Are you trying to lose weight, but nothing seems to be working? You’ve been doing your best to eat better, and you’ve been working out, but the belly fat is still there? Don’t despair. Here are 10 common reasons you might not be losing belly fat, and what to do about them:
1. The Spot Reduction Myth
The truth is, you can’t actually just lose fat in one specific spot on your body. That’s called the spot reduction myth, and it’s a common misconception. When you lose fat, you lose it all over your body. Everyone is different, and some people naturally hold fat more in some areas, but as a general rule, you won’t be able to lose fat in just one area, like your belly. Doing core and ab exercises won’t get you there any faster, either. Your abs will get stronger, but the fat will still be there.
The best thing you can do to lose belly fat is to simply focus on eating right and exercising. Before you know it, your belly fat will vanish, along with all the other extra fat stores on your body.
2. Lack Of Sleep
The importance of sleep to your health seriously cannot be overstated. Not getting enough sleep is one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight. Sleep deprivation can have both short-term and long-term effects on your health. Without sufficient shut eye, your boy isn’t functioning as well as it should be, including important functions like metabolism.
No matter what your health goals are, you should always be getting a good amount of sleep each night. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 64, you should be getting 7-10 hours of sleep each night.
3. Sugary Drinks
Soda is the absolute worst. It is packed full of sugar, which rots your teeth and expands your waistline. Even diet soda can wreck havoc on your diet. If at all possible, you should give up any and all sugary soft drinks, like soda and energy drinks. Fruit juices are also a big no-no, because of their massive sugar content. Look to natural sources of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth, like fruits and some veggies. Of course it’s okay to indulge in a soda or a sugary snack every once in a while, but proceed with caution.
This one hits close to home for a lot of people, but it is often a huge obstacle to losing weight. Many alcohols, especially those high in calories, cause you to gain weight. Some people are able to lose weight simply by cutting beer out of their lives. Some alcohols are specifically linked to belly fat, so cutting down is an easy way to get slim. Of course, you don’t have to give up alcohol completely. Everything in moderation.
5. Just Getting Older
As we age, our metabolisms slow down, and it becomes easier to put on a few pounds. If you’re a woman, going through menopause is also likely to cause some weight gain. This is all a natural part of life, and you have to expect it. However, you don’t have to resign yourself to your fate. You’ll have to work harder to stay thin the older you get, but it is possible. Take steps now to build a healthy lifestyle, and you can count on staying thin and happy for a long time.
6. You’re Working Out Wrong
If all you do is cardio, you might notice that you’re not losing as much weight as you’d like. That’s because cardio by itself doesn’t build much muscle mass. Strength training will increase your muscle mass, and your metabolism will increase as a result. When you do regular resistance exercises, your body will be burning calories around the clock as it recovers and repairs your muscles after each workout. So next time you step off the treadmill, throw in a few push ups and lunges too.
7. Push Yourself To The Next Level
When you’re finished working out, do you feel exhausted? Did you get your heart rate up, and were you wiping sweat off your face by the end? If not, you’re probably not working out hard enough. Even if your workout was once challenging, it might not be helping you grow any more. The trick is to keep increasing the intensity of your workouts, and changing them up to keep your body adapting. The only way to grow stronger and lose weight is to continually work harder than you did the day before.
If you’re stressed out, it is harder to lose weight. Stress can cause you to skip out on workouts, make unhealthy diet decisions, and not get enough sleep. Plus, the stress hormone cortisol can increase the size and amount of your fat cells.
To destress, figure out what it is that’s stressing you out. Make a plan to either avoid or minimize your exposure to those things. If that’s not an option, consider trying some stress reduction methods to stay calm.
9. Lack of Motivation
It can be hard to actually convince yourself to put in the effort to lose weight. All too often, it is easier to eat cookies and sit on the couch than it is to make a healthy meal and workout, and we are often tempted to make that choice.
The truth of the matter is that you are never going to get fit until you make a decision to do the hard work necessary. No one can convince you of this, you just have to do it for yourself.
10. Bad Influences
Is someone holding you back from losing weight? Maybe your friends like to eat pizza and beer every time you hang out, and you feel pressured to join them. Perhaps your partner isn’t interested in eating healthy or working out, and gives you a hard time for it. In order to get fit, you’ll have to either have the willpower to ignore these influences, or simply remove them.
I’m not saying you have to ditch your friends or leave your partner, but it may be time to find a new group of friends that support your mission, either locally (like at a gym or health club) or online. Take the time to explain (nicely) to your current friends and/or partner why being healthy is important to you, and they might just change their tune. Friends like to help each other, and they will understand.