Losing fat without also losing muscle is a bit more complicated than simply losing weight. Fat loss programs involve paying more attention to the types of foods you eat, rather than just focusing on reducing calories. They also includes different kinds of exercises that burn fat and preserve muscle at the same time, like weight-lifting and strength-training moves. This can sometimes lead to higher numbers on the scale, but the end result will be a smaller, more toned shape.
Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. "When you're stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what's a frazzled girl to do? "Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it's listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily," advises Talbott.
Here’s a thought: Take a 10-minute break from your busy day of present wrapping or online shopping to walk up and down the stairs in your house or apartment—you’ll say goodbye to about 100 calories, says Donavanik. You’ll also feel less tense and cramped up. Want to maximize your calorie burning potential? Run up and down those stairs instead and you’ll zap the same number of calories in half the time. 
You might have heard the term ‘middle-age spread’. This means, as women progress towards their middle years, the ratio of body fat increases compared to the body weight. During menopause, when the levels of estrogen go down, and the amount of androgens or male hormones increase, then there is an increased risk of fat accumulation in the waist. Hormones actually regulate the fat concentration in the body, and your figure depends entirely on it!
While maintaining good habits during the day—eating well, exercising regularly—are crucial for weight loss, resting at night is just as important for keeping off the pounds. In a study published by Plos One journal last year, researchers found that people who skimped on sleep were more likely to have higher body mass indexes and larger waist circumferences than those who got adequate shut-eye.

I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on nutrition, but what mid 20-30s female doesn't suffer from constant pressure to be as skinny and fit as possible!? My first marriage was falling apart when I decided to pick up racing, and the training was a good escape. I had managed to get a little more fit with P90X but I really enjoyed my YMCA family more than Tony and sweating it out in a garage. Plus, I grew up in the south and truly enjoy experiencing food wherever we are (my mom should have been a pro, but my little brother is a chef! We really love to eat) I managed my fitness with Y memberships and what I thought was "balanced eating" but even in triathlons I needed a racing coach and a separate nutritionist. I know I was guilty of the "I rode 40 miles and ran 10" I can eat what I want mindset and luckily my mid 30's seemed to allow for that! Even though I experienced success and thought that the racing got me into the best shape I had been, I still felt all over the place with fitness and nutrition. Add in migraines, less an less "quality" sleep, fatigue and a metabolic panel suddenly all over the place, I was ready for something that was consistent, manageable, and did a lifestyle improvement rather than a quick fix.
Do more HIIT: High intensity interval training (HIIT) is as close to a magic pill as we have (except it involves a whole lot more work than just swallowing a capsule—sorry). Not only does it surge your body to max intensity during the workout, but because you’re working so hard, your body can’t deliver enough oxygen in the moment, explains personal trainer Jeremey DuVall. Your muscles accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that then has to be repaid post-workout. This throws your body into a phase of fat burning for hours after you’re done sweating, known as post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Plus, super intense circuits like this activate muscle-building hormones like growth hormone and IGF-1, he adds.
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