Can't lose belly fat? Here's why
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Can’t Lose Belly Fat? Experts Share 7 Reasons Why That May Be

Can’t lose belly fat, and not sure why that may be?

When you are eating right and exercising, it’s frustrating to not see the result.

Chances are, you are struggling to lose your stomach fat for reasons you have not thought of.

The truth is, there are more factors involved in losing belly fat than eating fewer calories and working out more.

If you are feeling stuck, it’s time to take a closer look at your current plan.

In this post, experts share their two cents on why you aren’t losing belly fat.

Two Types of Abdominal Fat

Losing belly fat should start with an understanding of the two fat layers in the abdomen area. 

The abdomen has two main regions fat cells collect. 

The outer layer under the skin of the abdomen is where the subcutaneous fat accumulates. 

The layer below near the organs is where the visceral fat gets deposited. 

It’s the fat that’s strongly linked to heart disease and diabetes. 

A waistline above 40 inches for men, 35 inches for men increases risk factors for disease. 

Besides the belly being an eyesore, there are undeniable health risks for having an expanded waistline. 

This is the very reason why losing visceral fat is healthy and at times necessary for better health.

If you are struggling to lose belly fat despite the efforts, check out the following 7 reasons why that may be. 

Can’t Lose Belly Fat? Here are The 7 Reason Why

The reasons you can't lose belly fat

1. Hormones

Hormones are a big deal, they have a lot to do with the way your body functions and how you feel.

If you have a hormonal imbalance, your weight can be affected by it.

Certain medical conditions that cause hormonal imbalance are hypothyroidism, menopause, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), or having low estrogen or testosterone levels.

Being out of balance can make losing that last bit of belly fat that much more difficult.

Solutions: Depending on what your hormonal imbalance is, will determine the solution. 

Hypothyroidism is usually treated with synthetic levothyroxine medication, this will require a yearly TSH check-up by your doctor (7). 

Menopause may require hormone therapy and will need close supervision by your doctor (9). 

PCOS may require some weight loss to manage as well as medication to help regulate estrogen levels (11).

 With any medical condition, make sure to talk to your doctor and nutritionist for appropriate dietary advice.

2. You have an unhealthy eating habit

Unhealthy eating habits aren’t just about excessive drinking and late-night snacking. 

What seems like a healthy habit can also lead to more accumulation of belly fat. 

Habits like skipping meals and eating fewer calories are often part of a weight loss plan. However, taking it to an extreme can trigger a binge and wreck your blood sugar balance (5). 

It can also hinder your ability to make insulin as needed and cause weight gain. 

Solution: To solve this can be easier said than done, the first thing is to commit and stay consistent to meet your healthy eating goals. 

The best way is to have a diet where you follow a meal pattern. 

The point is to help your body know what period of time it can expect to be fed. 

This expectation will balance your body in such a way that your appetite will be regulated, reducing the chances of overeating. 

As for the meal composition, increase complex carbs, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats. 

Healthy fats can be found in olive oil, vegetable oil, and avocados to name a few.

Increasing veggies at every meal and during snacks will increase fiber, water, vitamins, and mineral intake. They are also anti-inflammatory and may help reduce bloating. 

3. You’re drinking too much alcohol

Have you ever heard of the beer belly? well, it is not just made by drinking beer. 

Any kind of alcohol that you drink can be a cause of body fat which contributes to abdominal fat that persists.

All drinkable alcohol has calories in varying degrees, these liquid calories don’t fill you up so you feel fine to keep drinking on (6).

Besides, they don’t provide any nutrients.

The problem with alcohol is twofold it affects your metabolic rate making it difficult to lose weight.

And it also increases your appetite, talk about those tasty 2 am tacos after a few drinks out on the town.

Solution: Choose your drink wisely, be aware of how many occasional drinks you have. These may be more than you think. 

According to the CDCD, what is known as moderation for men is 2 drinks or less in a day. For women 1 drink or less (6).

 Better yet, staying away from alcohol altogether is the best way to stay healthy. 

4. You are stressed

Believe it or not, stress can cause weight gain.

The culprit is the hormone cortisol, normally it helps the body to increase sugar in the blood, regulate the immune system and help the body’s ability to properly metabolize food.

If you are stressed, levels of cortisol are increased causing your metabolic rate to slow down. 

If the increased sugar isn’t used it will be used for fat storage (8).

 Stress also causes that dreaded “stress eating”, this way your appetite increases and you are more likely to have weight gain.

Solution: Reducing your stress levels is key to helping you with that belly fat. Finding out what your stressors are is a start. 

Follow up with identifying ways to reduce those stressors such as self-care time, watching a funny movie, doing some yoga, or low-intensity exercise. 

Choose a workout that makes you happy, laugh with friends, find moments in your day when you can sit quietly and relax.

5. You’re not sleeping well

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you need to do, so you dip into your sleeping hours. 

An hour here or there shouldn’t make a difference, but it does.

Your metabolism is influenced by the quality of sleep you have. 

To be in balance and allow your body to repair itself, sleep is the reset button. 

Not getting quality sleep can cause your body to be out of balance and stressed (3).

By not taking the recommended 8 hour nights you place your body at risk to increase the stress hormone cortisol.

Solution: The good news is that you can choose a time to go to bed, this is an easy one. 

But you must stick to it, this is not the time to catch up on social media, go on a website or watch reruns. 

This is the time to unwind, relax, allow your mind to clear its thoughts.

If you find yourself thinking of what needs to be done, have a little notebook by your bed and start to jot down those thoughts.

6. You’re doing the wrong exercises

Getting rid of stubborn belly fat does not happen overnight, and sorry but there is no specific workout to target a particular body part let alone your waistline. 

If you spend days and days doing crunches, working on your abs and obliques, I’m sorry to say that just won’t do it. 

You need to do a combination of workouts for overall fat loss that will simultaneously also target belly fat. 

With belly fat you have the double duty, to lose some of the subcutaneous fat and some of the visceral fat, remember fat is still important for temperature control and cushioning of organs.

So what is there to do?

Solution: It is recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. 

For example, fast walking, cardio like long jogs, getting that heart rate up and going.

As well as a minimum of 2 days of strength training to help increase muscle mass (10).

 Such as planks, crunches, and weight training, a personal trainer can help guide you and prevent injury. 

Strength training helps grow muscle, which in turn burns more fat (4).

A good combination workout is HIIT(high-intensity interval training). This workout is a type of interval training that alternates from short periods of intense anaerobic training with less intense recovery periods. 

It has been found to help with overall fat loss.

Basically, you need to put in the time and work for it and sometimes a personal trainer with a nutritionist can help get you to your goals. 

7 You have an underlying medical condition

The major medical conditions that affect weight gain are hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), Cushing syndrome.

These conditions all tend to affect the balance of your hormones as well as your metabolism. 

The body is complicated and when you have a medical condition, odds are that you will have difficulty with fat loss.

Sometimes these conditions come with medications that also cause weight gain.

Solution: Always talk to your doctor about your medical conditions, and if it is safe for you to follow a weight loss program. 

Don’t forget to take your medications into consideration as some medication side effects can be the possible culprit of your struggle with that belly fat.

Final Takeaway On Ca’t Lose Belly Fat

Following a healthy and active lifestyle can get you very far in fat loss, and feeling and looking the way that you want. 

But it is important to remember that some factors can affect your ability to lose that last bit of stubborn belly fat. 

Self-evaluation of your lifestyle, identifying possible reasons that you may have for excess weight can help you get rid of that last little bit of belly fat.

Works Cited

  1. Anderson, James W., and Elizabeth C. Konz. “Obesity and Disease Management: Effects of Weight Loss on Comorbid Conditions.” Obesity Research, vol. 9, no. S11, 2001, doi:10.1038/oby.2001.138.
  2. Batra, Arvind, and Britta Siegmund. “The Role of Visceral Fat.” Digestive Diseases, vol. 30, no. 1, 2012, pp. 70–74., doi:10.1159/000335722.
  3. Beccuti, Guglielmo, and Silvana Pannain. “Sleep and Obesity.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, vol. 14, no. 4, 2011, pp. 402–412., doi:10.1097/mco.0b013e3283479109.
  4. Borg, P, et al. “Effects of Walking or Resistance Training on Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese, Middle-Aged Men: a Randomized Trial.” International Journal of Obesity, vol. 26, no. 5, 2002, pp. 676–683., doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0801962.
  5. Crovetto, Mirta, et al. “Effect of Healthy and Unhealthy Habits on Obesity: a Multicentric Study.” Nutrition, vol. 54, 2018, pp. 7–11., doi:10.1016/j.nut.2018.02.003.
  6. “Facts about Moderate Drinking.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Dec. 2020, www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm.
  7. “Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Nov. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350289.
  8. Lee, Do Yup, et al. “Technical and Clinical Aspects of Cortisol as a Biochemical Marker of Chronic Stress.” BMB Reports, vol. 48, no. 4, 2015, pp. 209–216., doi:10.5483/bmbrep.2015.48.4.275.
  9. “Menopause.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353401.
  10. “Physical Activity Recommendations for Different Age Groups.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Apr. 2021, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/age-chart.html.
  11. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443.
  12. Reinehr, T. “Thyroid Hormones before and after Weight Loss in Obesity.” Archives of Disease in Childhood, vol. 87, no. 4, 2002, pp. 320–323., doi:10.1136/adc.87.4.320.

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