Ask the Coach


How can I lose belly fat?

Everyone has some belly fat, even people with flat stomachs. Fat under the abdominal muscles is more dangerous to your health than fat that is deposited on top. People who do not exercise and eat a low nutrient diet can have belly fat too. Fat does not just sit around it makes lots of nasty substances. If you are a female, your waist measurement should not exceed 35 inches and 40 for a male. There are four steps for beating body fat: physical activity, diet, sleep and stress management. It is not possible to spot reduce fat from one specific area. You gain and lose fat from all areas. Adding more abdominal work will firm the muscles underneath the layer of fat, but it will take diet and physical activity to burn the fat from the top. This will reveal the muscles underneath. Vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes every day will help reduce body fat. Add in some strength training to increase your muscle mass, which burns calories for you 24/7. Add at least 10 grams of fiber a day to your diet, 25 is suggested. People who get at least 10 grams have less belly fat. Getting six to seven hours of sleep consistently is preferred over five, for reduced body fat. How you handle stress affects your body fat levels. You should meditate, pray, yoga, Tai Chi or see a therapist. If time is an issue, exercise helps burn calories and aides in managing stress levels. Losing belly fat requires that you move more than you eat. The movement must be vigorous, and the diet must be rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. Drink plenty of water, and get your rest.
I want to avoid putting on holiday weight this year. What are some preventive measures I can take to avoid packing on those pounds? 

Experts say that to avoid holiday weight gain, plan to handle all the high-calorie temptations at this time of year. Weigh yourself once a week. Stick to your vigorous exercise plan throughout the holidays. This can help combat the added calories consumed. The average weight gain in our area is 5-8 lbs. Practice positive self-help talk by making a list of all the reasons you want to lose weight and read it daily, especially before a party or social engagement. Keep the list in the notes on your phone so it is accessible anywhere. You must rehearse your reasons for wanting to prevent weight gain. Reduce calories in your own recipes. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to what’s in your hand and what you are putting on your plate. Eat before you go. Do not go hungry! Skip seconds. Set limits on what you will be indulging in at the party or event. Stick to your plan. Just say “no” to food pushers and keep saying it. Be firm and you don’t have to explain. Don’t let yourself focus on the food. Choose any of the healthy options and the smallest plate. If you put it on your plate it doesn’t mean you have to eat it. If you want to have alcohol, I suggest wine, lite beer or a liquor with a diet mixer. Stay focused, exercise your plan and skip the holiday bulge!

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