Both the torsion plank exercise (right) and the side plank build core strength.
I just had a baby, so obviously I'm obsessed with belly fat. Holy cow, is it ever taking forever for my abdomen to go down. I look like Humpty Dumpty.
I guess it's normal. But gut chub is not the sort of fat you want hanging around.
Belly fat - the kind that packs itself around your organs - can cause serious health problems, even dramatically increasing your risk of mortality.
It's not just a question of food and exercise. Stress can also contribute to the bulk around your midsection.
So cut the carbs and take it easy.
That's my plan.
What the experts say
"Take a probiotic supplement. Research completed at the department of genomic sciences at the University of Washington found increased fat storage in rats that lacked probiotics. Keep stress levels balanced. Elevated levels of stress hormone (cortisol) can increase abdominal fat. Relora is found to be effective in keeping stress hormone levels balanced. Take one on rising and two before bed. At least six days a week, skip sugar completely and choose to eat low-glycemic carbohydrates to keep insulin levels low. The so-called good carbs" or complex carbs are converted into sugar in much smaller amounts and at a much slower rate than their not so good counterparts. Complex carbs contain more fibre than their bad cousins and, as a result, spark less of an insulin release."
naturopath, author, The Hormone Diet,
"There are the two main core exercises I would start with. One is the side plank. Lift your hips forward and up in one motion and hold. Increase the hold by five seconds each time till you reach 70 seconds on each side. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders and ankles. The second is the torsion plank: your hands are underneath your chest, thumbs touching, and your feet are twice your shoulder-width apart. Lift one hand and touch the opposite elbow, and hold for two seconds, then alternate with the other hand. Perform this while squeezing glutes and abs. As you progress, walk your hands out and put your feet closer together. Perform two to three times weekly."
fitness and nutrition expert,
‘‘A study at the University of Michigan found that when rats were fed a diet containing blueberries over a three-month period, they showed a significant reduction in abdominal fat. A recent study also found that when obese adults consumed half a grapefruit or 4 ounces of 100 per cent grapefruit juice before meals, they experienced a significant decrease in body weight and waist circumference. This may be due to the high water content of the grapefruit helping individuals feel satisfied. Grapefruit contains diuretic properties, helping you shed unwanted water weight. Chia seeds are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to regulate stress hormones, meaning you start to store less belly fat. Diets rich in dairy have been shown to be effective in reducing body fat, especially in the midsection. These findings may be in part due to calcium's crucial role in regulating how fat is stored and broken down by the body."
registered dietitian, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies,
Vernon, New Jersey
"We found that even in people with a normal body mass index (BMI, your weight-to-height ratio) but with fat located in their belly area, the risk of cardiovascular death was almost three times higher, compared with people with a normal BMI and normal waist-to-hip ratio. Most people think a good BMI is reassuring, but it shouldn't be. People also need to get their waist-to-hip ratio. Even if their body weight is within normal limits, they still need to do these measurements."
KARINE SAHAKYAN, professor of medicine,
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
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