7 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Fat


Fat Lossfail

You’ve ditched the sugar and get optimal protein at every meal, workout religiously, and take a multivitamin. Yet you get on the scales and nothing. Despite all your hard work, your jeans aren’t fitting any looser and your weight isn’t where you want it to be.


I’ve worked with numerous clients who struggle with weight loss resistance, a term I coined to describe people who are doing everything right yet can’t consistently lose 2 – 3 pounds every week.


My first line of action involves pulling food sensitivities that can highjack fat loss. For some people, even the tiniest bit of soy, gluten, or other highly reactive foods can create problems.


If you’ve pulled these 7 foods and you’re not getting results, I often find addressing these 7 culprits can help trigger weight loss resistance:


Gut Bacterial Overgrowth. You need enough beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal system for optimal immunity and digestion. However, an invasion of bad bacteria or too much of good bacteria (even with a probiotic) could actually increase calorie absorption. Guess where those excess calories land? Around your midsection, making weight loss a struggle. If you suspect dysbiosis or other intestinal issues, ask your integrative practitioner to do an organic acids test.


Lack of sleep. Are you getting 7 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep during your normal circadian rhythm (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)?  If not, you’re knocking your fat-burning hormones completely out of whack. Researchers at the University of Chicago found even with a perfect diet and exercise, you’re at risk for obesity if you fail to get 8 hours of quality sleep each night.


Birth Control Pills. Women who use birth control frequently confront food cravings, fluid retention, fatigue, and yes, fat gain. That’s because birth control throws your body into a false pregnancy state. Binge eating, insulin resistance, and fat storage often ensue. Discuss with your doctor about other options so you don’t have to fight against your hormones.


Artificial sweeteners. You know by now those fake sugars aren’t healthy. I’ve learned that just a sip of diet soda often triggers a downward spiral into chugging these things all day. For one, 0-calorie colas can create calorie dysregulation, which means you lose the ability to properly regulate your caloric intake and potentially overeat.  Aspartame also depletes serotonin, which can create sugar cravings. Your body also breaks down aspartame via glycation (the same process it uses for sugar!), which ages you and stalls fat loss. Ditch those diet sodas permanently for sparkling water with lemon or lime.


Too much cardio. Without fail, you’re first in line to your Tuesday night aerobics class, and you hustle for that whole hour. So why can’t you lose weight? Endurance training, which involves working out consistently at a heart rate of 70% or more of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes, can raise stress hormones that break down muscle and depress your immune system.  This constant adrenal stress slows down your metabolism to conserve energy.  Stop wasting hours and your health on the elliptical machine and incorporate burst training instead. A study in Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, for instance, showed that just 15 minutes of burst training over two weeks improved your fat-burning muscle metabolism. You couldn’t get those benefits with hours of aerobics classes.


Snacking. Optimal protein, good fats, and high-fiber starchy carbs at every meal means you won’t crave those mid-afternoon pastries your coworker brought in. Every time you snack, you raise your insulin levels and potentially store fat. Nix the snacking and amp up fat burning with a substantial meal every 4 – 6 hours, starting with a protein-rich breakfast smoothie within an hour of waking up.


AC and heat. Bet you never thought about this one, right? Here’s the deal. Your body must constantly regulate internal temperature despite how hot or cold the weather gets. While your grandparents easily adjusted to huge temperature shifts, today we expect air-conditioned offices and heated cars.  When your body works to adjust to different temperatures – for instance, cooling you down after a hard workout or heating you up when you’re shivering at the bus stop  – you burn more fat.


Have you pinpointed your weight loss resistance in any of these 7 culprits? If not, there’s more: tune in next week when I’ll give you 7 more reasons the scale isn’t moving despite your best efforts.



Blom WA, et al. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20.


Gibala MJ, et al. Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gain? Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2008 Apr;36(2):58-63.



© 2013 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food allergies.  She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout & co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Her latest book, New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, is out now! Check out more from JJ here:




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