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7 Reasons You’re NOT Getting A Flat Stomach

So you want to get a flat stomach and you’ve tried calorie restrictive dieting, marathon cardio sessions, and countless crunches but you’re still not losing the dreaded “pooch belly.”

Before you give up on your quest to get that tight, flat, stomach you’ve always wanted you’ll want to hear me out.

Experience has shown me there are a handful of common inhibitors that can stop fat loss around your waistline dead in its tracks regardless of what you’re doing with exercise and cutting calories.

I encourage you to read down through the list to see if one or more of these factors may be affecting you.


The effects of stress on the body’s hormonal system has been thoroughly researched for some time now and the results are clear. Too much stress and your body reduces production of DHEA which has a direct impact on the “sex hormones” including testosterone.

This hormone has a very important role in lipolysis (fat burning). Stress can also contribute to insulin resistance which will make fat loss extremely difficult. Bottom line, if you have chronic stress in your life you won’t be losing the “pooch belly” anytime soon.

Sleep Deprivation

It is during sleep that the body rebuilds itself since growth hormone levels are the highest. If you want to rebuild muscle and burn fat you must be getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep at nights.

A lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of stress on the body and can lead to imbalances of leptin and ghrelin which are two important hormones that affect appetite and fat storage.

There have been numerous studies that show a lack of sleep also affects how your body processes and uses carbohydrates. If you don’t get enough sleep you’re more prone to storing excess carbohydrates as fat instead of using the energy to fuel muscles.

Bottom line, if you’re not getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night you’ll find it difficult getting the flat stomach you desire.

Food Sensitivities and Digestive Issues

Gut issues including excess bloating, constipation, etc are a clear indicator that your digestive system is not functioning properly.

Imbalances in your digestive system are commonly due to either food sensitivity or a lack of one or more digestive enzymes. Food sensitivities are different from classic food allergies due to Immuno-globulin (IgG) response.

In an (IgG) food response, certain foods like dairy, wheat, eggs, soy, gluten, malt, vinegar, and others create sensitivity and are perceived as foreign invaders by your digestive system. This creates inflammation which not only produces the bloating effect but it also impairs how your body assimilates nutrients.

If you experience any bloating or irregularities in your digestive system looks to remove any problem foods through a process of elimination. I recommend you go on a Primal Blueprint Diet of exclusively fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and low reaction proteins like chicken and fish until you can identify the culprit(s).

Thyroid Fatigue

Low thyroid function can affect the body’s ability to build muscle, balance sex hormones, and lose weight.

One common condition is sub clinical hypothyroidism or “thyroid fatigue.” This is where the thyroid stimulating hormone may be within the ideal range (1.0-2.5) and T4 levels are normal, but the amount of T3, the active thyroid hormone, is low.

Symptoms include poor weight loss, yellowing of the skin, constipation, poor nail and hair growth; slightly lower body temperature, depression, and fatigue.

There are numerous causes and conditions for hypothyroidism and if you think this may be an issue I recommend you have your levels checked by a health professional.

Toxic Build-Up

It’s no surprise that we’re exposed to a myriad of toxins in today’s world. They’re everywhere from the food we eat, to the air we breath, and the water we drink. While we can’t protect ourselves from all these toxins, we can take measures to minimize exposure.

It is always a good idea to eat range fed chicken and beef along with choosing organic vegetables when possible. You’ll also want to avoid excess nicotine, caffeine, processed sugars, and other chemicals in refined foods.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables helps to provide the body with phytonutrients and antioxidants to combat the free radicals from toxins.

Since it’s difficult getting in the 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables experts now agree we should be eating daily, I recommend you use a natural, whole food supplement like Juice Plus as added protection.

I take this product myself everyday and it’s one of the few supplements I take outside of protein, fiber, and fish oil.

Toxins from any source have a negative effect on your body’s ability to burn fat so you must aggressively combat them. You see, toxins are stored in fat cells, allowing the body to hold onto more fat in order to protect itself.

A high toxic burden can lower thyroid function in an attempt to cool and slow down the body to lessen the damage from the effect of the toxins in the system.

Reactions occur more rapidly with heat, so by cooling down the body, you can slow down some of the damaging effects of these toxins. Research has found that metabolism could be slowed down as much as 30% due to toxic burden.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin as you may know is the hormone that is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels get too high your pancreas releases insulin in order to drive the excess into storage at your muscles, liver, and finally fat cells.

Insulin becomes a problem when it’s overproduced (hyperinsulinemia) due to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin receptors stop receiving the hormone causing the pancreas to over-produce.

This can be caused by a variety of factors including a high-carbohydrate diet, eating too many refined, sugary foods, chronic stress, etc.

If insulin levels remain high, it locks the doors to the fat cells so that the body can’t burn off the fat substrates for energy. This results in hypoglycemia and chronic inflammation affecting the entire endocrine system.

The first step in reducing insulin resistance is drastically cutting out all sugars in your diet. Not just the sodas, cakes, candy, and other sweets, but also fruit juices and other simple sugars.

There are few strategies you can employ that will have a greater overall impact on your health and your waistline then eliminating sugars. Make no mistakes about it, sugar is the enemy.

Fat stored at the midsection is almost always an indicator of some degree of insulin resistance. It’s not enough to just eat “healthy.” You must develop a balance of the macro-nutrients (fat, carbs, protein) and look to minimize processed, refined foods in your diet.

Hormone Imbalances

There are some many factors that hormones play in fat storage and fat burning that it could be an article all by itself. Here are a few examples. Low DHEA and testosterone will reduce fat burning and make it difficult to build muscle. Low testosterone in men and estrogen in women will result in lower levels of serotonin helping you to crave sugary foods.

Progesterone levels that are too high can create insulin resistance, and the list goes on. The bottom line is most any hormonal imbalance will affect weight gain or lost in some way, shape, or form. If you suffer from any of the following symptoms you would greatly benefit from having a hormonal panel test done to assess your levels:

Fatigue, depression, low body temperature, lack of sex drive, difficulty losing weight, irritability, problems sleeping, lack of energy, etc.

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If you would like to have a hormonal panel test done you can contact Dr. Craig Koniver of Primary Plus Medicine here in Charleston.

Through a process of elimination and a step by step approach you can identify any imbalances that can be preventing you from losing fat from your midsection.

Most people simply give up after the exercise and dieting don’t work. Don’t be one of those people! Arm yourself with knowledge and be relentless with learing how your body was designed to operate and function.

When you do the results you’re looking for will be yours for the having with a little hard work, commitment and sweat equity.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. To learn more click on the link below for information about Shane’s DVD training program “How To Get A Flat Stomach In 30 Days.”

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Category: Fat Loss.