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Today is Tuesday and in Mostly Mum World Tuesdays are currently to be dreaded, as it’s… gulp… weigh in day at my local WW (Weight Watchers) meeting. Over the past few months, there have been numerous ups and downs in my weight loss journey. I began on a high, then plateaued and had to summon every ounce of my being not to throw in the towel and resign myself to (what, at times, seemed like) the inevitable middle age spread.
But, no, my dear readers (and it is partly down to my resolve not to let you all down!), the harder it got to persevere, the deeper I dug my heels in and trudged on, day after day, until, finally, I felt like I could see the top of the mountain. What seemed, for so long, like an impossible goal is, at last, within my grasp!
Since my last post on this subject, 3 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight, I’ve really seen the light, figured out where I was going wrong (mindless eating and failing to track my food intake mostly) and now seem to be well on my way towards feeling like…
The only thing holding me back from jumping up and down with excitement and posting an array of celebratory gifs is that, although I am losing weight, my baby jelly belly is going nowhere… Just yet.
So, as ever, when unhappy with a situation, I like to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and dive into the process of finding a solution to my issues.
Practically, that means jumping onto the internet and Googling like crazy until I have devised a satisfactory plan of action that doesn’t include a mummy tuck (oh, how that insidious thought has tempted me!!).
And, happily, having carefully considered countless articles by all manner of weight loss experts, I now have a crystal clear picture, or, more specifically, a five-point plan that will help me to achieve my ultimate goal of banishing the baby bulge… forever!
It should truly be as easy as 1, 2, 3… All I have to do is:
1. Shake the sugar habit
In theory, it should be a no-brainer – cut out sugar to lose weight, and especially that very unhealthy fat stored around the stomach area.
However, sugar comes in many different forms outside of the easily identifiable powdery white substance contained in your sugar bowl – fructose, sucrose, in fact, anything ending in – ose, is often found in high quantities in fruit juices, fizzy drinks and, yes, even, our favourite flavoured coffees and ‘healthy’ breakfast muffins and frozen yoghurts… to the point, that, if you really, truly consider every food and drink item that passes your lips, your heart sinks as you realise…
And that’s when you’re forcing yourself to ‘be good’!
What about all those slip-ups?
That freshly baked pastry with your morning coffee!
That ‘tiny’ taste of the cake you helped your daughter bake for her school coffee morning!
That ‘nibble’ of the torturously tempting cupcake your children convinced you to buy them as an end of week treat!
All the real reasons that belly just won’t budge!
And the solution?
Track, track, track!
If there is one thing I have learned from my time at WW this time around, it is that tracking your food intake is absolutely essential to diet success.
And you know what, my dear readers?
Ever since I quit trying to cheat the tracking system (no need to weigh, I can guess etc. – uh-uh!), the weight has finally begun to shift. Hooray!
2. Alienate the alcohol
One thing that the experts are all in total agreement about is that, although red wine can, in moderation, lower cholesterol, alcohol should generally be approached with extreme caution when it comes to the battle of the belly bulge.
The term ‘beer belly’ is not ironic as studies have shown that alcohol can suppress the metabolism, while excess calories from alcohol are more prone to being stored in the stomach area. 😧
Where alcohol is concerned, moderation is key. Studies have shown binge drinking to be particularly problematic with respect to weight gain around the middle.
So, a cocktail or two to celebrate a friend’s birthday shouldn’t set you back in your diet goals…
However, add in a glass or three of super sugary prosecco and we’re heading into dangerous waters! 😨
3. Exercise efficiently
When it comes to blasting that belly bulge, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that hellishly torturous sit-ups are the only answer.
Not sit-ups but torturous toning nonetheless!
Happily, this does not appear to be the case. While muscle-building with sit-ups can help to improve the appearance of the stomach area, overall fat reduction is more likely to occur through an increase in aerobic activity.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is characterized by brief periods of intense activity separated by stints of active rest, is said to be particularly effective. However, if you’re an exercise-phobe like me, as little as 30-60 minutes per day, five times a week of aerobic exercise (that works to increase the heart rate), such as brisk walking, jogging, aerobics or swimming will work to reduce the overall percentage of fat stored by the body, and the stomach will flatten accordingly.
Now, if I really need to commit to a new exercise routine, I will need to look the part…
Sweating might not be glam, but who’ll notice when you’re wearing these fierce leopard print leggings from Studded Kiss. Add a slick of Bourjois red lipstick and we’re totally fitness fit…
Or, cosy up for those brisk walks in the hazy autumnal sunshine with this super cute heart patch grey sweater from Blooming Jelly.
Is the Celine Trio bag a step too far? Hmmm… Jogging might be out of the question. Oh well, as long as we’re moving, that’s all that counts!
4. Don’t skimp on the sleep
Diet and exercise aside, lifestyle factors are equally important to consider when it comes to belly fat reduction.
In one of my previous posts, 5 Top Tips to make the most of your Beauty Sleep, I mentioned the adverse effect inadequate sleep will have on the body’s metabolism.
However, in the context of this post, it is even more alarming to note that many studies have linked weight gain, and especially weight gain around the middle, to inadequate sleep patterns, with seven hours per night being optimal.
All very easy to remedy in theory, but what of the parents of very young children who are frequently disturbed throughout the night?
One solution might be to nap while the baby naps, if time allows, throughout the day.
Shh! Don’t wake him up!
Also, while it is tempting to catch up on daily chores, social media (and blogging!) while the children sleep, it might be advisable to enlist some help during the daylight hours rather than sacrificing our own all-important sleep time. Hmmm… Now, where, did I put my to-do list? 🤔
5. Stress less
Cortisol – the ‘fight or flight’ hormone – is very useful in a survival situation. However, that same stress hormone is less useful in a ‘stuck in traffic, kids screaming, late for the school run yet again’ situation, due to the fact that when you can’t physically use up the excess hormone that has been secreted, it will be stored as fat around the tummy area. Oh, joy!
According to an article in healthline.com, studies have shown that women with large waist/hip ratios have been found to produce more cortisol in stressful situations (that must include me, then! 😧).
And the solution?
While we might not be able to control the stressful events in the world around us, we can learn to control how we react to those situations. So, turning on some relaxing music while stuck in a traffic jam, or, simply, accepting that certain situations are just out of our control should go some way towards minimising those cortisol spikes in our bodies.
Equally important, and especially for parents of young children, is to schedule regular downtime. A fashion mag and a manicure, anyone?
OPI’s I’m Getting a Tan-gerine is my current mani fave!
Now all that remains for me to do is to put each and every one of these points into action… starting with… yawn… an early (ish) night, as of now!
Sweet dreams, everyone!
To be continued…
As ever, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Until next time,
💋 Mostly Mum
*All gifs are via GIPHY
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