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By Courtenay R. Hall

Where do beer bellies come from?

You are 25 years old, sitting by the pool with some friends, enjoying a few beers. You're in your swim trunks, your shirt cast aside, and loving life. Fast forward 10 years and you are now sitting by the pool enjoying a few beers with your friends in your swim trunks, but that shirt is still on your back, and you keep it there to cover your beer belly. When did that happen? Where does a beer belly come from? Can you get rid of it?

Calories count

Even though beer can be a delicious beverage on a warm day, or something you drink to take the edge off your work week, it is essentially empty calories. Too many calories, whether from beer or excessive food intake, are going to cause weight gain, and the belly is the first place it's going to go.

"Alcohol does contribute to larger waistlines because your liver burns the alcohol, not fat," says Dr. Michael Jensen. It's also easy to overdo the calories because beer isn't food, so many people don't think about the calories in it. If you have two beers at dinner, that could be well over 300 calories, depending on the size of the beer.

You also have to account for the food you are consuming while drinking beer. I know having a few beers makes my husband hungry, and he can put away a lot of food after having two or three. He always jokes about entering an eating contest after he has had a few drinks.

Move it or don't lose it

Just like any other parts of your body you are self-conscious about, your beer belly can also be a thing of the past. If you want to get rid of it, you first have to consciously be aware of your beer intake. Remember, each one of those beers has calories in it. It is no different than counting calories for food. It all adds up.

You also have to exercise to burn the fat. There are a lot of at-home exercises you can do that are fun and can help you lose weight. I personally enjoy my Wii U Fit. It has a lot of different exercises, games and dances you can do that are fun and keep you interested. It is also something fun for the whole family. I do it with my kids on a daily basis. It keeps them moving in the cold months when we don't get a lot of time outside due to the weather.

Exercises like sit-ups won't rid you of that beer belly, though they may help tone problem areas. To get rid of a beer belly you are going to have to lose weight overall. If you absolutely cannot give up your beer, try light beer. Fitness Magazine held a contest for the best light beer. The winner was Bud Light, coming in at 110 calories per bottle. If you are not a fan of light beer, then try to limit the amount you drink per day. If neither option sounds appealing to you, chuck that shirt and wear that beer belly proudly!

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