You followed an intermittent fasting schedule or even tried several diet trends but still can’t seem to lose that stubborn belly fat. Why is my belly fat not going away, you ask?
It looks like eating healthy foods, going for a jog regularly, and hitting the gym may not be enough. Keep reading to learn why your belly fat is not going away and what you can do to fix that.
The Difference Between Fat Loss and Weight Loss
Diet works. Exercise works. However, it may be time to give your metabolism a bit more boost. You may have already achieved your weight loss goal, but how about your fat loss goal?
To get a six-pack, you have to change your body composition. To do that, you have to increase your lean muscle mass and decrease your overall body fat. At this juncture, your weight may stay the same, but your body structure changes to reveal more defined muscles.
How to Get Rid of Stubborn Belly Fat
There are a lot of techniques to burn body fat. The keto diet is a good example. By decreasing your carbohydrate intake, you force the body to change its fuel source in a process called ketosis.
Ketosis makes your body efficient at burning fat stores. Cardiovascular exercise and strength training also turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
Just remember that losing fat and burning fat may have some differences. When you burn fat, you are simply using fat as a source of energy. Your body does this during ketosis, prolonged exercise, and sleep. You usually replace the lost fat when you eat. Hence, there is no fat loss whatsoever.
To get rid of fat, you have to eat less than what you burn. Cutting calories allows your body to lose fat. If you want to get rid of belly fat and reveal those six-pack abs hiding underneath, there are some lifestyle changes you have to accommodate.
Eating fewer calories than what you burn is a simple illustration of how you can lower your body fat percentage. The calories in vs. calories out approach is not perfect, though. Your diet, workouts, and lifestyle changes can affect your results.
Why is my belly fat not going away?
There are five common reasons why your belly fat is not going away. You eat more than you think, eat low-quality foods, drink too much alcohol, do not work out hard enough, and are stressed out.
Here’s how you can fix each of these common mistakes:
1. You eat more than you think. Track your calories.
The issue with most people is they do not keep track of how many calories they eat per day. You may keep track of what you eat during the weekdays but give yourself too much freedom to eat what you want on the weekends.
Remember that you have to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose fat. Even if you remain faithful during the weekdays, you can undo all your hard work in a few cheat days. Two days of eating excess calories can impact your progress, especially if there is alcohol involved.
Use a Calorie Counter App
You can calculate the number of calories you need per day using a calorie counter app. This app can help you determine how many calories you need per day to maintain body mass and how many calories you need to eat to lose weight.
If you want to be successful in losing body fat, you need to know if you are sticking to your diet. If you are not tracking your calories, start now. Make sure to input all foods you eat, including snacks, refreshments, sauces, and alcoholic drinks.
2. You eat low-quality foods. Eat more whole foods.
Although cutting calories is key to losing weight, the quality of the food you eat also plays a crucial role. You have to get adequate nutrition from the foods you eat as much as possible. Make sure to get most of your nutrition from whole foods.
Eat Whole Foods that Burn Fat
Eat as many vegetables as you can but stick to non-starchy varieties like salad greens, cabbage, tomato, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms, and eggplant. These vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals but low in calories.
It is okay to eat starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas, but limit them, especially if you are on the ketogenic diet. Eating too many starchy vegetables, grains, fruits, and sugary foods can increase insulin release and inhibit fat-burning.
Balance Your Macros
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the three macronutrients that the body needs. However, you have to eat more proteins and fats.
If you want to increase lean muscle mass, you have to eat more protein. This macronutrient is essential for fat loss. It helps build more lean muscle mass, which makes the body likely to burn more fat.
Eating protein-rich and fat-rich foods like eggs, meat, and fish helps reduce cravings. You feel more satiated and less likely to feel hunger for hours.
To calculate how much proteins, fats, and carbs you need per day, refer to this formula:
Protein (4 calories per gram)
- Maintainance: 0.7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight
- Lose Fat: 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight
- Gain Muscle: 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight
Fats (9 calories per gram)
- Maintainance: 0.3 to 0.5 gram per pound of body weight
- Lose Fat: 0.25 to 0.4 gram per pound of body weight
- Gain Muscle: 0.25 to 0.4 gram per pound of body weight
Carbs (4 calories per gram)
- Calculate based on the remaining caloric requirement.
- Your weight: 160 pounds
- The caloric requirement to lose weight: 2,000 cal
- Protein: 192 grams of protein (768 cal)
- Fat: 64 grams of fat (576 cal)
- Carbs: 164 grams of carbs (656 cal)
The computation above is an ideal macro intake considering you are not on a keto or other low-carb diet. If you are on the keto diet, follow the standard keto diet formula consisting of 75% fats, 20% proteins, and 5% carbs.
Eat Less Processed Foods
If you want to lose fat and build lean muscle, the key is to eat less processed foods and stick to whole foods and lots of non-starchy vegetables.
Make sure you are not eating foods that are high in trans fats, sodium, and sugar. So many processed foods contain excess amounts of these inflammatory ingredients.
Regardless of what diet you want to follow and what your genetic make-up is, eating more veggies and less processed foods will help you get rid of belly fat.
Avoid High-calorie Drinks and Drink More Water
Soda, juice, protein shakes, and alcoholic beverages contain a lot more calories than you think. Drink water instead. Avoid the excess calories and get hydrated at the same time.
3. You drink too much alcohol. Drink in moderation or quit.
Alcohol is considered a non-essential macronutrient. Each gram of pure alcohol contains seven calories. Aside from being calorie-dense, it also increases appetite.
If you drink too much alcohol, the body prioritizes metabolizing it before carbs, proteins, and fats. It does this because alcohol is a toxin. The body has to get rid of it before it wreaks havoc on the organs.
Drinking too much alcohol also causes you to eat more food than you need. Therefore, you are more likely to store fat and have belly fat issues. If you do not want to quit drinking for social purposes, consider drinking less.
4. You do not work out enough. Make room for fat-burning exercises.
You may have heard that exercise is not necessary to lose weight, but exercising does help. Remember that to lose weight, burn more than what you eat.
Does my body burn calories at rest?
Your body does burn calories at rest, but it can burn even more during rigorous physical activity. Although exercise is not a requirement for weight loss, it can speed it up.
What types of exercises burn belly fat?
Not all exercises are ideal for burning belly fat. Strength training exercises and HIIT are more efficient at accessing the excess fat stores in the abdominal area.
Jogging and other cardiovascular exercises are good for increasing stamina and enhancing cardiovascular health. However, you need activities that build lean muscle mass if you want your abs to reveal themselves.
HIIT – High-intensity Interval Training
HIIT promotes healthy fat loss, improves stamina, and helps build lean muscle. It can get you into shape super fast and burns a lot of calories even after a workout.
If you are a busy person, you can do the 7-minute HIIT workout. This simple set of exercises is easy to do. You can do it anywhere. Check out this video:
Tabata HIIT Workout
This four-minute routine, developed by Dr. Izumu Tabata, is a high-intensity exercise that can burn as much as 400 calories in as little as four minutes per day. Check out this video:
Start lifting weights if you haven’t already. Strength training is an integral part of fat loss. When you build muscle, you increase your energy expenditure. When you have more lean muscle, your body burns more energy per day.
Strength training increases your muscle strength and muscle mass. It also gives your body more definition to make it look leaner. You can get your strength training at the gym or home. Check out this video:
5. You are stressed out. Learn to relax and get better sleep.
A little stress is good, but chronic stress is bad for your mental health and physical health. When you are in a stressful situation, your body releases adrenaline. The hormone helps release glucose and fats for immediate energy.
When the adrenaline recedes, the body releases cortisol. This hormone increases appetite and breaks down muscle for energy. Continued stress results in eating more foods and losing more muscle mass. Eventually, it prevents you from burning abdominal fat.
Learn to Relax and Meditate
The best way to get rid of belly fat and live a healthy lifestyle is to train the mind. Your mindset is crucial to your overall success. Hence, you have to learn to tame it.
Research suggests that meditation can improve your mood, decrease stress, and enhance fat loss. By quieting your mind, you can train yourself to control your mental response during stress, improve your mood, and think positively about your life.
Get Quality Sleep
The body needs quality sleep at night to function properly during the day. Less sleep leads to more stress. Less sleep also increases your appetite for unhealthy foods.
Get at least 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Prioritize your body’s rest time. Get rid of distractions and make sure you sleep in a dark and quiet place. Quality sleep will lead to a healthier mind and body.
Be in Control
You are in control of your mood and your reaction towards people and situations happening around you. Find positivity in all things. Learn to channel your negative emotions into creative and productive pursuits.
Sometimes, you also need to give yourself a break. Take time off from work. Enjoy a relaxing vacation, take a walk at the park, hike in the woods, be with positive people, and try new things.
If you have been pushing yourself too hard, take a break. Learn to be patient. It takes time to be successful in any endeavor.
Last Words – Stick to a Plan
“Why is my belly fat not going away?” Consider the five things above. If you find it difficult to shed those last extra pounds of fat on your belly, remember to track your calories, eat whole foods, control your alcohol intake, do fat-burning exercises, and destress.
Stick to a plan as much as possible. If you are on a keto diet, intermittent fasting, or the Mediterranean diet, stick to it until you reach your goals. If you want to get six-pack abs, stick to a fitness plan. Always remember that consistency is the key to getting rid of stubborn belly fat.