Most of us spend our youth abusing our bodies by drinking, partying, missing out on sleep, eating too much and generally indulging. When you are young your body just snaps back, so we think, “what’s all this rubbish about healthy eating and exercise, I can just eat pizza and play video games and I still look fantastic!”
That is generally how it goes until we approach middle age (at what age that begins is still a bit of a mystery). Though we know when we are there because we start to find the weight a bit harder to shift, we feel a bit sluggish generally and that sprint for the bus seems just a little beyond us. “Welcome to middle age,” we say, a little breathlessly.
So what do we do when we find a paunch, a spare tyre, saddlebags and love handles gradually developing? Whatever you want to call it, the truth is your metabolism has slowed down a bit; you are getting older (though not yet old) and it’s time to make a few changes.
But what should those changes be? A fad diet perhaps? Or a grueling workout regime with an ex-military trainer known simply as ‘Sarge’? None of the above, we say. It is not about radically transforming yourself into a fitness maniac overnight, it’s about making enough small changes so that you can train your body to be healthy again, full of energy and ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ as our mum’s used to say. Follow this brief guide and you’ll shed the pounds and get the spring back in your step!
1. Drop the Calories
You need to cut down your calories if you want to lose belly fat. The extra calories you eat are not consumed by your body and will be stored as fat in your belly pillow. It’s simple really: don’t eat more than you burn. Switch that bowl of fries and extra bread for a salad.
Replace fried chicken with grilled chicken and soft drinks with fresh juices to start with. That will also help to cut down on calories without you (or your calorie-craving monster) even realising.
2. Less Booze
You may find it hard to give up completely, especially if you are partial to a glass of red with dinner (just don’t drink the whole bottle) or a pint of stout after work, but just don’t overdo it. Alcohol is, after all, a form of sugar and so the more you consume the more your body will store it as fat. If you are used to drinking as a social outlet, try joining a fitness class instead. Failing that, get a dog and take it for lots of walks.
3. Move More
While there is no specific exercise that will help you lose belly fat, just moving more will help. Core strength can come from lots of different exercises like running, balancing exercises like yoga or all-body training like boxing or tennis. Generally, you will want to choose a cardiovascular set of exercises or a game like squash that really burns calories. You don’t see many overweight marathon runners so distance running could be for you too.
The key is to get out and move more, even if that is walking or cycling to work or a gentle swim session afterwards. The benefit is that you’ll look and feel better too (it’s worth appealing to your vanity!)
This one is simple:
Find out your body weight in pounds then drink half of that amount in ounces on a daily basis. You’ll stay hydrated which will keep your metabolism burning and prevent your body from retaining water, which leads to bloating. One other rule is that if you think you are hungry, you are probably actually thirsty (most of us are dehydrated to some level). So instead if reaching for the cookie jar or crisp drawer, down a glass of water instead. You’ll be ship shape in no time!