Posted by: Janki | 2012/01/18

One issue

I am 19 years old. I weigh an average of 50 and my bmi is 19. I am not fat at all. I am blessed with great genes I think, because my mom is also not fat and my dad also not. I just struggle to lose the extra bit of weight on my waist. i seem to have a bit more fat there than on any other part of my body. And when i gain weight I usually gain it first at my belly. But when I lose weight I keep losing at my arms and legs, which are already thin. Do you have any advce for me regarding this? I don''t eat junk food more than once a week and I try to limit my intake of rice, potatoes, bread etc. I also don''t eat a lot of sweets. What should I do to trim some more fat at my belly? or do you think I must just start toning my ab muscles more? Please help me. I want a flat stomache so bad.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Janki

This is a super common issue, especially for people who are "lucky" in the sense that they are not overweight, but have those stubborn areas. It’s particularly troublesome as we get older, because we lose muscle mass and that makes it more and more difficult to combat the body’s frustrating tendency to store fat, which is really the problem here. Our genes determine where that fat is deposited, which is why some people battle with the stomach, others with arms or thighs.

Regardless of the location, the key is a combination of proper exercise and careful diet. Proper exercise means avoiding the myth that you can spot reduce. That is, there is a perception that you can target specific areas for fat loss by doing very specific exercise. Unfortunately, a million sit-ups a day is not the sole solution. It certainly has a beneficial effect, as I’ll explain, but by itself is not the solution. So rather than becoming pre-occupied on one area, your aim should be to increase metabolic rate – that’s how you burn fat. You do through regular cardiovascular exercise, which includes cycling, aerobics, taebo, spinning, walking or jogging. There are a few programmes to choose from here: Best bet is always to go with what you enjoy, because this is a long-term commitment, so it does take a lot of time, and enjoyment will really help you!

You should then combine this with some weight training. This is especially important for you, since youre BMI is low, and so it will really be beneficial to increase lean mass. Weight training, which includes sit-ups, is helpful because it increases muscle mass (which has the long-term effect of raising metabolic rate) and because it literally helps create more muscle. More muscle means a more toned appearance. Just doing sit-ups is a start, but you can raise the impact by doing a variety of exercises that target different abdominal muscles. I’d suggest speaking to a trainer at the gym to discover these.

Finally, remember that diet is the great “enabler”. If exercise is perfect, but diet poor, then you undermine your progress. So cover that base, perhaps by seeing a dietician, and get cover all three bases.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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