One of the many concerns my clients have is how to lose fat from specific areas, especially around their tummies, but everyone seems to have different areas that they find it hard to shift weight from. So how do you shift excess fat or gain more tone in those specific areas? The answer is to do lots of crunches, planks or triceps dips right? Or to follow a “beach body challenge” with lots of exercises focusing on your core?
Wrong!! Stubborn areas of body fat are the hardest to shift but trying to reduce them by specifically targeting that area with exercise just doesn’t work. Although you will be working the muscles in those areas you really need all round exercises that will increase your metabolism and encourage fat burning.
So what do I recommend?
The very first thing that you should be looking at is your DIET, around 80% of your attempts to get rid of the bulge should come from the food that you eat, with 20% from exercise. That takes a bit of getting your head around doesn’t it? Especially if you go to the gym or do some sort of exercise program and then tell yourself that it`s “ok to treat myself” because I just spent an hour doing a workout. The very first thing you need to look at is your sugar intake, this is hidden so well in many of our favourite foods that sometimes we don’t even realise it is there. One interesting fact is that year on year we are buying less bags of “visible” sugar; the big increase in sugar intake comes from the “invisible” sugar that the food industry sneaks into our everyday food.
Take a look at your weekly supermarket shop and you will see that there is hidden sugar in the form of glucose-fructose syrup in bread, Muller light, some organic yoghurt, baked beans, smoked salmon, steak pie, seafood sticks and the list goes on. That’s before you add into the equation fizzy drinks and other more obvious places for sugar to hide in your food.
So how does all this sugar have an impact on fat loss? One of the important things to understand when you eat fructose is what happens to your liver. There is a complex chain of events but the main thing that happens is leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone responsible for feeling full up and with over consumption of sugar leptin often gets switched off so that we don’t know when we are full up. The sugar that you are eating causes you to produce too much insulin which causes blood-sugar crashes and causes you then to crave more sugar!! And so the cycle goes on!
Foods that will help you switch leptin back on are good fats and protein, so add more of these to your diet and be much more aware of what you are eating by taking a little extra time when doing your weekly shop. Carefully read labels and keep away from anything containing fructose, glucose or artificial sweeteners, often found in “diet” products.
Cutting back on sugar is the first big step to reducing stubborn fat and getting healthier, just being more aware can make a big difference. Don’t get me wrong, exercise can be really effective with stubborn fat loss but don’t be fooled into thinking that just working on your fitness will get rid of it all. Eating correctly and drinking plenty of water is the best formula for fat loss, add in a mixture of total body exercise as well and you will be well on your way to achieving your fat loss goals.