A lot of people try endless diets, weight loss programs and slimming therapies to obtain a flat stomach. A flat stomach is apparently the most sought after goal of any weight loss initiative. In order to attain a flat stomach, one needs to ensure that there is a minimum layer of fat under the skin at the abdomen. Unfortunately, a lot of measures taken by people result in the body thinking that it is starving. The body thinks that food is scarce. This results in the body trying to hold on to every ounce of fat that you have. The one place that the body holds on to fat tightly is the abdominal area.
Here are 10 reasons why you could still be having a pooch belly, even though you have been fighting tooth and nail to get rid of it.
1. Obsession with the Weight Scales – A lot of people think that obtaining a lower reading on the weight scales will result in a flatter stomach. Unfortunately, the body works in reverse. The more weight is loss, the more the body would hold on to abdominal fat. The waist to hip ratio (WHR) should be used as a measure of progress instead of the weight scales. Women should aim for a WHR of 0.7 and men for a WHR of 0.9. The closer both genders move to these numbers, the flatter the stomach gets. For further reading, please refer to “How Science Defines a Beautiful Body for Women”.
2. Dieting Without Exercise – Irrespective of the type of diet, it is impossible to get a flat stomach without exercising. A lot of people swear by the low carb diet and there is also a lot of positive publicity on the Mediterranean Diet. Diets on their own may allow someone to lose weight elsewhere on the body but never on the abdomen. You can always find women who have dieted to death and yet have a pooch belly.
3. Exercise Without Diet Consideration – A lot of people think that they can eat what ever they want just because they exercise. While exercising increases your metabolic rate and therefore increases your body’s caloric needs, there is still a limit to it. Excess calories over and beyond what your body needs, will be stored as fat.
4. Exercise focused on the abdominal muscles – Most people get more than enough exercise for their abdominal muscles. In fact, they over-exercise the abdominal muscles and leave out other parts of the core. This results in muscle imbalances. Strengthening one set of muscles while ignoring another, is setting one up for injuries. Strong abdominal muscles must be balanced by strong lower back muscles. The best sort of exercises are resistance exercises that focus on the large muscles groups. These include exercises that work the leg, buttock and back muscles.
5. Using Weight Loss Drugs – Most weight loss drugs work either to suppress the appetite or block the absorption of fat. Neither will help in the long run. Suppressing the appetite does not prevent your body from going into starvation mode. Fat blockers can also get messy as these results in oily stools amongst it’s many side-effects. Furthermore, someone could never be on these drugs for too long and would eventually get off it. Using drugs will not instill the discipline and the habits required to maintain weight loss in the long term. Although drugs may induce weight loss, it can never yield a flat and lean stomach.
6. Consumption of alcohol – Alcohol puts a stop to fat metabolism. A lot of people try to unsuccessfully lose abdominal fat by consuming alcohol. Some people claim to be able to carry a “6-pack” without cutting down on their drinks. I ma sure there are such people out there but these are what you would call “outliers”. These people lie on the extreme end of the bell curve. For further information on the effects of alcohol on weight loss please read “Alcohol’s Effects on Weight Loss“. The bottom line is that if you yearn for a flat stomach, keep away from alcohol until you achieve your goal.
7. Overemphasis on Cardio Type Exercises – Cardio type exercises must compliment resistance exercises. Cardio exercises will not yield a flat stomach on its own. The base of your exercise regime must be resistance exercises that work the large muscle groups. This could be done up to 3 times a week. Cardio exercises can be slotted in on the other non-resistance exercise days. For further information, please read “How To Make Jogging Work for Weight Loss” and “Why Steady State Jogging is a Losing Battle for Weight Loss“.
8. Weak Transverse Abdominis (TVA) Muscles – The TVA muscles essentially help in holding the contents of your abdomen firmly in place. This includes the organs and the intestines. Weak TVA muscles result in the contents of your abdomen to protrude. For more information on how you can easily strengthen the TVA muscle, please read “1 Very Easy Exercise You Could Do to Get a Tighter Waist“.
9. Skipping Breakfast – A lot of people do not have time for breakfast. As a result, breakfast for most people consists of a cup of coffee at the most. Research has shown that skipping breakfast can increase abdominal fat storage. For further information, please read “Breakfast Sippers Beware. You Could Be Increasing Abdominal Fat Storage“.
10. Using diurectics – Diuretics simply remove water from your body. It does result in weight loss but this is off no benefit as the weight loss comes from the loss of water. Diuretics have no effect on the fat stored at the abdomen. When someone gets off diuretics, the body overcompensates on water storage. Being in a dehydrated state, the body stores more water than it needs. The weight comes back with a vengeance .