[By Fiona Li]
Rule one: forget the sit-ups. Rule two: don’t starve yourself. Rule three: no corset required… it’s time to take a less punishing route to a flatter stomach and healthier heart.
Here’s how you can tone your tummy killing yourself with brutal exercise routines.
Coolscupting is a cutting-edge, non-invasive body shaping treatment that uses the scientific principle of “Cryolipolysis” to break down unwanted fat cells. “Coolsculpting makes use of cold to diminish fat cells in the body, thus improving the body’s contour. The body responds with an inflammatory reaction that causes the body to dispose of the broken down fat cells” says Dr Toby Hui of The Sloane Clinic. Dr Toby lists Coolsculpting as one of the most sought after procedure at The Sloane Clinic at Marina Bay sands, Singapore. With a 20% reduction of the fatty layer is seen after each session, it’s not hard to see why!
#2 Eat carbs at dinner
While conventional wisdom has dictated that people looking to lose weight should stick to lean proteins for their late-day meal, a recent study suggests that people reconsider their evening carb fears.
The key may be to sticking to carbs for dinner — and for just that meal. Inspired by Muslims’ eating patterns during Ramadan — fasting during the day, carb-heavy celebratory meals at night, researchers from Hebrew University wondered what would happen if other populations saved their starchy meals for nighttime.
Professor Zecharia Madar, chief scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Education, conducted a small six-month study, ordering 78 police officers to follow this “Ramadan-style” diet or to eat healthfully, but with their carbohydrates spread through out all three meals.
Madar’s team examined the regimen’s on the secretion of three obesity-related hormones: leptin, the satiety hormone; ghrelin, the hunger hormone; and adiponectin, which plays a key role in regulating glucose.
It was a win — for the Ramadan dieters, who’s body chemistry responded postively to eating their carbs for dinner.
#3 Avoid bloating
Much of your paunchy belly is nothing but trapped wind – and a good deal of the rest is solid food and liquid that’s loitering in your abdomen. The answer is not a dangerous detox plan. Instead, it’s wholesome food prepared in simple, delicious ways. Dieticians found that they could beat the bloat with a few small changes such as “drinking lots of water, trading my crisp, fresh apple for a few, less bulky dried figs and swapping peanuts for milder pumpkin or sunflower seeds”.
Avoiding the bloat is all about treating your gut with respect. Here’s how to do it:
- Eat slowly to avoid swallowing air
- Cut out fizzy drinks; where do you think the bubbles go?
- Be aware of the impact of particular foods: pulses, dried fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, peppers and citrus fruits are more likely to create wind in your gut
- Reduce your salt intake; this makes you retain more fluid, contributing to a sluggish feeling, a puffy appearance and extra weight
- Avoid raw vegetables: a 60g serving of cooked carrots delivers the same nutrition as 115g raw but takes up less room. If you eat only cooked vegetables, tinned fruits in natural juices and unsweetened dry fruit, you’ll meet your nutrient needs without expanding your stomach with extra volume
- Don’t chew gum. It makes you swallow air and that gets trapped in your stomach, causing bloating and belly expansion
- Avoid fried food, which you can only digest slowly, causing you to feel bloated
- Eat regularly, and avoid erratic eating habits. Long gaps between meals, smoking and drinking alcohol or coffee on an empty stomach will make your bloating worse.
#4 Cut out bread
People who avoid bread, even temporarily, tend to be dismissed as victims of media hype who are at risk of missing out on a convenient source of important nutrients.
There’s little independent research to assess the impact of bread on health, even though modern commercial baking methods are clearly problematic, according to the organic baker Andrew Whitley, founder of the Village Bakery and the author of the book Bread Matters. He says that many of the “anti-staling” enzymes that are added to dough to keep bread soft after baking and to extend shelf-life are not normally consumed as food. No wonder many people have a gut feeling that modern bread makes them bloated!
#5 Get core stability
A saggy belly is a side effect of poorly functioning core muscles. So don’t bother with crunches – they don’t target abdominal muscles, says Tim Ho, a Hong Kong based personal trainer. Instead, combine aerobic exercise – half hour of fast walking every day, for instance – with a “belly-centric” workout that targets the body’s natural corset, the muscles that spread around the waist and, together with the pelvic floor and diaphragm, make up your inner core. A study showed that a combination of the MUFA (foods rich in monounsaturated ) diet such as olive oil and avocadoes plus 10 minutes of core stability exercise every day gets rid of double the quantity of visceral fat as diet alone.
The “Hover” exercise, also known as the “Plank”, is one of the best routines to strengthen core muscles:
- Lie face down, with your upper body propped on your forearms and your elbows directly beneath the shoulders.
- Contract the torso muscles, lifting belly and legs off the floor so that the body forms a straight line from head to heels. Keep abdominal muscles tight so your belly doesn’t droop.
- Hold the position for 15 seconds. Increase the hold by 15 seconds each week so that by week four you’re holding for one minute. Doing just one of these “Hover” exercises every day will make a difference.
* Selected as Article of the Month Apr 2013*