It’s no secret that one of the biggest problem areas for women is the tummy area. While as women we will naturally hold more fat in these “baby producing” area of our bodies, the modern day lifestyle has now left us with body fat over and above healthy requirements and our spare tyres are now becoming detrimental to our health.
I’m now two years into fighting the bulge and while the “perfect body” fads change monthly with each new celebrity crush we stalk on Instagram, a flat stomach has always been at the top of the desire pile. So why is it so hard to achieve something we so passionately want? As a strong believer of “if you want it enough, you will find a way”, it’s taken me since junior school, (when a school bully pointed out my tummy rolls) to actually get any results in that area.
1. Focusing on fat loss in one area.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad new but this just isn’t going to happen. When we loss body fat we lose it from all over not just the area we think we are focusing on. Imagine fat loss as a giant potato peeler, removing an even layer off your whole body. It may seem like your losing more fat off the areas that you feel are already slimmer, but it’s just that when there is less fat there, you have lost a higher percentage off the already slimmer area. This can be hugely frustrating. Just remember for all the fat you can easily see you have lost, you will have also lost a load you can’t see.
2. Looking worse before you look better.
It took me ages to realise that more rolls in my tummy area didn’t necessarily mean more fat. As I would lose fat what was one large roll would become two smaller ones. It would look worse than the one large one, but with a bit more time those two smaller became one smaller. This has been an annoying and emotionally draining rollercoaster and has just become a ride I have had to accept and appreciate as the dress sizes drop off.
3. The scales can go up, while your body fat goes down.
Why, why, why are we so obsessed with the number on the scales. How much we weigh seems to be so much more important to us then our actual size, body fat percentage and most importantly how we feel about our bodies. Get off those scales! If you really want or need to track your progress just buy a tape measure, but I would simply give it all you’ve got and just see how much better you feel in and out of your clothes.
4. Men don’t have to deal with periods.
I know, I know we are meant to be the tougher sex but seriously our bodies are a complete riot of hormones and bloating! It’s hard enough if you are lucky to be regular and able to spot when you usually bloat, but if like 1 in 10 women in the UK, who suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or you are just bloody unlucky to be irregular… You have no hope. Just give yourself a bit of a break, the bloat is real people, but don’t worry it’s not new fat, unless you also hit the chocolate hard too.
5. Skin Bounce Back
It’s important to remember that you are capable of losing fat faster than your skin can bounce back into shape and sit tightly around your new smaller shape. You can aid this process by staying well hydrated from the inside and outside. Bio-oil, baby oil, coconut oil help or I use a specialist almond oil called Tonic Body Oil, from L’Occitane en Provence, which also smells amazing.
6. Forget the crunches!
Most of us hate them anyway. The best exercise I have found from a flat tummy is running. 20–25 minutes, 3 times a week could be all it takes. The cross-trainer also works well, but in the end it’s just fat! Eat less calories than you use and you will lose fat, as the body will use the fat for fuel. It’s as simple as that. Crunches and other (more effective) core exercises have there place, as a strong core is very important part of your overall health and well being, but they not a flat tummy essential. I’m aiming for psycho gym girl abs, so I personally train my abs 3 to 4 times a week, however I rarely do just normal crunches. They hurt my neck and give me little to no progress.
7. Instagram Abs
These are not normal or easy or in a lot of cases healthy. They often require a woman to get her body fat percentage to an unhealthy level, which can effect fertility and overall health. Photos are often well lit and require a level of dedication most people just don’t have time for.
8. Food, food, food.
It’s simple, you can’t out exercise a bad diet. 70% food, 30% exercise. It’s not just under eating, you need to fuel your body. Right quality, right quantity and no one size fits all fad diet, I’m a big fan of the macro based food plans.
To wrap up I just want to say, stay strong and have faith.
It is possible and you can do it!