Fitness columnist Emmet Rushe shares 19 reasons why people struggle to reduce body fat. But there's just one vital point you need to note.

1. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.
It doesn’t matter what you have heard, or what you have read, if you are not losing body fat, you are not in a calorie deficit.

2. Your eating is ruled by the scales.
If your daily eating habits are governed by what the scales tell you in the morning, you need to throw them out.
Not seeing the number that you expected and then eating junk for the rest of the day because of this, is counterproductive.
The reason this blog is about body fat and not weight, is because body fat is what you should be worried about, not an arbitrary number on the sad step.

3. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

4. You binge drink at the weekends.
This doesn’t mean that you go out and get drunk every weekend.
But, if you currently have a ‘glass of wine’ each evening from Thursday to Sunday and ending up polishing off 2 bottles over the 4 days, each and every week, you are hampering your chances of success.

5. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

6. You think ‘eating healthy’ means you can eat as much as you like.
There is a mindset that if you are eating ‘healthy’, you can eat as much as you like.
If you are eating ‘clean’ the calories won’t get stored as body fat.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true.
It doesn’t matter what you eat, calories count, and if you eat too many, the excess could be stored as bodyfat.

7. You aren’t in a caloric deficit. 

8. You aren’t aware of your ‘mindless eating’
Mindless eating is when you eat without realising that you are eating.
This can happen to us all, especially when we are busy.
We register the main meals, but don’t account for the snacks, a biscuit or sweet here or there, that croissant for breakfast that was eaten in the car.
There are so many ways that this can happen.
An easy fix, is to keep a food diary for 1 whole week.
You will soon realise if you are doing this or not.

9. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

10. You drink your calories.
Your diet is good, you exercise, why are you not seeing any progress?
It could be because you are drinking more calories than you are eating during the day.
Sugary drinks, cream in our coffee, milky teas, sugar in our tea and coffee, ‘healthy’ smoothies and juices.
There are so many ways that you can double your calorie intake without even realising that you are doing it.
Be aware that what you drink may have calories also.

11. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

12. You think that ‘healthy fats’ will help you to burn more fat.
With the rise of low carb diets, we have also seen the rise of higher fat diets.
Coconut oil, butter, rapeseed oils, olive oils have all become hugely popular again.
This isn’t a bad thing, especially after the low-fat craze and the health implications it brought.
But please do not be fooled, fat is hugely calorie dense.
1 TBSP of olive oil has 120 calories, coconut oil is very similar.
If you were adding these for cooking or dressings to your meals 3-4 times per day, you could have an extra 500 calories per day.
It doesn’t matter what the type is, a calorie is a calorie, and too many will halt progress.

13. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

14. The more you exercise, the more you eat.
Some don’t want to admit this, but deep down they know that it is true.
As people start to exercise, or progress in their training, the mindset that;
‘Sure I’m training, so I’ll burn it off’ can creep in.
It is very difficult to out exercise a bad diet, or excess calories, especially if you are not tracking either.
Don’t let this steer your nutrition off track.

15. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

16. You drink too much tea.

This isn’t a dig at tea. We’re Irish, tea is like our oxygen!
This is more about those of you who can’t have a cup of tea, without having a biscuit.
I have seen this, many times with clients.
The easiest fix to this if you ‘have to have a biscuit with a cup of tea’.
Stop drinking tea.
Dear God man, are you mad???
That’s the easiest fix, you could also cut down the number of cups you drink, this will cut down the number of biscuits you eat.

17. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

18. You don’t prepare your own meals. If you always eat out, or always have lunch and dinner at carveries, restaurants, delis, sandwich bars, etc., you are leaving the chances of knowing how much you eat and how many calories are in your food to someone else.

Try preparing your own meals, and limit your eating out to 2-3 times per week instead of daily. You will have a better chance of controlling what you eat and how much this way.

19. You aren’t in a caloric deficit.

^^ See above. ^^

We will finish where we started, because this is what it comes down to.
It’s not carbs.
It’s not sugar.
It’s not fat.
It is a combination of these through the food we eat and the fluids we drink.
Add to this that we are more sedentary in our jobs and lives and you have the perfect formula for gaining weight.
If you want to change this, see the tips above.