Crunches Will Not Burn Belly Fat!

Mid adult woman exercising

By Barbara Bishop

OK, so I’m three weeks into my “get rid of the belly fat resolution.” It’s going ok, I’ve know I’ve lost a little because my clothes are looser. But I have a long way to go. I needed to know the best way to get rid of it, once and for all.

Web MD to the rescue! The site was able to provide tips on how to effectively lose belly fat. And it’s not crunches or working out like a maniac for hours (thank god).

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Get More Fiber

You don’t have to eat a bag of Grandma’s prunes. Web MD recommends that leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and beans are all good for keeping away the fat that stays deep in your belly. That’s called visceral fat, and it’s the most dangerous kind because it can wrap around major organs, including your liver, pancreas, and kidneys. I now bring little packs of nuts to the office, and add beans to my salads for dinner. And I actually like my grandma’s prunes!

Smart Exercise

Still trying to “burn off” that belly fat by pounding the pavement for hour upon hour? Yes, I was. And I hated it. But research shows that a few quick bursts of high-intensity exercise – such as a 30-second sprint or intense pull-up set – may be more effective, and easier to fit into your schedule. You can add bursts of higher intensity to any workout. Just speed up or work harder for a brief time, then drop back to a more-mellow pace, and repeat. This I can do while I am walking my dog. I’m also going to an interval walking class.

Sleep: The Key to Weight Loss or Weight Gain

If you get less than 5 hours of sleep that may mean that you have more belly fat. But too much sleep – more than 8 hours – can do that, too. “Just right” seems to be around 6-8 hours. I don’t think have a problem here.

But I found out that If you tend to toss and turn, (check) try to go to bed a little earlier (check), relax before bedtime, (check) keep your bedroom cool (check). Try not to text and email right before you turn in – uh-oh, I fall asleep my my laptop and/or cellphone. Hard habit to break for me. I fall asleep e-mailing.

Forget a ‘Quick Fix’

Sorry, but cosmetic surgery isn’t the solution here. Liposuction doesn’t reach inside the abdominal wall. So it can’t get rid of visceral belly fat. Likewise, crash diets aren’t the solution, either. You’re too likely to go off them. The slower, steadier option – lifestyle changes that you can commit to for a long time – really is the best bet. I have not turned to surgery (yet) for my belly fat, but I have gone on crash diets. They have always worked for me; but then I ended up later gaining all the weight back – and then some – when I went off of the diet. Shit.

Control The Stress!

Are you stressed out? Uh yeah, I am! Web MD says that can make you eat more fat and sugar, and unleash the “stress hormone” cortisol, which can boost belly fat. Do lemon ice bars count?

Stress also can make you sleep less, exercise less, and drink more alcohol – which can add belly fat, too. It’s a great reason to take up meditation, work out, listen to music you love, or find other healthy ways to unwind and relax. How about meditation with a Grey Goose Martini?

Don’t Smoke

Smoking makes you more likely to store fat in your belly, rather than your hips and thighs. Oh, and it’s also a cause of diabetes. And cancer. And heart disease. And lung disease. Ok, who the wise guy that told me if you smoke, you can stay thinner? Thank god I didn’t listen…It’s a nasty habit.

Lift Weights

Think about hitting the gym instead of the trail. In one study, healthy middle-aged women who did 20 minutes of daily weight training gained less abdominal fat than women who spent the same time doing aerobic exercises, such as biking. In addition, once and for all, lifting weights will not make women bulky! Time to get a trainer. Again.

Crunches are good for you, but won’t melt that stubborn fat.
Photo: Thinkstock

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