into your overall health. Having a flat stomach doesn't necessarily mean you're any healthier than someone who holds more fat in that area (via The Healthy). In addition to genetics, taking certain medications that are crucial for your overall wellbeing can make you more prone to weight gain.

Women especially can have a tough time flattening their stomachs in part due to their biology. Belly fat helps protect reproductive organs before and during pregnancy (via Bustle). This is why most women begin storing fat around their stomachs at a young age and why it's hard to get rid of the fat there.

Instead of focusing on flattening your tummy, a better way to determine health is to stay active. Working out regularly and eating a well-balanced diet are the most important things to do to stay healthy. Being skinny doesn't mean you're healthy and having some extra fat on your stomach doesn't mean you're unhealthy. Stay active, eat well, and love the body you're in.