Losing that Muffin Top

belly fatCan you still zip those jeans? Is that shirt a little snug? Can’t quite fit that “fitted” jacket anymore? Well, welcome to what I call the Holiday Tummy Blues. November and December have to the best/ worst two months of the year when it comes to that tummy chub. Between Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas dinner, and New Years Eve drinks, that belly chub is just protruding by the hour.  Don’t feel bad, we all have been there; heck some of us are still there. BUT the key is to NOT stay there, especially if it’s at an unhealthy stage.

Belly chub is always the hardest to lose as women, whether you had a child or not belly chub is the hardest to conquer, specifically as you get older. According to Dr. Oz, t number one reason it’s so hard to lose belly fat: hormones. With menopause comes a drop in estrogen; this decrease alters where the body stores fat, making women more prone to gaining visceral belly fat. Other hormonal imbalances during this time can leave the body feeling hungry, even after eating. Sleep disturbances, common in perimenopause and menopause, are associated with decreased levels of leptin (an appetite suppressant) and increased levels of ghrelin (an appetite stimulant). Additionally, the stresses of life – kids, college tuitions or the mortgage – can lead to an increase in cortisol, the “stress hormone,” which also triggers your body to store fat around the middle.[1]

While stress may be one of the causes of your chub, one cause is definitely not backing away from the table. Let’s face it, we have to take control of the situation and stop placing blame.

Here are 5 moves to conquer that belly chub:

  1. Medicine Ball Crunch: Sit down and hold a 5-pound medicine ball (or dumbbell) between both hands. Lift your legs up, so you’re balancing on your booty. Swivel left to right and back, bringing ball across body while maintaining the V shape.  Do 3 sets of 15 reps 3–4 times a week.[1]
  2. Lower Belly Leg Reach: Targets corset and six-pack. Lie face up with knees bent to 90 degrees, hands behind head, and abs contracted. Keeping knees stacked over hips, lift shoulders and crunch up; inhale and hold for 3-5 seconds. Exhale and extend legs to 45 degrees; hold for 3-5 seconds while squeezing lower belly. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps.[2]
  3. Plank it: Kneel on a mat on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders. Stretch your legs back one at a time to come into plank position (the “up” part of a push-up); engage your ab muscles. Your body should be long and straight; don’t let your hips sag or lift your butt too high. Imagine there’s a seat belt tightening around your waist, drawing your lower-ab muscles inward. Press your hands firmly into the mat, and press strongly back through your heels. Hold for 1–2 minutes (or as long as you can), then drop back to all fours. Do 3 reps.[1]
  4. Squat: Stand with feet hip-width, knees bent slightly, hands crossed over chest. Squat down, pressing weight into feet. Make sure feet are pointing straight ahead and knees are over your toes; keep bum tucked. Return to standing. Do 5 sets of 5 reps.
  5. Bicycle Crunch: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and contracts your core muscles. With your hands gently holding your head, lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly, at first, go through a bicycle pedal motion. Alternately touching your elbows to the opposite knees as you twist back and forth. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise.

I’ve tried all of these and they each hurt like hell, BUT the chub is starting to fade and the abs is becoming defined. Take your time and find what works for you. As long as you start you are ahead of the race! Healthy is Sexy!

XoXo

Tileah Aisha

*Photo Credit* someecards.com

<!--more--