When it comes to trimming your post pregnancy tummy, one of the questions that is most often asked is: After I’ve had a baby, can I get my slim stomach back – without starving myself and doing endless sit-ups?
As you may know, people used to believe that you could do thousands of crunches and sit-ups to “spot reduce” fat in your belly area. Fortunately, we now know that you need to lose fat all over your body if you want to get a tight tummy. All you have to do is follow the correct combination of eating healthy and getting proper exercise. Use the following guidelines to get you on your way to having a trim tummy again!
Tummy Trimming Foods
The foods you eat have a major impact on your efforts to trim down your post pregnancy tummy. The fact is, many foods will sabotage your hard work by increasing your belly fat, while other foods are friendly to your waistline and help to reduce tummy fat.
For instance, there are foods which contain unhealthy chemicals in them. Caffeine is found in many foods and drinks on the market and has a reputation for being very helpful when trying to lose weight. However, problems arise when you consume too much of it. While small amounts of caffeine can stimulate your metabolism, too much of it will have a very negative impact on your body. The increases in blood pressure and heart rate from too much caffeine tell your body that it is at risk, which signals your body to go into a self-preservation mode. Nicotine has also been shown to have the same affect. While in this mode your body actively stores extra calories as fat, especially in the stomach area.
This increase in fat storage is due to a stress hormone called cortisol. While cortisol is an important hormone in our body, elevated levels will contribute to increased fat storage, especially in the midsection. On top of that, health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer are linked to both abdominal fat and nicotine consumption.
Mothers, if you are breast feeding, these substances can also have a harmful effect on your child, and it is highly recommended that these types of chemicals be avoided.
The effect that artificial sweeteners have on insulin levels has also been attributed to weight gain. Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels when we eat. When our blood sugar levels are low, we feel hungry. Artificial sweeteners can fool your body into releasing insulin, which will further reduce blood sugar levels. This can make you feel even hungrier, and may lead to overeating, resulting in a buildup of body fat.
There are many foods you can eat to help get rid of your post pregnancy tummy that won’t produce these harmful side effects. Focus on eating healthy foods that digest slowly, such as whole grain pastas and breads, oatmeal, lean meats like chicken and fish, or even try tofu. Remember to include whole nuts, beans, high-fiber fruits, green veggies, as well as olive oil and avocados. It’s also a good idea to incorporate diary products, such as yogurt, as long as they are made from low-fat or non-fat milks.
If cutting caffeine out of your diet completely is too difficult, try switching from coffee to green tea. Green tea has a fraction of the caffeine but can still perk you up. In addition, it offers other natural and healthy advantages, such as an increased metabolism.
Tummy Trimming Exercises
Along with a healthy diet, exercise is a powerful partner in the fight against fat. Since spot reduction doesn’t work for targeting stomach fat you’ll need to cut your overall percentage of body fat by doing cardio and strength training. Keep in mind that exercises focusing on your abs are still important, because they will add a sexy shape to your torso after the fat has vanished.
More important than the types of cardio exercises you do is that you actually do them – so make it fun by finding activities you enjoy doing. Make losing your post pregnancy tummy a team effort by taking your baby along for a stroller ride. You’ll burn more calories by pushing a stroller than you would have by going alone! Some other activity ideas include going for a swim, jogging around the neighborhood, working in your garden, dancing, or taking up a kick-boxing or martial arts class. Make an effort to invest at least three to five hours to exercising each week. Your heart will be happy, and the fat will begin to fade – even around your belly.
Do not underestimate the importance of strength training. Many women fear that they might bulk up instead of getting thin and toned. Sadly, this fear stops many women from even trying to develop lean muscle mass. Remember, lean muscle mass burns calories all the time – even while you’re resting! Women keep this in mind – you will absolutely not bulk up from doing strength training. If you fail to incorporate strength training into your routine, you will be fighting an uphill battle against fat.
For great results, find a routine that you can do for 30 minutes, three times each week. The best routines will target a specific muscle group on specific days. As an example, on Monday you would focus on your shoulders and arms, on Wednesday you would concentrate on your lower body and legs, and on Friday you would target your core and abs.
And last, but certainly not least, be sure to drink plenty of water! Your body needs to stay hydrated to burn fat efficiently. Make sure that you are getting at least 8 cups of water each day.
By combining a healthy diet with an effective exercise routine, you can eliminate your post pregnancy tummy and get back to enjoying life while wearing your favorite pair of skinny jeans!