The fundamental principle of weight loss and weight gain comes down to calories consumed vs calories burned. If you burn more than you consume, you lose weight. Conversely, if you consume more than you burn, you gain weight.

Sometimes people will start a low calorie diet, but they won’t lose weight. This can be frustrating when trying to lose belly fat, but there are some very good reasons why this happens.

The first reason why this happens comes down to NEAT. NEAT stands for, non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Basically, NEAT is all the calories you burn outside of exercise. Sometimes when people lower their calories, their activity drops proportionately, leading to a 0 sum change in calories in vs. calories out.

The second reason is that you aren’t actually cutting calories. The hunger that you get when dieting causes you to graze throughout the day, resulting again in a 0 sum change between calories consumed and calories burned.

If you’ve lowered your calories in hopes to lose body fat, but you aren’t seeing results, you may be moving less than normal, or mindlessly snacking more than normal. Try to mitigate these issues and you’ll start burning fat again.