Those of you who have had a baby know that getting that flat tummy back after pregnancy is no easy task. I've been doing a lot of research on how to whittle my middle, battle the bulge, say goodbye to the gut, banish the jelly belly. Whichever alliteration you prefer, it all means the same thing. Get a tight tummy. I came up with some pretty good tips that I wanted to pass a long. These work for everybody, not just new mommas!
1- Eat oatmeal and apples
A study done a few years ago of 90,000 people found that those who eat at least 10 grams of fiber a day, (especially those found in whole grains), had waists 3 inches smaller than those who ate little fiber. For the most benefit, get 25-30 grams a day. I knew oatmeal was a good source, but did you know apples are also a good source of soluble fiber? I didn't!
2- Drink Orange Juice
A recent Harvard study makes the case for Vitamin D and calcium as weight loss aids. Researchers gave one group 3 daily glasses of OJ containing calcium and vitamin D, while another group drank the same amount of unfortified OJ each day. After 4 weeks, vitamin D and calcium group lost nearly 10 times as much belly fat as those who drank regular juice. If you don't want to consume all those calories from 3 glasses of OJ, take a daily supplement with 450 IU of vitamin D, and 1,500 milligrams of calcium. Of course your standard dairy products provide lots of calcium! (just make them low fat or fat free)
3-No trans fats
Research shows that trans fats (found in margarine, and lots of baked goods and salty snacks) may prompt the creation of particular fat cells that tend to migrate toward the middle. Avoid any food that has hydrogenated (even partially) oils.
4- Chill out
When you are stressed you produce more of the hormone cortisol. When you eat it triggers insulin. Dr. Claire Wheeler who is an instructor at Portland State University's School of Community Health (thats a mouthful!) says"When these hormones are elevated they work together to store extra calories consumed in the form of belly fat." So try relaxing for a few minutes before meal time. A trick I found super helpful? Put my gadgets away. Easier said then done, but checking emails, usually isn't very relaxing. Not only will it help you relax, but you won't be distracted, so you'll be able to focus on eating and know when you are feeling full, and when its time to stop, rather than just mindlessly shoveling food in your mouth.
Lets move on to making those abs stronger. There are thousands of different ab exercises out there. All of them are good, but why not get more bang for your buck? Many researches suggest that the Bicycle Crunch tops the list of the most effective core exercises.
We all know how to do that right?
Lying down with your hands behind your head, knees at a 45 degree angle, extend one leg then the other in a slow pedaling motion, touching your right elbow to your left knee. And vice-versa. If you do 2 or 3 sets of 15 reps, at least every other day, you'll be only our way to a thinner middle.
If you don't like the crunch approach, try doing the Wood Chop.
This is a great standing exercise to work the core, but avoids pressure on the spine that you get from a lot of floor ab exercises.
To do the wood chop, hold a medicine ball (or weights) to one side overhead, then lower to your opposite side while squatting; return in a very controlled motion back to starting position. Do 2 or 3 sets of 10-15 reps, at least every other day to start seeing a difference.
So you've starting working on making those abs stronger, but don't forget to burn off the fat that is covering those chiseled babies. Someone I know, (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are!) always says she has rock hard, sexy abs, you just can't see them. Don't forget the cardio to melt away fat!
You know the drill: at least 30-40 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.
If you're tired of the treadmill, switch it up!
A great way to work your core but still burn tons of calories: swim laps. Swimming trains the entire body, but relies heavily on the core and shapes and sculpts your ab muscles. Need proof?
Check our Dara Torres, olympic swimmer.
Wouldn't mind having that toned tummy! And would you look at that? She gets her calcium too. Dara must be on to something.
These are some of the tips that I've found helpful as I continue on my journey to "Bring Sexy Back". I hope you find them helpful too!
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