Can't lose belly fat?

Can’t Lose Belly Fat: 7 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

So you are here reading this article because you want to know the secret to lose stubborn belly fat. 

You exercise and eat healthily, and ask yourself why am I not losing belly fat? 

Chances are you can’t lose that stomach fat for reasons you have not thought of.

It can feel stubborn and almost impossible to get rid of.

You may have experienced great results with healthy weight loss and hitting your goals, but that excess abdominal fat can put a damper on your progress.

Turns out there are real reasons why that last excess belly fat just won’t go away.

Although it may seem impossible, you can lose abdominal fat.

Abdominal Fat

The abdomen has two main regions fat cells collect. Subcutaneous fat, the fat right under the skin of the abdomen.

And the visceral fat, the fat that surrounds the organs.

There are reasons to having fat cells in these regions, to start fat cells under the skin help with padding, energy reserve (as fat storage), and temperature regulation.

This is also the means of administering medication such as insulin for slow release into the body.

On the other hand, visceral fat surrounds the organs and its use is to release several hormones and chemicals. 

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

Obesity tends to be a disease that increases the risk for health conditions.

It is known that excess visceral fat is strongly linked to heart disease and diabetes.

In men, a waistline above 40 inches, and in women a waistline above 35 inches increases risk factors for diseases.

Men are usually associated with having a large round belly, the body shape is typically identified as “apple shape” where the waistline is excessive. 

There is also the “pear shape” usually women have this body shape, where fat tends to accumulate around the hips and thighs.

In this case, the risks of developing chronic conditions are reduced. 

The following are 7 reasons why you can’t lose belly fat.

Can’t Lose Belly Fat? Here Are The Reason You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

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

If you are eating unhealthy, highly processed foods with simple carbs like white bread, cookies, pastries, donuts, sugary beverages. 

You are probably having difficulties with your weight. Especially with stubborn belly fat that can be more difficult to get rid of (5).

The same goes if you try to follow a strict diet with a large calorie deficit. Although, strict diets encourage keeping track of the number of calories you consume. 

If not monitored by an M.D. or nutritionist you may not know how to properly chose your carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake. 

Some people think that supplements can be the insurance for unhealthy eating habits, unfortunately, supplements cannot guarantee all the health benefits a healthy diet can give. 

Skipping meals, sticking to fewer calories, and then going on a binge with large amounts of food can lead to an increased amount of calories that can affect your belly fat. 

Take into account that this can also affect your balance of blood sugar and your body’s ability to make insulin as needed. 

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, whether that is Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and snacks in between or for example, six small meals throughout the day. 

Increase complex carbs, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats such as polyunsaturated fats. 

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

If you cant let go of meats, choose lean meats. 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. Helping your midsection can be 

Increasing veggies at every meal and during snacks will increase fiber, water, vitamins, and mineral intake. 

Meanwhile, eating more veggies will increase your intake of antioxidants as well, which are known to be anti-inflammation.

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 are 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, watch a funny movie, do some yoga or low-intensity exercise. 

Choose a workout that makes you happy, laugh with friends, find moments in your day that 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 (3, 14).

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 the 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 a fat loss overall (13).

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 (1,12).

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,
  7. “Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Nov. 2020,
  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,
  10. “Physical Activity Recommendations for Different Age Groups.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Apr. 2021,
  11. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Oct. 2020,
  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.
  13. Talanian, Jason L., et al. “Two Weeks of High-Intensity Aerobic Interval Training Increases the Capacity for Fat Oxidation during Exercise in Women.” Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 102, no. 4, 2007, pp. 1439–1447., doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01098.2006.
  14. Xiao, Qian, et al. “A Large Prospective Investigation of Sleep Duration, Weight Change, and Obesity in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study Cohort.” American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 178, no. 11, 2013, pp. 1600–1610., doi:10.1093/aje/kwt180.

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