Why It's So Hard to Lose Belly Fat
The majority of people who set out to lose belly fat never reach their goal, and those who do, only keep it off for a short amount of time.
If this describes you, let's explore the reasons why you are struggling with weight loss and/or flattening your stomach...
Lack of Understanding of How Your Body Works
A lot of people assume they can just do crunches or buy an ab machine to flatten their stomach.
When you have stomach flab, you actually have extra flab all over your body. It just may look worse in the mid section.
Or maybe you have the type of body frame that gains a disproportionate amount in your stomach area. So it's understandable why you may think you only need to exercise that one area to achieve results.
It's important you understand that you will never lose your stomach fat until you get your entire body into shape.
Our bodies don't know how to eliminate fat in one area so in order to burn the fat in the tummy, you have to burn it all over. Cardio exercises are the best way to accomplishing this.
Even if you love the rest of your body and you just want to lose your stomach fat, understand you will lose some weight in all areas of your body in order to achieve that flat stomach.
That's why this site focuses so much on overall weight loss and not just flattening the stomach. It's important that you understand the two are directly related.
If you have bad eating habits and you're not used to exercising, don't expect yourself to get on course just because you want to lose the weight so badly.
It takes time to get into a new rhythm, so make sure you set small goals and reward yourself for accomplishing them.
Instead of trying to cut all bad foods cold turkey, make a list of foods you will eliminate for the first couple of weeks and continue to add new items to your list as time goes on.
When you start to see results from your small goals, it will motivate you to set larger goals and give you a sense of accomplishment.
That's why so many people fail with weight loss. They set unrealistic expectations and when they fail, they give up or look for the next fad diet.
Don't be so hard on yourself. Realize this may be tough in the beginning so set goals you know you can reach.
Overeating Isn't The Issue. It's a Symptom.
I've talked about this on the site before, but often times people think they can cure their weight problem if they can just stop overeating.
Sure, that sounds like a solution, but the issue is often much deeper than that.
So what you need to figure out is why you overeat. Are you depressed because of a situation in your life? Overeating is only a symptom of a larger problem.
So until you get to the root of that issue, overeating will continue to be your enemy and so will your weight.
No Strength Training
If you are looking for that perfectly toned belly, strength training is how you achieve that "cut look". Usually crunches aren't enough to accomplish this.
So in addition to your crunches and cardio exercise, make sure you do some abdominal strengthening exercises.
Pilates and Yoga are two great ways to do this. Not only do they focus on breathing and relaxation, but they focus on strengthening your core muscles (a.k.a. your belly!).
That's why I often recommend Mike Geary's book, The Truth About Six Pack Abs. Most people don't realize that strength training is a key component of effectively toning your mid section.
Mike's book is in PDF format so you can download it immediately and you'll have access to color pictures that illustrate the type of exercises you need to perform. Some of them do require gym access.
The Diet Mentality
When you decide you want to lose weight, you have to accept the fact you need to change your lifestyle forever.
Going on and off diets hurts your metabolism so when you pick up your old habits, you'll find the weight comes on twice as fast.
So instead of trying to flatten your stomach for that Hawaii vacation, or look great for an upcoming wedding, why not set your goals for the long-term?
Your metabolism will reward you.
We are so conditioned to look for the low fat and low calorie foods that we often ignore other ingredients that prevent weight loss.
Even though some foods are low in fat, they may also be high in sugar or sodium.
Sure a can of 7-UP may have 0 grams of fat, but it contains 35 grams of sugar. And that sugar can turn into fat if you don't burn it off.
Those frozen lunches may seem healthy because the only have 250 calories and contain healthy foods like chicken and vegetables, but read the sodium count. Sometimes they contain over half of your daily allowance.
Excess sodium and sugar can not only make you gain weight, but they can prevent weight loss when you feel you're doing all the right things.
Lose it Fast or Forget It!
Everyone wants to discover how to lose weight in the fastest way possible. When in reality, the fastest way is usually not the most healthy way.
The first few pounds are usually the easiest to lose, but when you reach that plateau, it may become more difficult to shed additional weight.
That's when it's time to step up the intensity of your cardio workout and perhaps incorporate some weight training into your routine.
Just remember, it may take time but if you do it the right way (exercise, change in diet, etc.) and realize this is a permanent lifestyle change, the weight will eventually come off and stay off.