Why Does My Stomach Stick Out Even If I’m Not Fat?

There are a few reasons that someone’s stomach can stick out. The first is body fat levels, and the second is if someone is developing heart disease or not, and the third is related to posture. Let’s take a look.

Bodyfat Levels And The Stomach

If someone is overweight, that extra fat stored under the skin can make them bigger everywhere, including the stomach. This could be one reason that the belly sticks out, but if you’re not fat, this wouldn’t really apply to you.


Heart Disease/Diabetes And The Stomach

When you are chronically inflamed, it causes an increase in heart disease and diabetes and certain types of cancer. Now, this isn’t widely known, but you can be stick-skinny and have type II diabetes.

You can be thin and develop heart disease and diabetes.

How is this possible?

Your body isn’t getting the minerals and vitamins it needs for organ health, so your organs are getting damaged. But maybe you don’t eat very much, or you do fasting to eat less calories.

Or some people’s bodies, like ectomorphs, will increase their metabolism and fidgeting when eating high-calorie processed foods. So some people can eat things like chips and cookies which have no nutrients in them, and then their body can get rid of the extra calories—no problem.

I was one of these people before when I was clinically underweight, yet I was eating bags of chips, boxes of cookies, Eggo waffles with peanut butter and syrup poured all over it, etc. Yet, I was still skinny despite eating a ridiculous amount of calories. (Here I am gaining 27 pounds of lean mass in 4 months after improving my diet and lifting weights.)

Jared Polowick Muscle Building

Low Body Fat With High Visceral Fat

Researchers have now found that a specific type of fat will start to develop around the belly and the chin. This type of fat is called deep, superficial subcutaneous fat, and it is linked to visceral fat, and both of those are linked to heart disease and diabetes.

So it is possible to have a low amount of regular body fat while having a higher amount of stubborn fat, specifically at the belly (and sometimes the neck to make a double-chin.)

Visceral Fat

So it is possible for someone to have low body levels yet still have a stomach sticking out due to developing heart disease and diabetes due to chronic inflammation.


Posture And The Stomach

Some people aren’t fat, but they work a desk job and sit all day. Their body gets better at sitting, and they lose movement variety in their day, and their mobility decreases. Now it’s hard to raise your arms above your head, and your pelvis tilts forward, stretching your abs out. This can also be a cause of bad back pain.

It looks like you’re sitting, but you’re standing:

Skinny-Fat Belly Postural
Illustration By Bony to Beastly

Having bad posture could be all sorts of things often called:

  • anterior pelvic tilt
  • upper/lower cross syndrome
  • forward head tilt / nerd neck
  • kyphosis and lordosis

How To Fix Bad Posture

Now a lot of people on Youtube will show you a stretch you need to do every day to keep your posture. Don’t get me wrong—I think mobility routines and stretches and all those sorts of things can be helpful, especially when trying to regain your movement.

Improve Your Diet To Improve Your Posture

But I also believe that posture is fundamentally a nutrient issue. This is because we can also see postural issues happen in agricultural animals during specific nutrient deficiencies, such as swayback in sheep and cattle being caused by a copper deficiency. This is because copper is needed for spinal health as it’s used in collagen and bone formation.

Most of us in the Western world have some sort of nutrient deficiency because of being raised on processed foods, or a bad diet as an adult, or bad gut health due to antibiotics and having trouble with digestion, etc.

So improving your diet combined with a routine to regain your mobility can be helpful.

In my experience, I found that lifting weights really helped me improve my posture. This is because you would try and get as tall as possible, and with good form, put yourself under a heavy weight, which would challenge your muscles in a position while you’re standing tall.

Postural Exercises I Found Helpful

Exercises I found particularly good for postural rehab were:

  • The Deadbug
  • Front Planks
  • Standing Dumbell Overhead Press (ensure good rib control)
  • Conventional Deadlift
  • Weighted Farmer Carries

I also found that spending more time standing and going for long walks outside was also good, as I was practicing time moving, and my body would want to get efficient at that.

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