Weight Loss
Moderators: devilish_patsy, spoiled_candy, coach_k, nycgirl, Mollybygolly

Is it NORMAL for your stomach to look BIGGER once you start losing inches/weight?

Quote  |  Reply

I'm 5'4, 165 lbs. I've started an extensive walking program that I've been on for two weeks. I walk a total of 6 miles a day on an uphill terraine. My weight has always settled in my gut. I'm an apple and have the spare tire/love handle thing bad and no waist definition. I notice that my legs look slightly slimmer but it seems like my stomach is PERTRUDING out noticeably larger and it looks more flabby/jiggly. Is this normal? Why in the heck is it not flattening out? What else can I do? I know "target" exercises don't work, so spare me that speech. I also consume average 1400 calories a day. Thanks!!

16 Replies (last)

It sounds like you are having the same problem I am.  I am losing every where except the stomach/waistline.  My workout has also caused me the pain of not seeing the scale go down.  I know I have lost inches in the legs though I can feel that with my pants.   Part of my stomach issue though is due to hypothyroidism.  You might want to look this up and see if you fall in any of the other symptoms.  Before I got put on medicine my stomach was so bloated that I actually gave up on my work out for awhile because I got discouraged.  But I am back to trying again.  This time I am not giving up.  Whatever your stomach is doing don't give up. 

I've experienced the same thing too and although I am not really apple-shaped, the flabbiest and lumpiest part of my body has always been my stomach.  I've never had a flat one!  I noticed that once I started really toning up in other places that my stomach looked worse to me.  I think it's just a psychological thing really.  Since all of your other parts are tightening up, it just causes you to focus on the one part that is lagging behind lol.

I've been told that the fat leaves your body in first in, last out order.  Therefore, if the weight you gain usually goes straight to your gut first, it will be the last fat you lose.  It sucks, but keep plugging away with a good clean diet and exercise and you will see improvement.  I've found that doing ab exercises that target the obliques specifically work really well for me.  I am getting tighter!  Good luck and it's not just you. :)

There is a sign on my gym wall that says specifically that belly fat is the *last* to go proportionally.  It is where I carry my weight too (although I am a man).  So yes, you legs looking slimmer and reduction in fat in other palces might make your belly look bigger.  Add that to the fact that as the belly does shrink it will tend to be "jigglier" due to the skin not being stretched as tight and that could explain things. I am like you, I keep looking at my body wanting to see improvement proportional to my perceived effort... alas it seems it never seems to work that way.  The only thing I can say is that if you make permanent positive changes to your lifestyle (exercise, better eating, better sleeping, lots of water, etc) eventually everything will fall into line.


I will say this... 6 miles a day is AWSOME, and to keep it up for 2 weeks is amazing! Keep it up and eventually you will be where you want to be.

OMG I thought I was the only one!  I am also walking for exercise.  Yesterday I walked 10.6 miles.  Last month I walked 107 miles in total and somewhere near that in March.  Everywhere is significantly smaller but I look like an apple!  Rolls everywhere!  But like everyone says the belly is a brat and it will be the last place to go...sucks but such is life.

Hi Everyone!!!

Thanks!! It feels great to know Im not alone. If Im honest, I remember about 6 months ago when I had started another weight loss program (a combo of Atkins dieting and treadmill) my tummy sorta did the same thing...but shortly thereafter---it all started to come in alignment...lol. So I guess I answered my own question. It just gets frustrating when you're starting all over again and you suddenly get amnesia of what it was like the other 50 times you tried to lose weight...lol. So this makes perfect sense cause I surely gain weight in my BELLY first. So, I guess it's gonna stay on for the long haul until everywhere else is lean/trimmed.

When I decided to lose weight, I was much like you (5'4, 161 lbs) with most of my weight in my stomach and no waist definition. I always really wanted a flat stomach.

The thing is, now that I've reached my goal weight of 125 lbs, I still have a stomach. Granted, it's much smaller than before, but any fat I have left is right there in the gut. I considered losing more weight, but it probably won't come off the right places and I don't really want to drop more sizes (now a size 2 in pants, 4 in jackets down from a 10 and a 12 respectively). Don't get my wrong, I love my new body, but I'm still working on accepting the fact that it isn't everything I wanted and we just play the hand we are dealt.

So all I can tell you is, you'll probably always have the stomach, at least to some extent. But on the bright side, I have a defined waist now! So you can look forward to that. And I'm still working out, targeting the stomach a lot even though you can't spot reduce. I think the toning helps, so perhaps add some toning/sculpting to your walking?

WOW Liskies!!!

Congrats!! You had a major loss! And our stats are a lot alike. Question? How did you lose that weight and how long did it take? Did you find that some exercises were more effective than others? Do you rid any "bad" foods from your diet indefinitely? How did you stay motivated to lose 40 pounds? lots of questions I know---but I just find that whenever I start losing---say 10-15 lbs. I STOP. Not stop as in plateau, but I get so impressed by that small difference that I start back eating and stop exercising. Crazy I know. But It's like I can't reach that 20 pound mark to save my life and then drop the extra 10-15 from there...

Although I don't have this problem (I carry mostly in butt and hips, and some in the belly - I tend to be more of a pear), I've also heard that this can be caused by diet as well.

In your case, it's probably more a factor of body type, but if your arms and legs are mostly normal, try looking at your diet and see what percentage of your diet is made up of bad carbs and sugars, as these can cause belly fat too...

Howdy Goodpotatoe!

Yeah, Im a serial-carber. I love pasta, potatoes, doughy breads, etc. So this could be contributinig to my belly fat. Even though Im trying to be strict with my CC, I tend to notice that a high percentile of my daily food is carbs. But fresh/lean meat isn't always easy to make full meals out of. And I wouldn't get full from salad and veggies alone. I dont know, I want to try a little veganism mixed with occassional vegatarianism. I know I consume way too many meat and animal products...but as I said---it's hard to be creative with broccoli, salad and beans everyday. It's always easier to grill a 1/2 chicken breast with pasta or potatoe. My staples as meals for YEARS have been the traditional: meat and potatoes or meat, starch, veggie. I just haven't built a consistent relationship with the GOOD carbs---I need to make friends with them soon...very soon.

I've had a similar problem. I have about 7 percent body fat on my triceps and back, 5% on my quads, but like 12 on my abs and I can see a six pack. Now that isnt bad...but it shows that my fat storage place is my stomach (like most men).

I will say this. I had around 15 percent before and could NOT see my abs :( while my other body parts was the same. To change this, this is what i did:

1) STRENGTH TRAIN: Toned up my abs so the muscles were holding my stomach inwards more and more as they got stronger. I think the most important ab group to focus on is the traverse muscles, which are usually neglected. Do the vacuum exercise (suck ur stomach in and hold as long as possible) to get that going.

2) SLOW-DIGESTING CARBS: Whole grains, veggies, and fruit (fructose is a simple carb, but it digest slow due to the fact that it has to go from the normal five membered carb ring to a six membered carb ring of D-Glucose for the body to lose...common misconception that fruit carbs are "fast digesting"). No fast digesting carbs, only right after working out really hard (this is after a lift and 4 miles run for me) where a small 200cal snack of 4:1 ration of glucose to protein is optimal. All the carbs from this will go right to replenishing ur glycogen stores. Also, the insulin spike will help to drive the amino acids from the protein into ur muscles to kick start recovery.

3) NO CARBS BEFORE BED: Well not completely...just limit it. I normally have cottage and a small whole wheat wrap with turkey. Protein is the best.

4) IT"S GENETIC: Can't do much about this. genes determine where our fat goes...theres is only so much we can do.

O yea...dont get stressed and catch ur zzz...not doing this will release lots of the hormone cortisol which is known to cause belly fat specifically. Hope this helps :)

I agree with x, I weighed 320 lbs when I was 19 and lost 135 pounds.  When I was getting smaller and my gut was really the last thing to go, I would see the abs at the top but the bottom of my stomach would stick out a little and not be flat.  I found that if I did leg lifts or hang on a bar and do knee lifts it works those bottom abs (sorry don't know the specific name) and pulls your stomach in.  The fat is connected to your muscles so if you tighten your abs it will pull that fat in and you will notice a difference.  Just keep at it, as for flabby belly as you loose weight your fat is not as concentrated and if you're drinking alot of water that makes your fat not as compact as well and you might look bigger but it is just an illusion.  Like a comment earlier keep at it and look at your loses and your measurments to see how you are coming along. If you are going to weigh yourself I recommend once a week at the same time of day.  Every day is just too much, there is so much room for fluctuation in a day that it will be discouraging.

I feel the subject has been hit well, but I can add this:

I am 5'4" and recently lost my 1st ten with the program, and absolutely the least noticeable spot of my progress is the tummy!

But it has always been my spot to first see fat as well.

As you have said as well, we can't target an area to lose faster or more than others....and since I do feel the core of my fat is in my stomach, I think what I am seeing is normal.

With ten pounds off I can see it in my face, arms, legs etc....and if I am honest in my stomach, but my stomach has the most to lose so I think it will be the highest amount of fat to lose until I reach my goal.

So I think it is just normal and just stay with the program, also take your measurements about once a month and I guarantee you will be losing inches that you just can't see.

Thanks everyone!!! This was a wealth of information that I can surely USE!! Thanks Again!

I'm happy to answer your questions... I hope this is helpful!

I lost the first 8-10 pounds by being more careful about my diet and putting exercise back in my life. ( I'd been injured for a few months so I couldn't really work out.) Then I found caloriecount and lost the the rest by eating 1200-1300 calories a day for about 6 months. Now it's been 6.5 months since I started counting and I'm working on maintaining.

In terms of exercise, I like variety, but I can't afford a gym membership. I was running a lot, but then winter came so I took up exercise dvds instead. (Turbo Jam and Jillian Michaels are my favorites.) Now I'm running again, but I still do the dvds for toning. I don't think any exercises are better than others, but I know now that cardio alone won't accomplish everything and that's where the dvds came in.

I didn't cut any foods out my diet. Moderation is key. I eat whatever I want as long as it fits into my calories for the day. I plan ahead as much as possible for going out to dinner/dessert/drinks so that I can still have a social life.

Staying motivated wasn't hard actually because even as I saw the weight loss (and needed smaller clothes) 15-20 pounds into this journey, I wasn't satisfied yet. I really wasn't satisfied until I was very close to my goal, so that helped. Plus, I'm truly a creative of habit, so once I was counting and planning my meals and exercise and all, it was simplest to just keep going! I know that might be weird, but it's true. Plus, I started to feel so much healthier and that was added motivation.

I hope those answers are helpful. Good luck to you. You can absolutely do it! It's totally worth it. Even if I still have the fat in my stomach... haha.


Thank you so much liskies!!! This sounds a lot like what I'm currently doing with the exception of the DVDs. I've heard a lot about that Turbo Jam on here. I have the Windsor pilates series and Tabeo series. Haven't used them since highschool ( I know) well the tabeo anyway...pilate wasn't out when I was in highschool. But I agree, I think thats just what I need in terms of firming everything up and toning. So, I'll start incorporating my DVDs in the evenings as well and do running on the weekends. (I walk M-F 6 miles total) Thanks again!!!



Yeah I feel like mine seems proportionally bigger since I started losing weight, but as its been said I think its just lost the least amount of fat and it will be the last thing to tone up on me.  :P

16 Replies
Recent Blog Post
Saragusa did what we're all trying to do now - take control of our health and diet. Although it was a mental struggle at first, Saragusa used Calorie Count (and a few of her own clever tricks!) to track everything she ate. As a result she's over 80 pounds lighter and a lot stronger than she was before.  

Continue reading...