How to Get Rid of Fat Rolls

woman with stomach rolls sitting down

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It's not uncommon for people to have fat rolls around their belly, especially when sitting down. For some, these rolls can be bothersome. While it isn't possible to lose fat in just one area, there are things you can do to reduce belly fat rolls and make them less noticeable.

What Causes Fat Rolls?

Fat rolls around the belly are a common complaint among dieters. Why? It's frustrating to follow a weight loss plan properly and feel lean and thin when standing, only to be disappointed when you grab a chair. Yet, there's a simple reason for that excess flesh.

When you stand up tall, your torso is elongated. The excess skin and flesh in your midsection are spread out. When you sit down, your torso shortens. The skin and flesh are now compacted into a smaller space. The result is that you develop a few fleshy folds.

Even thin people can get excess fat around their belly button when their spine curves and midsection is compressed.

What are a few factors that might cause some people to develop fat rolls more so than others?

  • Excess body fat: If your body fat percentage is higher, some of that excess fat is likely sitting around your middle, resulting in rolls that appear when standing or sitting.
  • Genetics: Research has found that storing excess fat in the abdominal area is up to 60% genetic. This study adds your genes can also determine if the excess fat sits deeper inside your midsection (visceral fat) or if the fat stays closer to the skin (subcutaneous fat).
  • Poor posture: Just as belly fat rolls are more likely to appear when sitting versus standing due to a shortened torso, the same is true if you have poor posture. Leaning forward or slouching can both cause bigger or more prominent fat rolls.

Health Risks of Fat Rolls

Just because a seated belly roll is common, doesn't mean that belly fat is good. Some belly fat is necessary to protect your organs, but too much is not healthy.

Abdominal obesity—also called visceral obesity—carries several significant health risks. People who carry excess fat in the waist area are at higher risk for:

  • Glucose intolerance
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Insulin resistance

So are you doomed to have health problems if you have belly rolls? No, not necessarily. But it is smart to check your midsection to see if losing weight might improve your health.

How to Measure Visceral Fat

So how do you know how much belly fat is too much? There are two different measurement methods that can each easily be performed in the privacy of your own home. (Both tests should be performed while standing.)

Waist Circumference

This is a measurement taken around the abdomen at the level of the umbilicus (belly button). You'll need a flexible tape measure to perform this test.

Once you take your waist circumference measurements, compare your numbers to see if your measurement falls in the healthy range or if it puts you at higher risk of weight-related health issues.

Hip-Waist Ratio

You can also compare your waist measurement to your hip measurement to get an estimate of your health risks. You'll need a flexible tape measure for this test, and you may want to use a calculator as well.

Can You Get Rid of Fat Rolls?

If your home tests reveal that you carry too much belly fat, you should still get it checked by your doctor. Your doctor can confirm your results and also talk to you about how your health history affects your risk for disease.

Keep in mind that exercise alone is not likely to make a big difference in your belly fat. Exercise helps your body to burn more calories all day long. The extra calories you burn might help you reach the calorie deficit needed for weight loss, but you can't spot reduce.

You can't do sit-ups and hope that only your waistline will get smaller.

How to Reduce Fat Rolls

If you decide to slim down in order to reduce your belly rolls, there are several things you can do.

  • Calorie controlled diet: A consistent, calorie-controlled, balanced diet for weight loss is a smart way to reduce your waistline. While you can't control where you will lose weight, if you slim down significantly, you are likely to see positive changes in your upper and lower stomach fat.
  • Cardio exercise: You can also start a cardio exercise program to slim down. There are cardio workouts suitable for all fitness levels, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your situation and needs.
  • Strength training: The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns—even while at rest. Engage in a high-intensity weight training workout at least once a week to kick your belly fat burning potential up a notch.
  • Stretching: One way that stretching helps you reduce your fat rolls is by helping your body get rid of stress. Since stress can lead to emotional eating, reducing this feeling enables you to make better food choices. Make total body stretches part of your regular fitness routine.
  • Core training: Even though you can't spot reduce belly fat, developing a stronger core serves two purposes. One, it builds muscle, which increases your daily calorie burn. Two, a strong core contributes to a healthier posture and standing and sitting upright reduces the appearance of fat rolls.
  • Adequate Sleep: Sleep may seem overrated, but studies suggest a relationship between sleep restriction and decreased fat loss. In one study, researchers found that one hour of sleep restriction was linked to a reduced percentage of fat loss even though the amount of weight loss was the same when compared to those with no sleep restriction. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

If you put together a balanced program of cardiovascular exercise and strength training—like with the Triple Threat Belly Fat Workout— and throw in some stretching too, you are likely to see improvement in the way your body looks and feels.

A Word From Verywell

A program of core training (including abdominal exercises to tone the entire torso region) will help to improve your posture and burn calories. But sit-ups alone, for example, are not enough to create noticeable weight loss. A combined and sustained program of diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management is the best program to whittle away fat rolls.

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6 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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