Before you blame your belly fat on lack of willpower, consider whether hormones may be getting in your way.

Research shows that it doesn’t take much of a hormonal upheaval for your body to start packing on the kilos, especially around your midsection. Something as simple as eating carbs for breakfast or getting too little sleep can create an imbalance. What's worse, that extra padding, called visceral fat, can churn out stress hormones like cortisol, that actually lead to increased belly fat storage.

Here are five signs your hormones are getting between you and a trimmer waistline and how to get them back on track.

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