Do you have the belly blues? You may be asking yourself what’s “belly blues”. Do you want a flatter tummy and trim waistline? Are you always saying? “If only I could lose this stomach” or “I really need to lose this gut.” or maybe I need get a corset it’s the new craze. If so, you have the belly blues. As a holistic nutrition/fitness professional this is the number one complaint I here from ladies, whether they are 18 or 80 – age doesn’t matter.
According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics the average height for women is 63.8 inches and weight is 166.2 pounds. Over the past 25 or more years women bodies have evolve from the standard hour-glass with an average waist circumference of 27 inches to the rectangular shape with the waist circumference being 37 inches with a protruding abdomen. Could that possibly be why the corset has re-emerged? 46% of women in America today are rectangular meaning that the shoulders and hips are nearly equal and there is little or no waist definition. 20% of women are pears, shoulders are narrower than the hips, 14% of women are inverted triangles where the shoulders are broad in the hips are narrow. Regardless what body shape you may have we all would like a flatter abdomen and a slimmer waistline. Gaining weight in the mid-section affects all of us at some point in time in our lives. Whether it’s from over eating, lack of consistent exercise, stress, sleep deprivation, pregnancy, sedentary, hormonal changes, age-related (metabolism) or heredity or a combination of them all belly fat is a force to be reckon with in women and men. Belly fat not only affects our mood, appearance and how our clothes fit but our health.
Most of us are baffled when we step on to the bathroom scale and your weight is the same but can’t zip and button up your favorite pair of jeans. There are two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is found underneath the skin the can that causes dimpling and cellulite. Visceral fat deposits itself in the abdomen, it will surround your liver and other organs this type of fat is linked to hypertension, bad cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer, this type of fat is very active and harmful to the body, secreting hormones and other chemical substances that has various negative effects upon the overall health of your body. A lean person has about 40 billion fat cells whereas an obese person can have 120 billion or more fat cells. In a study published in 2004 in the New England Journal of Medicines, doctors found that liposuction, which removes only subcutaneous fat had no effect whatsoever on health even when surgeons sucked out 20 pounds of subcutaneous abdominal fat. But when a person loses that much weight by making healthy lifestyle changes through healthy food choices and quality exercise he or she will see significant changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance and in their overall appearance.
The best and most sensible way to lose unwanted and unhealthy belly fat is to eat close to nature as possible and to exercise at least 45 – 60 minutes 5 – 7 day a week. Eating close to nature is by eliminating and/or limiting the intake of process and convenient foods. Replace them with fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats and fish; the first action against belly fat. Process food is process food whether it’s from the health food store or conventional food stores it’s still process. These foods are very difficult for the body to breakdown and digest, usually high in sodium, sugar, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, flavors and unhealthy fat therefore they will be stored as fat in the body and what better place than the midsection. Actually the belly is a very good place for the body to store excess fat in turns of mobility, but in turns of health it puts you at a greater risk for the diseases.
Exercise is the best way to expedite unwanted belly fat. It responds very well to exercises that are moderate to high intensity such as jogging 17 – 20 miles a week that’s about 2.5 – 3 miles daily or any other form of aerobic exercise that will be its equivalent Weight training 2 - 3 days a week is of equal importance when battling the belly blues because the more muscle you have the more body fat you will burn. Include toning tummy exercises that will target the deep internal abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis your built in corset with exercises that will draw in the belly button such as “abdominal hollowing” a great exercise that will get you familiar with your internal corset. To perform this simple and effective exercise get down onto the floor on all four with pillow under knees and hands beneath shoulders and spine straight. Keep the back flat inhale to allow the abdomen to be filled with air letting the belly relax as you inhale through your nose and gently and consciously pull your belly button inward and upward toward your spine as you are exhaling from your mouth making an audible force exhalation such as shhhsh sound through your mouth without rounding your back as in a cat stretch. You should feel a tightening around your waist and below your navel – as if you were trying to squeeze into the tight jeans that you can no longer zip or button. Hold each rep for at least 5 - 10 seconds in do 3 sets with 10 -15 repetition per-set. During each repetition your spine should not change keeping your back flat.