Why do we dread eating healthy more than being stuck in tight jeans, complete with muffin top spilling over the sides. I have to admit, I ate enough Mexican food to KILL someone Sunday night – and all I could think about was how I couldn’t WAIT to quit feeling so uncomfortable.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are about to bust out of your clothes. Between holding your stomach in and just feeling plain crappy, it’s very tempting to reach for a quick fix, like putting on a big baggy t-shirt. Sometimes, we even go as far as buy looser clothing – but if we don’t change our habits, we’ll fill those out too.
Next time you think about how restricting eating clean is, think about how restricting your favorite clothes get when you let your weight get out of control. Suddenly eating clean seems pretty darn freeing!!
So you have a belly. What type of belly do you have? Before you can figure out what you need to do about your belly, you need to figure out what your problem is.
1. POOCHY BELLY: You don’t have good posture. How many skinny girls have you seen walking around with their belly hanging out? People would look SO much thinner if they just stood up tall and held their stomach in tight. Lazy posture makes our stomach pooch out, making us look even heavier than we are. The more we practice good posture, the easier it gets to maintain it. To see if posture is affecting your physique, walk up to the mirror, turn sideways (without looking at the mirror) and maintain your normal posture. Then stand up straight and tighten your tummy. If you see a big difference in the way your stomach looks, then you probably need to work on strengthening your abdominal muscles.
2. POT BELLY: You eat too much. I’m not talking about calories here, I’m talking about portions. If you eat gynormous portions (which is basically the amount of food you get anywhere you go), that food has to go somewhere. If all those meals stay in your gut for three days (typical digestion time), then think about ALL the food you have eaten in 3 days -no wonder your stomach sticks out. Since your body only can use so much food at one time, reduce portion sizes to the size of your fist. You can eat more often, but try not to eat so much at one single sitting.
3. FAT BELLY: You eat too many calories. If you can “pinch and inch” or more, you are likely just eating too many calories. If you eat more calories than you burn, that food is stored where your body likes to store it. Unfortunately, we can’t choose this. Some people store fat on their hips and thighs, while others store it around their midsection (like me!). The only way to lose this fat is to reduce caloric intake and increase caloric expenditure. You certainly can do crunches, and other abdominal work, to improve core strength and posture, but doing abs will not get rid of the fat.
4. WEAK BELLY: Your abdominal muscles are weak. If you find it’s work to suck your tummy in or to do a crunch, most likely you need to strengthen those muscles. By strengthening your abs, you are able to support your core and hold your stomach in with ease. The stronger and tighter your stomach muscles are, the smaller and flatter your tummy will look. Think of strong stomach muscles as a brand new girdle. The stronger and tighter the “girdle” the smaller you will look all the way around!
Although one of the above issues may cause you more problems than another, working on all 4 of these issues can give you ultimate results.
Steve’s Killer Ab Workout
Shakira’s song, “Hips Don’t Lie” has a whole new meaning when it comes to dieting. It does seem every time I over-eat it go straight to my hips and with hip hugging jeans filling my closet, this could be a problem.
I don’t remember my hips being such an issue in the past but, then again, I didn’t realize how low “low-rise” jeans had gotten until I tried on an old pair of jeans that zipped up to my belly button. I remember wearing cropped shirts with jeans and never worrying about my “love handles”. Now I know why – they were covered up! With hip hugging jeans still being the trend I’m afraid we will be seeing a lot more of these dreaded love handles whether we like it or not.
You know what I’m talking about. Our youth today wear their hip huggers proudly even if they have too much hips to hug. Of course there are ways to still be stylish and hide the hips but the real answer is to lose the overflow.
1.) Diet – You have to reduce your calories if you want to reduce your hips. Diet is honestly 80% of the work. If you don’t know how many calories you are taking in, then you are guessing your way around things and guesses don’t always work.
2.) Cardio – The more calories you can burn, the better. Melt fat off your body with a treadmill or elliptical cross trainer, or high-intensity aerobics classes.
3.) Functional Training – The more functional training (boot camp, plyometric, multi-movement exercises) the more calories you’ll burn, the more you’ll sculpt your entire physique and the more you are working stabilization muscles around the joints too. This helps you tone ALL your muscle and not just the isolated muscle bellies – like your biceps.
4.) Train your Patience - The #1 thing you can work on is learning to be patient. If you do the above 3 things, you WILL get results. Sometimes, if we carry fat in an isolated area (like the hips, butt or belly), they are often the last to go – BUT they WILL go!! Be patient and know eventually your hips will show your success. And if they don’t – then remember, “Hips Don’t Lie” – they will tell on you in a heartbeat! So, if they are still too big, so is your caloric intake.
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