Need to know how to get rid of a hanging belly? If you have the dreaded belly “overhang” then I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do to get rid of it. A big problem with the apron stomach overhang is it can still stay really bad even after you’ve lost a lot of weight. You could even slim down the pooch itself making it smaller but it’ll still hang down.
This dreaded apron belly can run in your family and you can get it even if you’ve never had any children. Women can get this hanging belly fat after pregnancy or a c-section (1). Sometimes the belly can hang so low that you’ll feel gross every time you look in the mirror.
But the good news is you don’t have to go through surgery to get rid of it. There is hope even if your belly flap is hanging low. Even if you’re already at your goal weight you can still have this saggy lower abdomen.
Even making progress with weight loss won’t be enough to lose this mother’s apron. This can be very frustrating and demoralizing to see the weight falling off everywhere else on your body except your loose belly flap. And it’ll end up ruining your enjoyment of weight loss that you should normally be proud of.
Now let’s get into the root cause of this hanging belly and what you need to do to get rid of it.
Why You Have a Hanging Belly
Unfortunately, we all weren’t born with the genetics to be a Victoria’s Secret model. Many of us were born with genetics to becoming pre-disposed to obesity (2). And you probably inherited the genes from your parents to store excess fat in your stomach area (3).
Now men are more likely to have an apple-shaped body and women a pear-shaped body (4). But many women today also suffer from having excess lower belly fat to the point it hangs down off their pants. And if you gained a lot of weight when you were younger and didn’t lose it until you were older then you’ll be more likely to suffer from the dreaded apron belly (5).
Over the years this excess belly fat has stretched some of your skin making it so loose that it hangs down now. But just because you didn’t start losing weight until you were older doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. And having the genetics for an apron belly doesn’t mean that you have to live with it forever.
Weight loss isn’t the only thing you’re going to need to do to get rid of it. It’s going to be more complicated than that. That’s why many people who have lost a lot of weight even up to 100 pounds can still have this belly flap. Let’s dig into what you need to do to start losing this dreaded stomach overhang.
How to Lose The Hanging Belly
Now there are a few reasons why you haven’t been able to lose the apron belly despite losing weight. The problem is that weight loss isn’t going to be enough. The trick is going to be to instead lower your body fat (6).
When most people lose weight they not only lose fat but they also lose their lean muscle mass (7). Your muscle is what holds everything in tight so it looks toned. But when you don’t have enough muscle on your body then your body fat will also stay or become higher. And without lowering your body fat you’ll end up never getting rid of this stubborn fat on your belly.
Since you probably have the genes to storing more fat in your stomach then this is going to be the place fat wants to cling on to. It’s the first place you’re going to gain fat and it’s the last place you’re going to lose it. But if you only lose weight but keep a high body fat then your body is never going to lose this stubborn fat. You have to lower the body fat on your entire body then finally the troublesome belly flap will be gone.
Adding in some abdominal specific exercises will also give you some muscle in your stomach. This will help to improve the toned and tight appearance of your stomach region. You can check out my favorite ab exercises here.
Finally, if your skin has been dramatically stretched then all of the stomach overhang might not completely go away. But you’ll still be able to slim it down a lot to the point you’re satisfied with the results. It’s going to depend on your age, skin elasticity, how overweight you were, and just how bad your stomach overhang is.
Tighten The Loose Saggy Lower Belly Skin
If the skin on your lower belly is flappy and loose after losing a lot of weight then there are some natural solutions you can use to tighten it back up. Now your skin is the biggest organ on your entire body and its biggest protein is collagen (8).
Collagen is like the “structural support” for your skin. It holds everything together nice and tight. Without collagen, your skin will slowly lose its firmness and strength (9). As we age our collagen production naturally goes down which is why we start to get more wrinkles, saggy skin, and age spots (10).
If you’ve been overweight for a long time then your collagen fibers were most likely damaged. This is why your lower belly is remaining loose and saggy. Your skin has lost its ability to “snap back” and retract. This is why losing the weight when you’re younger gives you better results with losing the belly overhang.
But the good news is studies have found supplementing with collagen is very effective for improving skin elasticity (11). Taking collagen will help to plump and perk back up your loose saggy skin making it appear smoother and tighter (12).
I use and recommend Ageless Collagen since it contains all 5 of the right types of collagen you need for maximal results. I just toss a scoop in my daily protein shake and can’t even taste that it’s in there.
After Pregnancy or C-Section Overhang
A hanging belly can get even worse after you’ve had a c-section since your belly fat can then become stretched-out pregnancy skin. This belly ledge can be so bad that it’s almost impossible to hide even under your clothing. And it’s easy for anyone to become self-conscious when this loose skin hangs down over your scar. It can be hard to get this hanging pooch smaller and less noticeable but it’s possible.
The most frustrating part about this new belly roll is you could have had a flat stomach before your pregnancy. It is going to take some time for your skin to tighten back up but you can still get that flat belly back. If it’s only weeks after your c-section then be fair with yourself. It’ll take a little time for it to shrink back down after being stretched out for nine months.
The trick to losing this baby weight and getting rid of the loose tummy skin is to simply lower your body fat. This is going to take exercise with strength training and preferably higher intensity cardio. If you’re not exercising that much then it’s going to take a lot longer and you may never get rid of the loose and fluffy tummy.
Genetics do play a role and some women are lucky enough to never have this problem. If you have an health issues then you should follow medical advice before starting any diet or exercise. Unexplained weight gain after pregnancy might require medical advice from hormonal causes. But if you want to get rid of this belly ledge then you’re going to have to get to work lowering your body fat and adding in some abdominal muscle to your stomach.
How to Lower Your Body Fat
There are some proven methods you can use that are backed by science to lower your body fat. Now you will naturally lose some weight as you lower your body fat. But don’t be shocked if the scale is falling down every time you step on it.
Muscle weighs something too so you could easily be burning fat and adding some muscle but the scale will deceptively show little movement. Remember focus on tracking your body fat and inch measurements instead. They’ll give you a much more accurate picture of your progress.
It’s going to be near impossible to lower your body fat if you’re not strength training (13). I’m not saying you have to work out like a competitive bodybuilder but you’re going to have to strength train to build some lean muscle. Adding muscle to your body acts like a natural thermogenic which will add up to you burning more fat (14).
Using full-body strength training routines in a high-intensity circuit fashion usually results in the best fat burning and muscle building (15). Studies have found strength training to be highly effective at burning the visceral fat that’s found deep in your belly (16). HIIT workouts are also another effective way to lower your belly fat and add some lean muscles (17).
But you don’t have to go to the gym and weight train like you’re at Muscle Beach. You can do bodyweight exercises or use exercise bands at home. Ideally, you’ll add in some cardio after your strength training workout for an extra fat burn. For a full-body fat-burning workout plan that uses minimal equipment check out my Flat Belly Formula system.
High Protein Diet
Your body is most effective at building muscles when you’re on a high protein diet (18). Eating more protein also acts as a natural appetite suppressant which can keep you from eating excess calories (19). You’ll boost your metabolism by eating a higher protein diet since your body has to work harder to process these calories (20).
The reason athletes and bodybuilders eat a high protein diet is that it’s so effective at building muscles. If you’re having a hard time getting enough protein then a simple solution is to add a low carb protein shake to your daily routine.
Using intermittent fasting will a highly effective way to burn more fat while preserving lean muscle. Plus fasting enables autophagy in your body which is the recycling of old cells. A 2014 study found as autophagy declines in your body with age it’ll lead to the deterioration of your skins integrity leading to loose skin (21). As you age your cells become stressed out which directly affects your skin. Fasting is a smart way to lose those stubborn pounds while at the same time tightening up your skin.
Low Carb + Low Sugar
If you have a lot of fat and an overhanging belly to lose then cutting out the excess junk food carbs and sugars is the way to go. Sugar and most carbs will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels (22). These causes a hormonal disruption in your body forcing your body into a fat-storing mode (23).
As your body goes through this roller coaster of hormones it’ll cause you to crave more sugar and carbs. This sets off a fat-storing cycle that can only end with your apron belly getting bigger and bigger. Your body will have a hard time burning off your current fat stores if it’s getting a heavy supply of carbs and sugar. A diet full of french fries, and ice cream will make it near impossible to get rid of this hanging skin.
Once you cut out these carbs and sugars your body will then be forced to use your current fat cells as fuel. Your body creates ketones that signal for your body to burn through fat for energy (24). Along with cutting out carbs and sugar try intermittent fasting in the mornings with Keto Elevate. It’ll trick your body into a ketogenic state by flooding your body with high-quality ketones resulting in more fat burning.
The above three methods for lowering your body fat will be the most effective for getting results. But there are more tricks of the trade you can use to further boost and accelerate your results.
Cutting out alcohol will instantly lower your daily calorie intake (25). Calories from alcohol are prioritized in your body to be burned off for energy. So if your body is busy burning off alcohol calories it’s not going to be burning your fat stores. There are studies linking alcohol to increases in belly fat (26).
Adding a probiotic to your daily routine is a great way to lower your body fat and belly pooch (27). Probiotics are good bacteria found in your stomach that reduce bloating, lower inflammation, and improve digestion. I take a probiotic daily as well as increasing my fiber intake with psyllium husk to optimize my gut health.
Eating more good fats instead of bad fats will also enhance your results. Be careful with bad vegetable oils that’ll cause inflammation in your body and making it more difficult to burn off fat. Look for the good fats like those you can find in my Food List Cheat Sheet instead.
One more big tip to lowering your body fat is to get enough sleep. I know it can be crazy hard to get enough quality sleep especially if you have a family and a lot of responsibilities. Studies have found those who slept the least also contained the highest amounts of stomach fat (28).
Getting enough sleep at night will also give you more self control the next day to exercise and stick to your diet (29). Your stress levels will also go down which will helps since stress causes your body to add excess fatty tissue to your apron belly (30).
The Last Word
Getting rid of this overhang belly can seem like it’s impossible. But the good news is you’re not doomed to live with this “new body” forever. As long as you’re willing to put in the work with what works then you’ll get results.
Most people just try to lose weight by cutting their calories. But the reality is weight loss is only ‘step 1’ of getting rid of stubborn fat. The only way to get rid of stubborn fat is to lower your body fat.
Then you can further tone and tighten the area with specific muscle-building exercises. Diet and exercise for many people is the most effective for losing the stomach overhang without surgery.
And like with anything your results will get better the more consistent and committed you are. If all this sounds like a lot then just take things one step at a time. Make small changes week by week and you’ll be surprised how fast things can add up.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.