According to studies by Web MD, of all the anatomical parts in a woman’s body, it’s her middle that gives her the greatest amount of frustration and anxiety. If a woman is carrying an extra 10 or more pounds, she’ll feel anguish over the muffin top she sees every time she pops into her jeans. Women over 40 have a greater tendency to pack on the belly weight as they course through their perimenopausal years and beyond.
It’s time to deal with this bountiful belly. It’s time to change. Here are the three steps to get you started and on your way to whittling your waist.
Visualize your reward. Close your eyes and see yourself without the bigger belly. What do you look like? What are you wearing? How much lighter do you feel? How much more energy do you have? How proud will you be when your doctor marvels at your accomplishment and you can take fewer medications or perhaps get rid of them all! If you have any trouble with the reward, think about what gives you joy in life. Make a joy list. Are you holding back on any item because your belly’s in the way? Feeling bad about your body and not going dancing? Can’t bend over to do your gardening the way you like to because there’s a belly in the way? Keep working at this until you can come up with a joy that can be turned into a reward that can power you through to your goal.
Remember the big three. Pay attention to the quality and quantity of your foods, as well as the frequency of your meals and snacks. Quality means you’re concentrating on consuming whole foods (veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins). It also means you’re eating real foods, and not processed foods. Real foods also mean eating high quality fats, carbs, and proteins. Nuts, pumpkin seeds, avocados, natural peanut or almond butter, edamame, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and olives are just a few examples of these key foods.
Also, research has shown that when you incorporate REAL FOODS in your diet, you’ll decrease your belly fat load. Frequency means you’ll eat every three to four hours from breakfast through dinner. In the best of worlds, you’ll lighten up dinner and finish by 8 p.m. The later you eat, the easier it is to pack on the belly. Lighten it up and eat earlier. Wake up hungry and ready for your “breakfast”!
Work your body. A good way to streamline your belly is a combination of cardio + weight lifting + core work. Mix it up and cross train with other activities (treadmill, outdoors, elliptical, rower, biking indoors and outdoors, jump roping, brisk walking, hiking, etc). It’s great to get in some kind of cardio every day, but be sure to work it into your schedule at least four to five times week. Also remember simple Pilates mat work to achieve a maximal benefit. Yoga and Pilates are great to integrate into your program to provide a fulfilling mind and body experience.
Here are three final belly-blasting rules.
1. What you do from 3 p.m. on will determine your girth size. This is the time of day when women start to lose it. Make sure you have a planned mid-afternoon snack (fruit; carrots and hummus; protein shake). This will control your appetite at dinner. Be careful not to overeat at dinner. Watch out for after dinner eating and don’t snack on ice cream and cookies after dinner!
2. Waking up hungry in the morning is a good sign that you did not overeat the night before. The key is to use your sleep as a semi fast time. You don’t want food in your stomach during the two hours or more before you go to bed. If you do wake up hungry, I’ll guarantee your belly will feel flatter in the morning.
3. For a flatter belly, get seven to eight hours of restful sleep. It’s a fact that women who do not get enough sleep have more trouble losing weight. Sleep deprived women also tend to have less healthy diets and spend fewer hours of workout time weekly.