5 things that won’t give you a flat tummy
1. Low fat diets
Low fat foods do not help to get rid of excess belly fat! When you take the fat out of a food to make it taste good and bind it back together again something has to be added to it. If it’s a savoury food this is usually salt otherwise it will be sugar. Sugar makes you fat. It converts to fat quicker than fat itself because it raises your insulin levels which can cause fat storage. Many so called “healthy foods” are full of sugar particularly cereal bars and indeed the breakfast cereals themselves.
When people are trying to drop a few pounds they are generally careful about what they eat but tend to forget about the liquid calories especially alcohol. Alcohol provides the body with empty calories meaning that aside from sugars there is no fat, protein, vitamins or minerals contained in it that the body can use. However at 7 calories per gram it contains more calories than both carbohydrates and protein (4 cals/g). Because it cannot be stored in the body it must be oxidised and converted into energy. Whilst this is happening the body is not using fat and carbohydrates and these will be stored as fat.
Another biggie as a cause of fat around the belly is that dreaded word - stress.
Stressing and worrying causes your adrenal glands, (small glands on top of that kidneys that control stress and fluid balance) to release the nasty little hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. We do need some cortisol but when we have too much in the bloodstream we become less sensitive to leptin, the hormone that tells us when we are full. No surprises what happens next – we overeat big time and then usually start stressing about how much we’ve eaten and so the cycle continues. Managing stress is key to balancing hormones and balancing hormones and blood sugar is key to weight loss particularly belly fat.
4. Sit ups.
Onto the exercise approach. Contrary to popular opinion and media hype simply doing endless crunches/situps will not give you that flat tummy if you have body fat to lose. Below are a few reasons not to waist (pun intended) your efforts on sit ups.
a) They are unsafe if you have recently had a baby because they can cause any separation you have in your abdominals to widen further.
b) Ineffective at flattening your stomach, regardless of whether you’ve had a baby or not. What sit ups do are work the rectus abdominus muscle (that’s your six-pack muscle, by the way), but, have you ever noticed, when someone puts weight on their mid-section, it’s rarely above their belly button is it? It’s the lower abdominals you want to work to flatten or tone your abdominals. So its transverse ab work that’s important here, which those of you attending any of my classes will be familiar with.
c) They do nothing to improve posture, mimicking the very same positions that most people find themselves in their day to day routines, driving, sitting at a computer and so on. The very same position (flexion) that can contribute to everyday back pain and poor posture.
5. Spot reduction
This means working only one area of your body in an effort to reduce body fat. Spot reduction is not possible. To lose fat from the stubborn areas you have to work the whole body. You will notice that during any of my classes we use a total body approach working legs, back, butt, chest, shoulders, arms and abdominals /core. Your heart and lungs get a workout and by using the bigger, thicker muscles like legs and butt you burn far more calories than lying on a mat doing endless exercises for your mid section!
So there we have it. I hope that has given you an insight into why it can seem so difficult to slim the waistline.
Let me know and if you have any other questions that I may be able to help with please ask. If you are thinking it, you can bet you’re your bottom dollar there are hundreds of other people puzzling over it too!
Have a healthy, happy week