Our expert says:
Well, you’ve done very well up to this point, having lost 13 kg so far. So, I’m not sure how you did this, but I would say that one thing you should not do is change too much just yet. I would assume that this weight loss has been achieved by means of exercise, and hopefully a healthy diet. That’s really the way to go – I can’t unfortunately offer you the detailed diet advice – I would suggest Diet Doc for this, but in terms of exercise, here’s what you should be looking for:
Cardiovascular-type activities are preferential for weight loss. These include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming etc. It is important to exercise between 4 and 5 times a week, for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes each session. It is also ideal to work at a moderate to hard intensity, but for a longer duration. You should aim to do these sessions at an intensity that allows you to complete the session without feeling completely exhausted, but having worked up a good sweat and feeling that your breathing and metabolic rate are elevated. A moderate intensity is certainly the way to go - if you train too easily, nothing will happen, and if you train too hard, then you soon become tired and burned out. So, aim for an intensity that will allow you to finish a session and recover by the next one. If you feel like you are carrying a whole week's worth of training in your body, then you are traininig too hard. Other than intensity, the rest is easy - you just have to go out and get those sessions in. Of course, if you are just starting out, then I would suggest starting off by training every other day, and possibly for only 20 minutes. THen you should aim to build up gradually until you reach the 30 to 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week mark.
Now, as for those particular problem areas, the scientific truth is that one cannot "spot reduce". That is, you can't really try and reduce the fat around your stomach, thighs and abdominals by just doing exercises for those areas. This kind of exercise, using specific muscles only, actually burns fewer calories than exercising large muscles groups in dynamic cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging, running, swimming or cycling. So, as I’ve explained above, this is what you should be aiming for, if you are not doing it already.
Having said that, it is still important to do some strengthening and toning exercise and obviously to include exercises that make use of the muscle groups in your abdominal area. The exercises that you do will depend on whether you have access to a gym or you do body weight exercises at home. I would suggest you have a look at the 'Zone-in-on' section of the Health 24 website (www.health24.co.za). You can find this section under 'Fitness', and then just click on the image that shows the areas you want to work on, and you will be able to see the exercises relevant to you.
Lastly, keep in mind that this is a very common problem, and changes in certain areas can happen very slowly, because some people do just have a specific distribution of fat, and it can be hard to fight against this.
However, be patient and keep at it!
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