How To: Flatten Your Pooch
uffin top. Spare tire. Jelly Belly. 35-month pregnancy. No matter what you call it, there’s nothing that can bring out deep-seated loathing quite like the sight of fat wiggling and jiggling all over your waistline. Even women who are completely comfortable with their shapes can lose it when staring down at a baby-less belly that bulges and hangs outwards and then downwards.
Fat in the mid-section can be very difficult to get rid of, particularly if you’ve had a child, are over the age of 35, or have been overweight for quite some time. Many women resort to extreme measures like tummy tucks and liposuction in order to banish large midsections. That may be helpful in certain circumstances, especially for those women with exercise-resistant loose muscle tone in the belly area, or for those with fat pockets that just won’t disappear. Go ahead and keep that plastic surgeon on speed dial, but there may be things you can do that can help banish that waistline before you resort to going under the knife.
Cut down on the alcohol
Few people need an excuse to knock back a big, fat margarita on a night out with the girls. Even now, you can almost taste the orange-sweet goodness of the triple sec mingled with the mind-numbing goodness of the tequila. Well, sober up, because even if you have “just one”, depending on the size of the glass, you could be knocking back as much as 1000 calories with just one drink! And to be honest, who drinks just one? Top off those drinks with whatever you’re eating, and you could very well end up consuming way past the day’s calorie allowance in one sitting.
People commonly think that alcohol is stored in your body as fat, and that’s why you gain. Not quite true. When you consume alcohol, your liver converts the alcohol into acetate. Your body then uses that acetate as its primary energy source instead of burning its existing resources of fat. SO, that fat that’s already in your tummy stays there, and any extra fat is just piled on top. Lovely, huh? Cutting down on the amount of alcohol you drink will force your body to burn stored fat, helping you burn through that gut! If have to imbibe, make wise choices. Switch up your other food choices with healthier alternatives if you must have that full-strength margarita. Alternate every glass of alcohol with a glass of water to cut down on the amount you drink. Add sparkling soda and fruit juices to vodka for a lighter, but still-tasty cocktail.
Ramp up the aerobic/anaerobic exercise
Increasing the intensity and frequency of aerobic exercise can do more towards banishing that belly than all the crunches in the world. Swimming, running, walking, and dancing are all great examples of aerobic exercise that will help burn calories. With aerobic exercise, 30 minutes is “Happy (half) Hour” because it’s at the 30 minute mark that your body starts to burn fat stored in the body, so make your aerobic exercise session last longer than that in order to start trimming away the gut. Anaerobic exercise, or strength training, will not burn calories on its own, but it will increase the amount of muscle you have. The more muscle you have, the more fat your body will burn. Lifting weights and doing pull-ups and push-ups are great examples of anaerobic exercise. This is also where your crunches will come in, as well as abdominal holds, which target that lower ab “pooch” area that incurs the wrath of otherwise sane women.
Eat belly-banishing foods
There are foods that have been shown to help trim the belly area, so load up on them. Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats, which prevent the spikes in blood sugar that tell your body to store fat in your tummy. Potassium rich foods fight sodium’s tendency to leave you with “swelly belly,” so don’t forget your banana a day. Green tea lovers, drink on! It’s been shown in numerous studies to rev up your metabolism, so try to get in at least three cups a day.
Many women notice that their midsections seem to decrease as their water intake increases. That’s not your imagination! Drinking water prevents your body from retaining fluid, much of which tends to settle in the tummy area. It also helps prevent constipation, which can cause your stomach to bloat. If, try as you might, you’re just not a plain water drinker, you could try something called “Sassy Water.” This lemon and cucumber-infused water is the jump start portion of “The Flat Belly Diet,” a tummy banishing eating plan developed for Prevention Magazine by nutritionist Cynthia Sass. It’s comprised of 2 liters of water, a teaspoon of grated ginger (fresh), one medium cucumber and one medium lemon (both thinly sliced), and 12 spearmint leaves. Mix everything together in a pitcher and allow it to sit overnight. The ginger helps soothe the tummy and bloating while the cucumber helps with fluid retention. People use this water as a jump start to a diet, but you can finish off the pitcher every day.
Caloric Values of Alcoholic Beverages http://www.rochester.edu/uhs/healthtopics/Alcohol/caloricvalues.html
Eight Delicious Foods That Help Fight Belly Fat http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/17/earlyshow/health/main7254362.shtml
Sassy Water: A Flat Belly Diet Staple