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By Tallulah Ray
Gaining extra weight can be detrimental to your health and to your self-esteem, especially if your body has trouble getting that extra weight off. One of the most troublesome areas for a woman is her midsection. Some of us have a belly pouch, others get love handles (or a “muffin-top”), but most of us get both. Of the body parts that tend to bloat up and hold on to that extra fat, our midsections are the most common.
So how do you get rid of that stubborn fat? How do you get rid of those love handles? Well, I’d love to give you a magic remedy…
“Legs of frog and eye of newt,
Here’s to getting into that bathing suit!”
…but the only real remedy for getting rid of those love handles, is to eat right and be active. Also, keep in mind that there’s no such thing as “targeting one body part”. You can’t just lose weight in one area; it is a whole body process.
EATING GREAT TO LOSE WEIGHT
What to eat:
Melanie Milletics from the Body By Vi Challenge suggests that you “center your diet around eating clean food. Steer clear from fast food or anything processed, only choosing foods that are whole, healthy and fresh. As easy guideline to follow is simply – Protein is your friend, sugar is your enemy, and you can eat all of the vegetables you can handle! If you focus your menu on the items you can buy fresh from the outside aisles of the grocery store, you will be in the ‘clean food zone’.”
Dietician Alison Massey agrees that getting back to whole foods and plant-based eating is the best and healthiest way to lose weight. She also suggests that you use a food journal to record what you’re eating. You don’t necessarily need to count calories (though a healthy woman in her mid-thirties should be eating around 1200-1500 calories a day – depending on what your physician says); you need to look at the overall quality of food, portion size, food servings, and where you may be getting your extra calories from. Consider keeping a photo food journal if you’re not big into writing.
When you go out:
It is easier to control portion sizes and ingredients when you are eating at home but eating at home all of the time would get boring and a bit tedious. However, when you eat out, the portion sizes are huge. So what can you do when you’re out having dinner with friends? Massey suggests that you order a half-size, share your dinner with a friend, or order an appetizer and a side salad.
GETTING UP AND GETTING ACTIVE
Exercise Routine #1
Fitnet (fitnet.com) Trainer Laurie Maddox suggests this great workout. Her program describes each workout by strength, cardio or mind/body. She has created a template to help you create your own workout below. If it says “strength 1-3”, complete one to three of your favorite strength workouts on that day.
Monday: Strength 1 – 3
Tuesday: Cardio 1-4
Wednesday: Strength 1-2, Mind/Body 1-2
Thursday: Cardio 1-4
Friday: Strength 1-3
Saturday: Mind/Body 1-4
Sunday: OFF DAY
Exercise Routine #2
If you’re looking for a more intense workout, try this 20 minute workout from Minna Herksowitz (a certified personal trainer through the National Federation of Professional Trainers and a sports nutritionist), owner of Sandbox Fitness:
3 minute warm up just walking or high knees in place for 1 minute, then 2 minutes of dynamic stretching.
4 sets of 8 exercises for 20 seconds each and 10 second break.
- jumping jacks
- push ups
- mountain climbers
- squat jumps
- plank jacks
- side lunges
- speed skaters
- bicycle crunches
Then a 2 minute cool down walk and 1 minute of static stretching.
Exercise Routine #3:
Jen Jewell (a certified celebrity and personal trainer, fitness model, athlete, and Fitness Pro) suggests these great exercises to strengthen your core, abs, obliques, and lower back. She does each exercise 3 – 4 times a week.
Plank Punches: Begin in elevated plank position, weight resting on your hands. Maintain a neutral spine and then extend your right arm forward in a “punch” motion, then place the right hand back down. Extend the left arm up and forward in the punch position and then place the left hand back down again as well. Repeat this, alternating punches right to left until 10-15 repetitions have been done on each side.
Side plank hip lifts: Get into side plank position with your elbow on the ground and your legs and hips resting on the ground. Engaging your abs and keeping your body in a straight line, raise the lower half of your body up off the ground into a straight plank position. Lower again and repeat. Do 15 on your right side, and then 15 on your left side.
“Bicycle” crunch: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and contract your core muscles. With your hands gently holding your head, lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly, at first, go through a bicycle pedal motion. Alternately touching your elbows to the opposite knees as you twist back and forth. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise. Aim for 30 seconds per set, 3-4 sets.
Superman core exercise: Lie flat on the floor, face down. Extend your arms out in front of you, keeping arms slightly bent. Use your lower back muscles to lift your chest off of the floor, extending arms forward. Be careful to not lift your chest more than 8 inches off the floor, as we want to strengthen, not strain, your lower back muscles. Hold position for 30 seconds, working your way up to one full minute for each set.
Here are some everyday tips to work into your daily routine.
“The Kitchen Vixen” Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD, CPT, CDE “As always, engage in at least 30 minutes of activity on a daily basis.”
Melanie Milletics, Body By Vi Challenge, “Workouts that include squats, lunges, planks and pushups are all powerful metabolic boosters that will keep your inner furnace burning, and you slim!
Laurie Maddox, Fitnet Trainer, “You want your diet to consist of nutrient dense foods (vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats) and avoid processed or sugary foods when possible.”
Jenni Kenyon, Personal Trainer “High intensity cardio twice per week in addition to a regular strength training program is the best way to blast that fat.”
Jen Jewell, celebrity trainer and professional athlete, “The best type of approach to diet and nutrition is one that is balanced and realistic. None of the drastic, crash-dieting options that are out there on late night infomercials or on the cover of tabloid magazines are going to be healthy or effective for the long run.”