Reducing tummy fat is your long time challenge. You might be someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle or a mom post delivery like me. Your ugly middle is something that makes you unhappy.
This is the honest part of the tummy loss story you need to know.
- First of all, you need to know that there is nothing called spot reduction. You can’t lose just the fatty flab in the middle. It goes from everywhere else too.
- Belly fat is stubborn. It would be the last and the most difficult to rid off. Overall exercise can burn it, but only towards the end.
- If you go to a medical professional, they would most likely give you a 1100 calorie diet for fat loss. I wouldn’t be able to stick to it. I am sure many of you wouldn’t too.
Let me remind you one thing. Nothing comes for free. You got to take a pledge and work hard towards it.
- Start by deciding to make a change in your lifestyle. Eat what you want once in a while but burn it out on the same day. If you are not sure you can, then it’s simple. Don’t eat it.
I am going to list down the top things which can help tone down your tummy. And these tips would ensure the best results with a good regular exercise. Let me start with four simple things which you can eat and drink.
- Lemon honey water
This is not a new hit. Lemon honey water in the morning on empty stomach has been around for years. A luke warm glass of water with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey is said to detoxify, aid digestion and keep hunger pangs at bay.
- Green tea
My favourite! I like to gulp down a cup of green tea without any kind of sweetener. It makes me feel nice. I take this once a day at brunch or in the evening replacing the usual cuppa. You can have two cups happily everyday and give yourself a metabolism boost. I would ask you to take warm green tea without sugar or honey. Two cups are good for a day.
- Flax seeds
Dry roast flax seeds and powder them. Add a teaspoon to your meals everyday without fail. Low carbs and high Omega 3 EFA and fibre make flax seeds a value addition to meals. They provide you with nutrition and stop binge eating by keeping you “full”.
- Plant based proteins
I like to specify “plant based” for those who get their proteins from animal foods. Lean proteins like beans, chickpeas, quinoa, spirulina, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and the like contain other nutrients also making themselves highly enriching foods. A diet rich in protein and low in fat can easily help weight loss and reduce the fat build up around your tummy. Protein helps muscle building and supplies you with more energy to lose fat.
On a side note, most of us believe we eat a lot of proteins but we do not eat enough!
You can’t lose belly fat by simply doing some house hold chores or walking up and down the stairs of your office. You got to wake up early in the morning and do some jogging. These are some not-so-difficult activities you need to incorporate in to your life.
Dull as it may sound, stretching is a very soothing exercise with many health benefits. My General Physician once told me to make stretches a part of my daily workout. (I am yet to start though.) Stretching increases blood circulation and, reduces stress and aches. It increases your range of motion thereby reducing the chances of sprains and strains. When it comes to losing weight, it can help tone down the muscles when done systematically. Wondering about stretching? See this link here. For tummy toning, try the Seal Stretch and Hip Stretch shown here!
6. Plank Pose (Static Hold)
My dietician-friend Suparna asked me to practice Plank Pose to shed my Post C-Section Tummy. I have just started with it. And I need to confess, I am regularly irregular. Plank is not that hard if you take it slowly and carefully. According to Suparna, we got to do Plank, 3 sets of 30 seconds each, on an empty stomach two-three times a day for best results.
7. Deep Breathing
When you are angry, anxious or stressed out you take a deep breath. It is because deep breathing activates the body’s natural relaxation. All of us breathe shallow.The number of times we hold our breath a day is innumerable. When you practice deep breathing or abdominal breathing, experts say you can achieve two things: peace and a flatter belly. When you are on an empty stomach, take deep breaths. When you pull air in, your stomach should enlarge and when you push air out it should flatten. The exhalation should be slightly longer than inhalation. This is deep breathing. You might like this page from PsychCentral.
As you exhale pull your tummy muscles tightly close, contracting it as if you belly button is going to touch your spine. Woah! This method of breathing is called Abdominal Vacuum. You can practice this once you are an adept deep breather.
Since stress is a major factor in increasing your waistline Deep Breathing is a great starter to reduce it. Deep breathing exercises must be a part of our daily lives.
KapalBhatti is a pranayama, a great detox which focuses on exhalation. It also works on the abdominal muscles when practiced regularly. However, you should not practice these breathing techniques if you suffer from back ache, hypertension or any other chronic medical condition without the consent of your doctor. Learn how to do KapalBhatti by watching this video..
Are you new to pranayama? Don’t start from the middle. Start with deep breathing and Anulom Vilom. Anulom Vilom is generally considered safe for all.
If you totally hate exercising, I don’t think you can achieve much. I believe that our life should be centered around activity, both mental and physical. You consume calories and burn them for energy. You should at least go for regular walks or join some sport to get yourself a rush of dopamine, (the feel good brain chemicals).
I am fond of sweets. I don’t want to stop eating sweets. They are simple (sinful) pleasures of life. What I do is, I eat a small portion before 1 p.m. i.e., before my metabolism slowed down for the day. Suparna asks me, “Why not enjoy the delicacies in the world? Go ahead and savour them. Just remember to burn out what you eat.”
Four years ago, I had happily lost 4 KG in a month by tweaking my diet and getting regular physical activity. I had altered between brisk walk, Elliptical training and yoga. I did not suppress my cravings. I had my small fills and ocassional eating outs. I consciously barred myself from fruit juices, soft drinks, sodas and fast food. I munched on fruits, high fibre biscuits, almonds, dates and apricots (high sugar but nutritious than bakery foods; limited intake) apart from regular food (boiled and strained rice, chappathi, dal, vegetables, eggs and occasional bites of chicken). I slashed the number of chappathis at dinner but ate a helathy snack at tea. I politely shook my head to all these items offered lovingly by loved ones.
I think you can do it too. My present goal is to shed the post pregnancy weight and C-section tummy. It is not an easy task with a toddler to take care of.
But, I know I will do it.
I am already on my way. 🙂