Banish Muffin Top

I'm writing to you today to inquire how I can lose that lower belly bulge. Overall I'm happy with my body but I cannot seem to get rid of that excess. I recently started working out and have been trying to eat healthier but nothing seems to be targeting that area. Are there any excercises that I can do to effectively eliminate this? - Anonymous

This is tricky but the first response to this question is always to lose a few pounds. For most women, fat goes to the abdominal area first so if you're not too overweight, just losing a few pounds can solve the problem.

But if you're a healthy weight already, you may not be able to lose even a few pounds without becoming dangerously underweight. Unfortunately, even the slimmest ladies may still have a layer of fat along the abdomen & there's no healthy way to rid yourself of it. It's just nature. The 6-packs you see on men aren't really possible for healthy women to achieve because their bodies naturally store fat in different areas than ours.

In that case, toning the abs is the best thing. There are lots of excercises that can target the area & firm it up. Toning that region will probably solve the problem. If you're a healthy weight, chances are this is an area of your body with flabby muscle tone, not fat.

There are some links below to a few sites with dependable information. All of them will give you pointers on overall health. The WebMD article discusses genetic traits & explains how to determine the course of action that's probably best for you.

The articles on Redbook's site are great because they're designed for busy women & offer a variety of solutions to exercise problems, such as ways to boost your metabolism & how to substitute everyday chores for some of your cardio workout.

Of course, I saved the best for last. iVillage has a great library of ab toning, belly reducing exercises. Their diet & fitness section is immense. It offers information & workouts for general health as well as specific exercises to target any area of the body. There's nutrition & diet information, expert advice from real doctors, trainers & nutritionists & also a forum where you can find answers to specific questions.

Don't neglect the strength training in your workout, either. Lots of women concentrate solely on cardio & are unsatisfied with the results of their workout. You need to build strong muscles for a variety of reasons but just having toned muscle mass burns more calories. So simply having fit muscles means your body burns more calories without an increase in exercise, which is huge. You're getting a bit of a workout even when you're not working out & that alone is reason enough.

This should give you all the ammo you need to wage war on your belly & win. Let me know if it's useful for you & keep me posted on your progress. Good luck!

WebMD: Banish Your Belly

Redbook Diet & Fitness

iVillage Health


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