Hey, it’s Monique here and I thought I’d share with you the tips I’ve learned to help reduce my belly fat. I’ve always been thicker through the waist and even when I’ve been super skinny, I was more like a ‘ruler’ body shape! As I’ve got older, I’ve morphed into a classic ‘apple’ and even though I’ve been losing weight bit by bit over the last 18 months, my belly fat has always been my biggest challenge.
Belly fat can accumulate for a number of reasons:
Chances are you’ve inherited your body shape. I read somewhere that you get your height from your father and your weight and body shape from your mother. Not always of course, but apparently it’s more common that way. Sadly we can’t change the way our genes work, but once we understand them, we can work with them. I had some genetic testing done via my Naturopath Lynette Hill in 2018 to find out why I had always struggled with my weight. Amazed and very pleased to have this knowledge in my arsenal!
To all you beautiful mama’s and grandmama’s – I SALUTE YOU! You’re amazing and you keep the world going. I have spoken with many women who have really struggled post childbirth to get their body back. The reality is, your body is different. Often a thicker middle post childbirth isn’t just about stored fat however. It’s quite similar to me with my 40 kilo weight loss where my thicker middle is actually a result of over stretched skin and muscles that need to be rebuilt. The great news is that as the muscles get stronger through the core, you start to burn excess fat sitting on top of the muscles more efficiently and BOOM, you’re losing cm’s!
For those of you dealing with ongoing pressure at home, with your finances, the kids, relationships or whatever is going on, if you’ve noticed a little pouch pop out on your tummy it could be stress related. The cause could be a couple of reasons: the adrenal glands sit around that area so if you’re in fight or flight mode, you may feel a bit of a throbbing in the tummy area. As this happens cortisol is released and then it’s essentially ‘chemical warfare’ going on in your body. Cortisol is linked to the production of insulin and both of those are linked to weight gain. At the same time, often when we’re stressed, we crave high energy / fast energy release foods such as carbs and sugar (comfort food) which is of course also linked to weight gain.
Health issues and medication
Certain health conditions can also lead to storing belly fat and it’s worth chatting to a health professional about this. Whether it’s the effects of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), Endometriosis, gut issues including IBS (which is what I had for 25 years) and leaky gut or menopause, or the results of medications affecting the flow of your health, if you’re not feeling great, stop asking Dr Google and get some help! Since getting my genes tested I’ve learned to modify my diet, healed my gut and everything’s coming up roses!
There’s 2 different types of carbs – fast carbs and slow carbs. Fast carbs are things like bread, pasta, sugar, cakes, biscuits, pastries etc. Most of the people I’ve chatted with who have eaten foods like that have all accumulated weight around the waist! Slow carbs are leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower and occasional pieces of kumara and pumpkin. Most of my decadent evening meals are comprised of a very tasty protein, mixed with salad greens or roasted cauliflower and broccoli drizzled in dressing. It’s restaurant quality and so simple to make, plus it’s better for my waistline!
SO: What is the action plan I’ve used to help beat these challenges? Get ready for these super easy to achieve tips!
Grab a tape measure right now and measure your true waist. Make a note of it. Do the same for your chest and your hips. This is so you have something to refer to. I was forced to do this at my last TV commercial audition in November 2018.
My measurements back then: Chest 100 cm, Waist 98 cm and Hips 110 cm.
My measurements as at the 7th of January 2019: Chest 98 cm, Waist 88 cm and Hips 103 cm.
EMS and Ultrasonic Fat Burning Device
:By far one of the BEST machines I’ve ever tried for my day job at Guide To Better Shopping is the 3 in 1 Ultrasonic handheld device. The machine uses the same non invasive lipo / fat cavitation technology that beauty therapists use to help break down stored fat cells and tighten skin, and EMS (electro magnetic stimulation) which is used by physiotherapists to strengthen and build muscles. The great thing is that as you build more muscle you burn fat at the same time!
I have been using this machine to help reduce, repair and tighten the skin under my chin (my Turkey neck) and have also been trialling it on my stomach. I use the EMS part which comprises a couple of electrodes that are placed on either acupressure points on my stomach to help with drainage, or use it on specific muscles that I want to activate with contractions and simply let it do it’s thing. 10 minutes a day of this tickling, buzzing feeling on my tummy is really starting to show results!
The Ultrasonic part at the top of the machine I also use, rubbing over my tummy in clockwise circular motions. This is a radio frequency treatment that also heats up and helps break down the stored fat cells which are subsequently eliminated by the body. This machine has been a game changer and when I did the research, cost less than 1 treatment with a beauty therapist. The benefit of course is that I can use mine everyday and the best results happen with shorter, more frequent usage. To find out more about this product, click this link.
Audit what you eat
You can do this using an app like Lifesum or you could grab a notebook and start a food diary. It’s really important with a food diary to write each day about how you feel, and if you’ve had a wee binge moment, write down what triggered it. The key to making change is to know what’s going wrong first.
Modify your eating plan, but keep it simple
Low carb works well for me and I know others who require more carbs to lose weight. There’s a number of eating plans out there, however internationally it seems the keys to success are to
- reduce sugar
- stop snacking (once you do an audit of what you eat, you may be surprised at how many additional ‘treat’ calories you eat in a day!)
- cut back your alcohol (I’m not saying give up, but give your liver a break!)
- and eat more plant!
For most of our lives, we’ve been fed a lie! We get plenty of nutrition and carbs from vegetables and a little fruit, so cut back on the refined starches and you’ll notice a difference. Best thing I ever did! I’ve also changed from drinking standard milk in tea, to protein enriched milk to help with my daily protein intake. Here’s the real secret to success: MAKE ONE CHANGE AT A TIME! FYI if you want a look at how I eat, CLICK THE LINK.
I’m going to be honest with you: I’m lazy. really lazy. Most of my exercise is comprised of me walking to a cafe for a coffee and back. I’m not even kidding. The only additional thing I’ve done is after going for a walk I come back and do some sort of strength work to help my core while I watch funny cat videos. This could be:
- Planking: I start on my knees and do what’s called a ‘flat arm plank’. Lie your arms flat on the ground, bent at the elbow, with your elbows under your shoulder. Hold your tummy tight and lift up onto your toes similar to doing a press up and hold your body tight and flat like a plank of wood. Hold it for as long as you can, keep your back as flat as possible, breath and hold for an additional 5-10 seconds longer than you think you can possibly hold. You’re physically stronger than you think. It’s a mind game. Make a note of how long you held your plank for and try to increase your time in 5 second increments. Even if when you start you can only hold it for 20 seconds, that’s better than NO seconds!
- Crunch: I lie on my back on the floor with my legs on the couch and smash out 20 small and slow crunches while I watch funny stuff on youtube.
- Twist: lying on my back on the floor, I place my feet on the floor and holding my tummy muscles in tight, swivel my knees over slowly to the left of the right. I do this 20 times. Go as slow as you need to.
- Leg lifts: lying on the floor, I put my feet up on the couch. I place my hands under my hips and lower back so my pelvis is up forward slightly, then tightening my stomach muscles, lift my feet up to a 90 degree angle. Make sure your muscles are tight and engaged to ensure you work the right muscles. Again, I bust out 20. And yes, I have a break at 10, cos OMG. You’ll know what I mean when you try them.
The whole routine is done in just a couple of minutes while I watch comedy and by jingoes, I can feel it, but at least I had a good time.
So there you go! This is the secret to my success! In just a few weeks I’ve reduced my waistline, strengthened my core and it all feels EASY! I’m not spending hours in a gym, it doesn’t cost me thousands of dollars and I never feel like I’m missing out. What’s not to love?
Stay fabulous and let me know how the plan works for you!