or are you stuck with it for life?
A question I get asked a lot is, ‘How do I get a flatter stomach?’
For a lot of women, especially, this is a big focus, particularly after having children.
When I work with clients I encourage them to invest less in society’s obsession with looking a certain way, which often results in crashing low self esteem and self sabotaging behaviour. Instead we focus on getting stronger, healthier and happier and plan an appropriate food, movement and mindset plan based on the client’s specific goals.
Nevertheless, it is important that we don’t carry more abdominal fat than is healthy, as it can lead to metabolic syndrome – high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease (the biggest killer in women). It’s also important to have muscle strength which serves us functionally and helps prevent injury e.g. those involving the back.
So, what can we do to reduce the midriff weight?
Fat Burning Cardio
Yup, we need to burn some fat. No doubt about it. So, anything which gets you sweaty is a good thing. HIIT training, dancing, running, cycling, whatever you enjoy.
This increases the metabolic rate, thus helping your body to be more efficient in its functions, including fat burning. Body weight exercises, like push ups, dumb bells, kettle balls, cables etc. are all good.
Pilates is a great way to tone your midriff and indeed the whole body. It focuses on strengthening the stablising muscles in harmony with the rest of the body and improves muscle tone safely and effectively.
Yes it’s true! But, by this I mean good fat, avocados, seeds, nuts. Be careful with your portion control. Don’t go over the top; just little and often.
If you are increasingly putting on weight, even though you are not eating more or training less than usual, it may be worth asking your GP for a hormone check. Such weight gain may be caused, for example, by an underactive thyroid; a condition that is more common in women and can be treated through lifestyle changes and medication.
Avoid Certain Foods
Processed foods, fizzy drinks and simple carbs, like white rice, white pasta, bread etc. can cause blood sugar crashes, which can lead to unhealthy cravings.
It sounds boring, I know, but it is so important to drink water. Aim for up to 2 to 3 litres a day, or more if you are working out.
Be aware of any food sensitivities you may have e.g. gluten or dairy, which can cause bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. Keep a food diary to see which type of food may not be serving your body.
Too much of any of these can send us on a sugar stress roller coaster, which can easily lead to weight gain.
Get Some Sleep
If you are not getting enough sleep, your metabolism will not be able to work well and if you feel exhausted all the time, you are more likely to crave unhealthy foods and less likely to have energy for a workout. Relaxation techniques and sleep hygiene can be put in place to help you sleep better.
These strategies will all help, but it’s worth noting that it’s absolutely normal for your tummy to change shape and appearance as you get older and that’s especially true for women who’ve had children.
Your body is the map of your life.
Its folds and wrinkles are evidence of adventures had, people loved and lives lived.
So, maybe our focus needs to shift?
Let’s eat well, move well and think well so that we can have greater adventures, love more and live longer.
Now, doesn’t that sound a lot sexier than ‘the perfect abs’?
Contact number: 07786 550873
Julia Willmott is available for interviews and photos available are on request.
For a detailed description of how to perform the featured abs moves from the images above, both correctly and safely, please check out Julia’s Abs Blast blog post here!