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Top Reasons You're Not Losing Belly Fat, and How to Change That

I’m constantly being asked, “why can’t I lose belly fat?” or "how can I lose my belly weight." I’m sorry ladies, you’ve probably heard me say this so many times, but if you want to lose belly fat and achieve a "leaner" body, it isn’t going to happen overnight. AND, it’s also not possible to spot reduce through exercise. In order to lose belly fat, you need to dedicate yourself to slowly building healthy habits that stick and living a healthy balanced lifestyle.


Not getting enough sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep can be doing you more harm than just being sleepy the next day. If you want to lose belly fat, then you need to make sure you get enough restful sleep every night. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body may produce more ghrelin (the hormone that triggers feelings of hunger) and less leptin (the hormone that helps you to feel full). This means that you may feel more hungry and less likely to feel full after meals. I’m sure we can all relate to the feeling of not just being tired but also being “hangry” or when you haven’t slept as well, you just crave everything and anything!

Solution: Try to aim for at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Make it easier on yourself by staying away from caffeine in the afternoon to evening and try to get into a regular bedtime routine. Put down your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed too, as technology impacts your sleep and can impact the production of melatonin, a hormone that signals your body it’s time to rest. Make sure the temperature in your bedroom is low and comfortable. And make it a routine to go to bed at the same time every night. Maybe set an alarm clock to remind you to start getting into your bedtime routine by a certain hour.

You’re stressed out. Do you feel like you’re losing weight but you still can’t seem to lose belly fat? Too much stress may be the reason. When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. It’s normal to get stressed from time to time. However, if you’re constantly stressed and have high levels of cortisol in your body, it may make it more difficult for you to lose belly fat. When your body is under stress, it stores more of the energy from your food as fat in the belly area. That is why it's extremely important to eat healthful foods even more. If your idea of ‘comfort food’ is a big sugary cake, a block of cheese or a bag of chips, then these foods may not be the best option if you’re wanting to lose belly fat.

Solution: I know this one can be extremely difficult to overcome but try to add more calm and positivity to your life. Find things that calm you down when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. These can be things such as breathing techniques, meditation, going for long walks, taking some time out to read a book or watch a movie. Try not to reach for food when you are stressed and instead find more positive ways to deal with this stress. If you overeat regularly as a way of dealing with stress, then it is likely that you will find it more difficult to lose belly fat, no matter how much exercise you are doing.

You’re not doing the right type of training. Many people think of cardio as soon as they think of fat loss. Steady state cardio, such as walking, running or cycling, can certainly help to burn calories and lead to fat loss, however, if cardio is the only thing being done, it might not necessarily be the most effective way to lose belly fat.

Solution: Other types of training, such as weight training and HIIT, can provide you with an after effect. This means your body may continue to burn fat in the hours following your workout. So don’t be afraid to lift weights! You might be surprised how different training styles can have a different impact on your body. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you should only do HIIT or resistance training. Instead, you could try to incorporate a mixture of these exercises into your weekly workout plan. Cross training is extremely effective. Changing things up can make your fitness routine a lot more exciting, help you avoid falling into a rut, and aid in seeing results!

You’re eating too many highly processed foods. Fatty foods such as chips and deep-fried foods can be high in simple sugars and both saturated and trans fats, which is not always the best. This combination can bypass or delay the signal to the brain that lets you know that you feel full. If you eat these highly processed foods when you are already feeling stressed, it can actually trigger the storage of energy as fat. When you are stressed, your body releases high levels of cortisol. Combine cortisol with the insulin spike you experience when you eat simple sugars, and the body immediately increases the amount of energy from your food that it stores as fat. Whole foods that are high in healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and pasture-raised or wild meats and sweet potatoes and squash, have a balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats which do trigger that “full” feeling. This satisfied feeling that you get from choosing healthier snacks and meals will help to stop you from overeating.

Solution: Try to build healthy habits of consuming good fats from foods such as fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Try making grocery list ahead. of time of healthful foods packed with macro and micro nutrients that feed your body well. Slowly get into a routine of consuming these foods. If it helps, track your food intake and be honest with yourself, because if your goal is weight loss, regular overeating can limit your progress and results.

Remember, results take time, they don’t happen overnight. But don’t give up! Let’s keep building healthy habits together!

Everyones body is different, everyones progress is different, everyones fitness journey is different. Lets not fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others, but be proud of every step you make! You are worth it!

Xoxo, MK

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