How to lose belly fat strictly for women

by Hara Hagikalfa on November 19, 2012 · 1 comment

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If only you could trim the ‘tires’ around your body and you would have the perfect body! Yes, I’ve been there many of times with the tummy being the first on the ‘to go’ list. Getting the perfect tummy has been a long standing goal for many women. I often think that it is one of those things that only happens in Photoshop but I do remember having one at some point and I have witness it on other women.

Where do you start? First of all I would say that just because you are a woman doesn’t mean that you have to do something differently from men to lose the belly fat. In reality, women tend to store belly fat less than men due to the different hormones and tend to lose it easier as it is metabolically active.

The exception is women going through or post menopause, as the hormones change during that time.

Moreover, there is no such thing as spot weight loss or fat burning so it is just a matter of avoiding those things which make you gain weight especially those favouring abdominal fat and doing more of those which favour weight loss. You will find some of those things in the list below.

Be realistic

What does being realistic entails here? Well start from how much weight is your goal to lose from your tummy.  As mentioned above there is no spot fat burning so the correct would be how much weight is you general goal and part of it will be from your tummy.

This is important because when it comes to it you will not be expecting that something will miraculously take fat out of your tummy only. This is likely to be called surgery and carries high risks and bills. Since we are in the miraculously part, take into account that it is not going to happen overnight either.

Second, genetics do count. No matter what people say, genetics, body type, amount of abdominal fat and for how long it has been sitting there will matter. I am not saying to use this as an excuse for not trying, but hey, do be realistic.

For someone who has been carrying a considerable amount of fat from childhood and they now have reached adulthood, getting a flat 6 pack may not be possible without the use of drugs or surgery. It can happen yes but not for everybody.

Rainbow plate

So we are not looking at spot fat burning here, what we are looking at is a healthy balanced diet which will promote weight loss. The best way forward is a healthy balanced diet. Some studies suggest that the one of the best diets for health and weight loss is the Mediterranean type.

There are a lot of variations to the Mediterranean style diet so it can provide a tasteful option. In general, the main principle to a healthy balanced diet is to include a large number of foods from all sources especially fruit and vegetables. Keep in mind that the different colours in fruit and veg. come from their nutrients such as antioxidants so do create a rainbow in your plate (include colourless/light coloured foods as well as they can be as rich in nutrients).

Go for fresh and avoid colourful processed foods. These tend to be high in sugars, salt etc and the colour is usually added on.

Cut down on carbs and junk food

Refined and processed foods, as well as junk type foods such as takeaways, deep fried foods etc are by rule calorie dense, metabolic bombs and most likely unhealthy. First weight loss is not only dependant on the amount of calories you eat. You could be consuming fewer calories than your body needs but it could be all the wrong things which could result in having a belly pouch.

Some of it may have to do with the amount of sugar and refined carbs you throw in your body. Sugars trend to create a spike reaction to insulin (hormone in the body) in result and in simple words you can end up storing fat in your abdomen.

Opt for low GL (glycemic load) foods such as wholemeal, or rye bread. Change the way you cook foods and opt for a jacket potato instead of chips or mash. Replace refined foods with fresh foods. Instead of frozen chicken nuggets why not get fresh chicken and make it from fresh and healthier.

Vitamin D

Apparently vitamin D helps in weight loss and more specifically in belly fat. This effect seems to be prominent when combined with calcium. A number of studies have looked into the relationship between vitamin D, calcium and weight loss and their finding suggest that there is a correlation between them.

Vitamin D and calcium can be taken as supplements but they can also be taken through food and diet. Try adding some dairy products, oily fish and eggs in your diet, all are examples of foods which can contain vitamin D and some calcium as well.

Functional exercises and smart workouts

Exercise can definitely help in increasing weight loss go and give you a nice muscular formation on your tummy; not to mention the health benefits. In many cased just some exercise could be the answer for a flat firm tummy.

Well to be realistic you can get a flat tummy by losing weight but you will not get a 6 pack solely with diet only. A six pack does require working those muscles. But don’t spend hours on crunches. Functional, all-over body exercises can be more efficient in returning results and faster.

A number of studies favour short, high intensity workouts over long medium intensity aerobic workouts. These will leave you more time for relaxing as well. You can also look at our fitness articles for smart effective workouts.

Cut down on the plastic

Who eats plastic and does it contain calories? You will be surprised but no it does not contain calories. However, it does contain chemicals which they resemble oestrogen hormone in the body. These are also called environmental oestrogens and we seem to consume them through the plastic.

They are more likely to be passed in the food and drinks when plastics are heated up such as leaving something in the sun (i.e. bottle of water in the car) or placing plastic containers in the microwave. The good think is that most processed foods tend to come in plastic containers and can be cooked in the microwave, so you could stop eating them and kill 2 birds with one stone.

The thing is that these environmental oestrogens tend to promote belly fat disposition amongst other serious health issues. Unfortunately you can’t eliminate environmental oestrogens completely as they are contained in a number of things including pollution, however cutting down on the use of plastics could radically decrease the amount you consume daily.

De-stress

Stress is no 1 menace for gaining belly fat. There are two ways in which stress can add up onto your waistline. One stress tends to make you crave for sweet and calorific foods. This is part of a natural survival process which in the westernised life style is not needed as such as we are not fighting big animals or hunting for food.

Apart from craving for all the wrong things when stressed, the combination of calorific foods with the stress hormones (and other stress related processes in the body) result in storing fat in the abdominal area.

Even little things can help in lowering stress levels through the day. Try taking a small walk outside the office or the house, or some breathing techniques or even utilising your lunch break and have your lunch away from your desk. A hot bath, a chat with family or friends or a massage are all things which in the long run can help.

Have a drink

Yes it is actually good news for women, they can enjoy a drink and cut down on the waistline. The beer belly can be left with men as studies show that women who drink moderately are actually thinner than those who don’t at all. It also appears that they have lower abdominal fat.

Alcohol does contain calories and can be high in sugar so moderate consumption is what you are looking for here. Always drink responsibly and safe, and do be aware if you have any medical conditions.

Keep menopausal weight gain under control

For some women menopause is harder than others and they seem to experience signs and symptoms to a large extend. Menopause will affect the sex hormones and it can change where you store fat but in general it does not affect weight gain to a large extend. Symptoms however, can result in overeating, or night fridge raids and sweets cravings, and not to forget that with age metabolism slows down and some menopause related medications can also play a role.

Getting your doctor’s advice would be the best way forward before you try remedies and tricks and if you have any concerns with weight gain. At the same time keeping your diet in control and keeping moving is the best way forward to avoid radical weight changes.

Keep hydrated

Hormonal imbalances/changes can lead to water retention and bloating. It may be surprising but ‘water weight’ can actually make a big difference in body shape and add on the scales considerably.

The best way forward for water retention is to drink plenty of water and keep hydrated as being dehydrated can actually lead in water retention. However, do not drown your body in liquid.

In addition, be aware that drinks such as soda, sugary juices and fizzy drinks can add to your calories and make you be bloated. Opt for water, green tea and herbal teas and have less juice and preferably as little ‘fizzy’ as you can.

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Hara Hagikalfa
About the author

Hara is a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She is currently in the process of becoming a certified Physiotherapist. You can connect with her on Facebook and Google+

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lasse December 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Very great article indeed!
The part about how vitamin D and calcium can help on belly fat was a news for me.
Keep writing articles like this :)

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