For most women, the biggest body hang-up is often their stomach. But before throwing yourself into a heap of sit-ups and crunches, figure out your belly type as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to getting wasboard abs.
Tummy type one: Bloated tummy
If you wake up with a flat stomach but go to bed with a swollen one, you’re probably suffering from bloating. This is caused by sluggish bowels, a poor diet, food intolerance or eating too quickly (you end up swallowing too much air). The solution is to make a note of what bothers your tummy and avoid this for a few days to see if it leaves you looking any flatter. Keep your bowels healthy, eat plenty of fibre-rich foods (wholemeal bread, pasta, fruits, and vegetables), chew thoroughly and drink around two litres of water a day to aid digestion. Instead of stuffing your face thrice a day, eat three mediumsized meals with healthy snacks in between.
Tummy type two: Stress tummy
Too much stress can also give you a fat stomach. Higher stress levels mean a lot of cortisol, which dumps fat all over your stomach. To slim down, you need to calm down. A stress tummy is easy to identify – women who have them tend to have slim arms and legs but a little swollen tummy. Besides cortisol, stress causes you to make the wrong food choices and thereby making you fat. Sugar and heavily processed foods up your body’s stress levels. Put calming, wholesome foods into your body instead, such as lean protein (turkey, chicken, fish) and lots of vegetables for more energy and better health.
Tummy type three: Post-baby tummy
If you’ve had a baby in the last few years, your tummy probably isn’t your favourite body part. However, help is at hand. The most effective post-baby exercise is working your pelvic floor muscles, which are the ones you’d use if you wanted to stop yourself from peeing midflow. Clench them for a few seconds and release, then repeat. Do them every day if you can.
To encourage fat burning and improving your energy levels, take fish oil supplements.
Good fats have the same effect, so include plenty of nuts, oils, olives, oily fish such as mackerel in your daily diet.