10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT

Last week  I was asked to help out with a feature for one of my favourite websites ‘Get The Gloss.‘ It’s a must read for everything health, wellness and women related!

The feature I helped with was called “10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT,” something that many women can relate too. Here it is! Enjoy…..

Working hard but stomach still not resembling a washboard? It’s time to bring in the experts…

Never mind ‘does my bum look big in this?’, stubborn fat around the tummy is probably the most common bodily bugbear, for both men and women. Shifting it becomes even more of a priority when you consider that, according to NHS Choices, fat collecting around your middle poses more health risks than fat that sits elsewhere:

“We store spare body fat under the skin and also around the vital organs in our abdomen. Fat around the abdomen causes more health problems than, say, fat carried around the bottom or on the thighs. Having a large amount of tummy fat (when compared to having fat around the bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”

Hardly joyful news if you have a few pounds to lose, but don’t panic if you’re developing a paunch- the following could explain why you’re accumulating belly fat, and tips from nutritionist and yoga teacher Libby Limon and fitness specialist Lucy Miller could help you to whittle down your waist once and for all.

STRESS
Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

“Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a part in laying down central adipose tissue (belly fat), so if you are in a stressed state then it will be very hard to shift. Stress can come from many sources- emotional strain, conflict at work or relationship trouble. Destress by building in yoga practice and mindfulness to your daily routine.”

If you suspect that stress is sabotaging your slimming goals, learn how to master meditation, swot up on calming yoga poses and halt negative thought patterns in their tracks.

SUGAR
It’s currently public enemy number one, and the link between muffin tops and actual muffins is, unfortunately, stronger than ever. Libby lays down the law:

“Cortisol is also implemented, alongside insulin, in blood sugar control, so a high sugar diet can cause belly fat to stick fast even if you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight (excessive calorie restriction isn’t something I would recommend anyway.”

Personal trainer and obesity campaigner Lucy has some advice for addressing the issue, without going hungry:

“Try to cut down on sugar, saturated fats and white refined foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, as they metabolise quickly, resulting in soaring blood sugar levels, which promotes fat storage. Base your diet around lean meats, vegetables and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and avocados.”

SLEEP DEPRIVATION
It’s the c-word again- Libby underlines that ‘a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on cortisol balance’. If you’re struggling to get some shut eye, get to the root of what’s causing your insomnia and learn how to help yourself nod off using expert wellbeing techniques. If you’re in the following situation, however, you’ll be in no doubt as to what’s causing your sleeplessness…

YOU’RE A NEW MOTHER
First things first, never put pressure on yourself to spring back into shape, and definitely don’t rush things (that goes for weight loss full stop). Your belly has just housed new life and brought a wonder into the world; cut it, and more importantly, yourself, some slack. Up your activity levels slowly– Lucy advocates patience and TLC:

“If you’re a new mum then losing weight from around the tummy can be very hard- hormones take time to settle down and stretched muscles won’t knit back together instantly after pregnancy. it will take time, so give yourself as long as it takes.”

If you’re not feeling like you’re losing anything, try tracking your progress as you go and join a community of other mothers by using the Healthy Selfie app. It’s a great visual tool to reassure you that you are indeed making headway, and the photographic food diaries help you to monitor what you’re eating without exposing your entire Instagram feed to your daily meals. Co-founder Charlotte is even using the app to track the changes she’s experiencing throughout her pregnancy- we’ll report back on her post-baby plan!

Post-baby or not, overdoing it is never good…

OVER EXERCISING
There’s no doubt that slobbing out won’t do anything to diminish belly fat, but going overboard isn’t the answer either, as Libby affirms:

“Physical stresses such as overexercising and endurance exercise can upset cortisol balance. Switch gruelling cardio workouts for 20-30 minute HIIT sessions instead.”

HIIT the ground running (sorry) with these get fit fast workouts.

BELLY BLOATING
If a protruding tum comes with cramps, wind and bowel trouble, an unhappy digestive system is likely to blame and could be making a less than trim tum situation look and feel a lot worse than it is. Your first step is to beating bloat is to identify the cause of your tummy trouble, and Lucy suggests trying a meal tweak to see if it makes a difference:

“Avoid eating fruit after a meal, as fruit can cause food to ferment in your stomach, leading to bloating and lots of gas.”

CORE CONFUSION
The classic sit up has been sold to us as the best ab honer, but incorrect alignment can make them less effective, not to mention damage your back. A sit up alone also won’t burn fat that sits on the stomach. Get sweaty with a cardio blast and then mix up your core toning exercises by following Lucy’s drill:

“Do minute-long planks, three sets of 20 bicycle crunch exercises, two sets of 30 heel digs, three sets of 20 bird dogs and the mighty Turkish get up. These are all great exercises for working your deep core muscles, ab muscles and postural muscles, which will instantly make you look taller and slimmer.”

DUMBBELL DREAD
Traditionally many women skirt round the weightlifting section in the gym, and while body weight resistance training is highly effective, pumping a little iron pays dividends. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even when resting. which is good news for torching tummy fat. if you’re still hesitant, let performance coach and founder of Twenty Two Training Dalton Wong convince you.

FAT FEAR
It seems logical to assume that fat contributes to fat, but nutritionists are keen to point out that since the “low fat” revolution of the 70s, our waistlines have widened dramatically. As personal trainer and nutritionist Keris Marden and fitness expert and health coach Matt Whitmore point out in The Paleo Primer: A Jump-Start Guide to Losing Body Fat and Living Primally:

“Have you ever wondered what takes the place of the removed fat? Answer: heaps of synthetic, non-food chemicals that wreak havoc on our metabolism and digestion. What’s more, most low-fat and fat-free products contain loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of taste.”

For a flatter tummy and lower body weight in general, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocados could well be your weight loss weapon, as Keris and Matt highlight:

“Fat can play a vital role in weight loss[…] the single most important aim of your nutrition should be to balance your blood sugar levels. Dietary fat helps you accomplish that by slowing down the release of nutrients into the bloodstream, so by all means, add a little olive oil or butter to your meals. This will help regulate your appetite and keep your energy levels consistent.”

Fewer sugar spikes, reduced cake cravings and a drip feed of health-giving nutrients into the body will seriously reduce the incidence of belly swelling binges.

SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS…
If you’re diet and fitness regimes are shipshape, but you’re still not losing any weight, it may be a good idea to seek medical advice. Hormonal disruption can affect fat distribution, so consulting a hormone expert such as Dr Marion Gluck and her team could help, but book an appointment with your GP first for a general health check.

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Get your abs back; Slendertone – Does it really work?

There’s nothing like good old-fashioned hard work when it comes to getting back in shape.
The problem is hard work takes time, and when there’s a five-month old baby involved there’s not much spare time for me or my workouts.Thankfully Lacie is now sleeping from 9:30- 7am, which means I can usually squeeze an hours workout in before she wakes. I usually warm up and then do a full body workout using my body weight and dumbbells.
I do this 4-5 times a week and thankfully the hard work has paid off. I’m back in my post-baby wardrobe and my measurements are back to what they were before baby.Like most new Mums though I’ve had to work extra hard on my tum – but then again not too hard as I suffered from ab separation (diastasis recti), which means only light core work for me – and no sit ups, as these can make your diastasis recti worse by causing your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to use some amazing ab-toning products to give my tum a helping hand.

Now these certainly don’t do all the hard work for you, you still have to eat and exercise well, but they complement my sessions and mean I can see to my motherly duties and still work my abs. I would love to work my abs more at the end if each session but I always run out of time – really I should do them at the beginning at the session but I get too caught up with other exercises like squats and stuff which according to Charles Poliquin, can work your abs anyway.

Here are by top tips and products for getting your abs back.
Now despite what my hubby (and mum) thinks, I still have a bit to go until I’ve got my ‘usual’ abs back, but if I’m honest with you, getting to that point is not my main priority anymore – if it takes me six months to get there, then so be it. I just want to be fit and healthy for my little girl and look good in my skinny jeans. These days I’m much more relaxed about my training and eating and will pat myself on the back everyday for creating a perfect little girl. Not only did she grow in my body but for the past five months she’s grown exclusively from my milk – that’s a bigger achievement than having abs and that perfect body! It’s funny how much inner peace you get from loving your own child!
Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff, here’s those top tips and products as promised..I’ve been using these for a good 30 days and I’m so excited about sharing the results!

Slender Tone
Wow, I remember stealing my Mum’s Slender Tone when I was 18 and trying to tone my tum for a girls holiday. I always remember it being pretty uncomfortable as your abs contracted away but thankfully things have moved on because I’ve just tested one for a good month and it wasn’t painful at all – just a weird feeling I suppose. It was more than bearable than I thought and I even ached a few days after the first few goes…a nice pain that I haven’t felt for a while since having to turn my training down a notch or two.

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So how does it work?
Basically the Slender Tone uses Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology, which stimulates the nerves and activates the body’s natural muscle movements, toning and strengthening the muscles in the process. According to Slender Tone, wearing the belt for just 20 minutes a day provides a complete abdominal workout – which is the equivalent of 120 sit-ups – without the neck pain!

What I loved about the Slender Tone Abs Belt is it’s discrete, easy to use, convenient and is has a sensible plan in the manual for you to follow so you can up the intensity slowly and sensibly. You simply select the programme you want then gradually increase the intensity to a level that suits you.
I found it was best to find a level that is bear able, then as that level becomes comfortable (level 30 for me) then move up in increments of 10. It was so easy to go about my daily chores whilst wearing the belt, plus it was easy to put on and off and it was comfortable enough to leave on after the programme had finished until I had time to take it off again.
What I don’t like about the belt and the whole Slender Tone concept is that some people can think it’s a quick fix and that they don’t have to eat right and work out alongside using the belt. You do! To get the best results, I used the belt five times a week for at least 30 minute each time and ate well and exercised too. I simply used the belt to compliment my usual healthy habits to give me a helping hand – it worked!

Over all I lost two inches off waist and I’m now back to my pre-pregnancy 26 1/2 inch waist. I have some muscle tone back and feel confident again with my stomach.
So will I continue to use it? Yup I certainly will. The intensity goes up to 150 and I’m only at 70, so I have a long way to go before I even reach that and have lots more wear out of the belt. Who’d thought you could be working your abs whilst washing up? It’s great! It doesn’t affect my time with Lacie and it feels like every time I wear it and workout out, I’m one step closer to my goal. It really is all about consistency.

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To find out more about Slender Tone, please visit www.slendertone.com. The abs belt is currently on sale at £119! They also have lots more products on offer  and I’m really looking forward to testing their shorts, which can help you trim your thighs and butt. Yes please! I’ll of course let you know how it goes!

Mama Mio Get Waisted
Another product I would highly recommend for helping blitz your mummy tummy is Mama Mio Get Waisted.
It contains NINE ingredients which are designed to help combat fat deposits, tighten your tum, reduce puffiness, and – most importantly – maximise lipolysis, which is the way your body breaks down the fat stored in fat cells; giving you slim fat cells and a slimmer silhouette.
I can’t say that I say a huge difference when using this for 30 days. I didn’t suffer from stretch marks after my pregnancy or too much loose skin so it was hard to judge. I did however feel like my tummy was tighter when using this alongside the slender tone belt. I made sure I put it on every night before bed…every little bit helps…right?

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Activating my TVA morning & night
What I have leant since being busy as a mummy, is that you don’t need a gym to activate your core…you can work your core muscles also known as your  TVA (transversus abdomens) while lying in bed or sitting on the sofa.
To do this simply breath in deeply, letting your chest expand, then as you exhales , pulling in your tummy all the way around and holding it in for a couple of seconds, then releasing.

Gaining control over your TVA and working it as often as possible is key to having a flat tum after you have had your baby, then once  your tummy is stronger and your diastasis has closed you can begin a wider variety of more intense abdominal exercises like the plank & crunches etc.
I try to do this as much as possible in the day as well as do my pelvic floor exercises. The way to remember is to do it every time I feed Lacie. It’s now become a habit and means I do these at least four times a day, which can make a huge difference to your physique.