We also want to caveat that while it’s normal to have goals linked to physical appearance, if you’re looking for a quick fix or setting unattainable goals based on others’ bodies, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure down the line. If you approach your weight loss efforts by prioritizing your internal health first, you’re much more likely to see the lasting external results you’re looking for along with tons of other benefits like more energy, better sleep, improved mood and a longer, happier life. We like to think of a slimmer waistline or flatter stomach as the added bonus to all that other goodness. So, we encourage you to think about how you’re framing your goals, then give this article a read for solid, no-B.S. advice on how to achieve them.
“The way that I lost my baby weight is doing P90x, Insanity and PiYo at the YMCA—they all have a great system of cardio and plyometrics. The reps are low and the intensity level is high, so when I finish one rep I feel so accomplished to do the rest. I would keep telling myself to do one more. It also helps to have a great instructor; my instructor would literally do the work with you. That’s what makes me want to do more. I am now at a level that I can keep up with our group instructor, which is amazing. I haven’t felt this alive in a long time. I’m a vegetarian, and we love our carbs, so that was a bit hard, especially after doing cardio. You feel like you’re starving. I cut the carbs—no bread and pasta—and just added more vegetables and cold pressed juices to get extra vitamins in my body. I snack when I’m hungry on cashews and peanuts, and hydrate with water as much as I can.”
Ah! The difference between what you are describing and what I encourage is the concept of the occasional treat. I really mean occasional treat. That can mean different things to different people, but generally should mean that MOST of the time, one is sticking to one’s healthful diet. But even if one indulges in a weeklong all-you-can-eat cruise, one should still be able to forgive oneself and move on, pick up where they left off, or progress will not occur.
If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
Want a flatter stomach in two seconds? Stand up straight! Slouching emphasizes belly rolls but straightening your spine elongates your whole body, making you look taller and sleeker. Want to go even flatter for a picture? Use the old modeling trick and arch your back slightly—this will pull your skin tighter across your stomach while moving it farther away from the camera, making it look slightly smaller. Yeah, it’s a temporary fix but good posture offers many health benefits beyond looking good.
Very low levels of thyroid hormone usually indicate an autoimmune reaction to the thyroid gland itself. This means you’ll have to take thyroid hormone supplements orally, usually the stable form T4 (Levaxin), which your doctor can prescribe for you. Your body will transform this into the active T3 hormone when necessary. The supplement dose should be adjusted so that you reach normal hormone levels (TSH, T3, T4) and sufficiently alleviate symptoms – though a few people feel best when keeping TSH slightly below normal.
If it all feels a little bit 90s, that’ll be because this was basically the diet that kept Rachel from Friends looking, well, like Rachel from Friends. Think of it as the 20th-century version of no carbs before Marbs. Thankfully though, the old premise of each as much as you want, as long as you don’t go near a carb, has had a makeover. The New Atkins diet reintroduces carbs in phases.
Make your own. It’s easy! From one 14-ounce can of no-salt-added cannelini beans, spoon out 2 tablespoons of beans. Puree the rest. In a medium nonstick pot, sauté 5 cloves of chopped garlic until translucent. Add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 1 head of escarole, chopped, or a package of frozen chopped spinach. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add pureed beans, red pepper flakes and black pepper, to taste, and cook 1 minute longer. Garnish with the beans you spooned out plus, if you desire, a little chopped red bell pepper. Refrigerate or freeze what you don’t eat for easy soup prep for a future lunch or dinner.
But just because belly fat comes off a bit more easily doesn’t make it less dangerous. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. “Belly fat is unfortunately the most dangerous location to store fat,” says Dr. Cheskin. Because belly fat—also known as visceral fat, or the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs—is more temporary, it’s more active in terms of circulating in the bloodstream. That means it’s likely to raise the amount of fat in your blood (known as blood lipid levels) and increase your blood sugar levels, which as a result raises your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Lisa began Workout Mommy in 2007. Back then, she was a busy mom of two who found out that continuing her pre-motherhood commitment to health and fitness wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Now a single mother of four, she admits it’s even hard to find the time to commit to fitness. She writes her blog to inspire others to make that time, and holds herself accountable for finding it as well. Visit the blog.