We did a poll recently and apparently the one result that most women want out of weight loss is a flat stomach. This holds true even for women who are not over weight. A flat stomach is simple to attain but it’s not easy. Its simple to attain because it can be attained by some very simple steps. But why is it not easy? This is because these simple steps defy common sense. Before we tell you what you should do, here is a list of 5 things you must not do if you want a flat stomach
Don’t Go Overboard with Diets
While its true that you need to reduce your calories but this should not be done via extreme dieting. It is logical that the body should shrink if you reduce the amount of food that you consume. Well the body is anything but a logical machine. Everyone has a maintenance calories level at which the amount of food that you eat will neither cause you to put on weight or lose weight. Reducing your maintenance calories level by more than 10% will result in your body thinking that there is a famine out there. The body thinks that food is scarce and that it must hold on to your fat stores even more tightly. Once the starvation response has been activated, you can kiss the flat stomach good bye. The idea is to reduce calories gradually and not shock the body. In weight loss and to attain a flat stomach, slow is fast and fast is slow. I have never seen a single woman who has dieted her way to a flat stomach. It just will not happen as you will be fighting your body tooth and nail.
Don’t Skip Exercise
Exercise is essential for a flat stomach. Unfortunately, skipping exercise is one path that a lot of people take. This is the biggest mistake. Exercise is required to boost your metabolic rate. In the analogy of a car, imagine that you were born with a 5 litre fat burning engine. Now everyone knows that a 5 litre engine is a fuel guzzler. Along the way, with age and dieting, your 5 litre engine could be running at 10% or 20% efficiency. That’s like running a 1 litre engine! Someone at optimum metabolic rate could be burning 5 times more fat than someone who has a sluggish metabolism. Exercise helps to increase your fat burning ability. It revs up your metabolic rate to a purring 5 litre fat guzzling monster.
Don’t Make Cardio Exercise the Centerpiece of Your Exercise Regime
Cardio exercises are excellent for your health. There are tremendous health benefits such as helping to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and enhancing brain health but it does very little for a flat stomach. Your exercise regime should focus on weight resistance exercises. Only do cardio if you still have time for it after doing your resistance exercises. See my earlier 3 articles that describe this in more details;
- “Jogging – The losing battle to fight weight loss”
- “Why jogging is a losing battle for weight loss”
- “Swimming – Another losing battle for weight loss”
Don’t Do Spot Exercises
Spot training is one of the most common mistake made in an attempt to have a flat stomach. The logic is that if you continue to do sit-ups or other abdominal exercises, these muscles will burn the fat in the abdominal area. This will never happen. In fact the body works in the opposite. Doing hundreds of sit-ups will actually make your stomach larger. Fat is stored in your body in layers. It must be burnt off a layer at a time. Imagine peeling off the layers of an onion. Fat burns off in the same way. So you could be doing lots of situps and burning fat in your arms! You cannot control where fat is burnt. But you can control where you build muscles. Doing lots of situps will strengthen and enlarge your abdominal muscles. This will push out the fat layer thus giving the impression of a bulging stomach. Take your abs trainer and throw it into the trash. The models in the late night advertisements that promote these ridiculous machines never used them to get their physiques. For more details, read “Weight Loss Myths – Spot Training”.
Don’t go for Quick Fixes
A lot of people go for quick fixes such as herbal teas, fat burning pills, carb blockers, fat blockers, slimming therapies. As I have said it before, fat must be burnt. You can’t make it vanish by “beaming it up” as in a Star trek movie. Neither can you piss it out. For those of you who are still in doubt of the usefullness of quick fix schemes, please read an earlier article entitled “When You Lose Fat, Where Does It Go?” Quick fixes only result in water loss or weight loss. The weight almost always comes back with a vengeance. If there was a quick fix, Oprah would have found it by now.
A flat stomach is only achievable via correct weight loss. Correct weight loss is where you burn fat while sustaining or building on your muscles. This provides you shape, posture and a flat stomach.