Still can't button your jeans with ease, or don't want to admit that you're keeping those maternity tops around longer than you'd like? If you're still dealing with stubborn belly fat, there may be more to it than simply hitting a plateau in the gym or losing your mojo. It turns out that what goes on inside your body—mainly your gut—plays a much bigger role than we thought. In fact, it helps determine whether food gets burned off or if it, well, stays put. Time to figure out exactly what problems may be happening on the inside, so you can love how you look on the outside. 
Try a diet in which you consume 2200 calories (men) or 2000 calories (women) per day. This should cause a deficit sufficient for you to lose one or two pounds per week, depending on your activity level. Some women may require lower daily calorie intake, such as 1800 or 1500 a day. Start by limiting yourself to a 2000 calorie limit per day, and lower the limit if you do not see progress.
First things first: your stomach is made up of good and bad bacteria, which scientists like to call microbiota or gut flora. And it's important that you keep it in check, as if you were keeping a seesaw level. "Microbiota is considered the body's garden, and it has a controlling influence over a lot of important bodily functions, including metabolism," says Gerry Mullin, M.D., author of The Gut Balance Revolution. Studies show that a diet full of fat and refined carbs (think white bread and potatoes) and low in fiber (fruit, vegetables, beans and oats) disrupt the balance, and the seesaw starts to tip in favor of weight retention and fat accumulation. 
When you're at the gym, don't head straight for the treadmills. Tim Rich, personal trainer and district fitness manager at Crunch Gyms in San Francisco says, "you lose steam when you save the weights for last, and that's where the magic happens." Weight-training burns approximately 30 to 50 more calories a day for every pound of muscle you gain, so "when you have more energy you'll be able to lift heavier weights, which helps you burn more fat everywhere, including your belly," he says. And researchers found that, while those who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount of weight as those who only did cardio, the only weight they lost was fat—the cardio queens lost muscle, and that's never good, especially as you get older. 

Slow down, we're not saying you have diabetes. But insulin resistance is "the beginning of your body not dealing well with sugar and carbohydrates," says Melina Jampolis, M.D., author of The Doctor On Demand Diet..  Basically, when you have insulin resistance, it means the body's cells have noticed an increase in sugar in the blood and ratchet up the amount of insulin to transport it to cells that process it for energy. A vicious cycle gets started, you create more insulin—too much of it, in fact—and your cells become resistant to it, leading to more free-floating sugar in your blood stream that eventually gets converted to fat and is usually stored in your belly. Unless you reverse the insulin resistance, your body will keep going round and round, and diabetes could develop. The key, says Jampolis, is to lose fat and build muscle. "Exercise, especially strength training, can improve your body's response to insulin even if you don't lose an ounce," Jampolis explains. Try lifting weights two to three times a week—these moves are great fat-blasters. 
When I was at my highest weight, I had a full-blown peanut butter addiction. I would eat jars at a time, and my favorite food was Reese’s peanut butter cups. I had absolutely no control of myself when I ate any of it. When I decided that I no longer wanted to be heavy, I made a point to completely stop eating anything with peanuts or peanut butter in it.
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