For a lot of women especially this is a big focus, particularly after having children.
When I work with clients I encourage them to invest less in society’s obsession with looking a certain way, which often results in crashing low self esteem and self sabotaging behaviour. Instead we focus on getting stronger, healthier and happier and plan an appropriate food, movement and mindset plan based on the client’s specific goals.
Nevertheless it is important that we don’t carry more abdominal fat than is healthy, as it can lead to metabolic syndrome – high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes and coronary heart disease (the biggest killer in women). It’s also important to have muscle strength which serves us functionally and helps prevent injury, eg involving the back.
So what can we do reduce the mid riff weight?
- Stress management – this is HUGE, especially as we get older. The stress hormone cortisol encourages the body to store fat, so we need to reduce those levels through life laundry, meditation and relaxation;
- Fat burning cardio: yup, we need to burn some fat, no doubt about it, so anything which gets you sweaty is a good thing, HIIT training, dancing, running, cycling, whatever you enjoy;
- Weight training – this increases the metabolic rate thus helping your body to be more efficient in its functions including fat burning: body weight exercises like push ups, dumb bells, kettle balls, cables etc are all good.
- Pilates is a great way to tone your mid riff and indeed the whole body: as it focuses on strengthening the stablising muscles in harmony with the rest of the body, it improves muscle tone safely and effectively.
- Eat fat! Yes it’s true, but by this I mean good fat, avocados, seeds, nuts – but be careful with your portion control, not over the top, just little and often;
- Have your hormones checked – if you are increasingly putting on weight even though you are not eating more or training less thank usual, it may be worth asking your GP for a hormone check. Such weight gain may be caused by an underactive thyroid for example, a condition which is more common in women, and can be treated through lifestyle changes and medication.
- Avoid processed foods, fizzy drinks and simple carbs like white rice, white pasta, bread etc as they can cause blood sugar crashes which can lead to unhealthy cravings.
- It sounds boring I know but drink water – up to 2 to 3 litres a day or more if you are working out.
- Be aware of food sensitivies you may have – eg gluten or dairy, which can cause bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. Keep a food diary to see which type of food may not be serving your body.
- Keep alchohol consumption, caffeine and sugar intake low. These send us on a sugar stress roller coaster which easily can easily lead to weight gain.
- Get some sleep – if you are not getting enough sleep, your metabolism will not be able to work well, and if you feel exhausted all the time you are more likely to crave unhealthy foods and less likely to have energy for a workout. Relaxation techniques and sleep hygiene can be put in place to help you sleep better.
These strategies will all help, but it’s worth noting that it’s absolutely normal for your tummy to change shape and appearance as you get older, and that’s especially true for women who’ve had children.
Your body is the map of your life – its folds and wrinkles are evidence of adventures had, people loved and lives lived. So maybe our focus needs to shift – let’s eat well, move well and think well so that we can have greater adventures, love more and live longer. Now doesn’t that sound a lot sexier than ‘the perfect abs’?
If you want to spend time with other women who crave more of life’s adventures, then why not escape life’s hamster wheel and join us on our Funky Buddha Bliss Day? This one day wellness retreat will revive and restore you through Pilates, Dance Fitness and Meditation. I’ll also reveal to you my life changing relaxation techniques to lower cortisol levels, help you sleep better and get you off that sugar/stress weight-gain roller coaster! Our next escapade is at the magical Cowdray Hall in West Sussex on Sunday 31 January 2016. Visit www.juliawillmott.com/retreats or contact me now for information as places go fast firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to hear from you!
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