What can I do to reduce my stomach fat?
Most of us have more stomach fat than we would like to have. There are four possible issues.
First of all, you could be of normal weight but have a flabby tummy. Check your Body Mass Index (BMI) on the web. If you are in the normal range for weight, you can use some exercise to help tone your stomach. It is best to use a variety of exercises. Any exercise that uses all of your body will help. Some exercises such as sit ups can strengthen tummy muscle, but no exercises will directly reduce tummy fat.
Second, you could be of normal weight, have a normal tummy and have an unrealistic idea of tummy fat. You see fat where others would see a normal tummy.
You can ask your mom or dad or your doctor if you have a fat tummy. If you have a normal tummy and you think it is fat, nothing you do to get rid of tummy fat will ever satisfy you. In that case, you have to start being more gentle with yourself. You will have to look at your tummy in the same way that other people would. Instead of saying “My stomach is fat and ugly.” You would say, “I think I have a fat tummy but it is actually nice and healthy.” These false beliefs are very hard to change and you will have to be very firm with yourself.
Third, you could have some loose skin on your tummy and not have fat at all. If it is really bad, talk to your doctor about it. No exercises will tighten flabby skin.
Fourth, you could be overweight and have some tummy fat. In this case, you may want to very slowly lose some weight (maximum 1 kg per week). The best way to lose weight is a combination of exercise and changing eating patterns. Don’t try to lose weight fast. It will not work. In fact, it may cause you to gain weight.
So if you:
- trade a bag of chips for an apple
- take less sugar in your coffee
- put less butter and jam on your toast
- cut out empty calories like those in pop and chips
- drink water instead of fruit juices
- take a little less meat and more vegetables on your plate
- walk up the stairs instead of taking an elevator
- walk instead of taking a car for short trips
- get involved in some sport, any sport at all
- think of a bit of hunger as a good feeling
you will be fine.
Talk to a nurse or counselor at the health centre if you have one in your school. Or chat with your family doctor next time you are in.
Thanks to Mike Sangster who is a physiotherapist at the IWK for consulting on this answer.