Every now and again I come across a web advertisement stating something like the above title. If you're reading this for a quick fix for your great gut I'm afraid you may be disappointed. The advertisements I'm referring to direct you to a site where you can buy some sort of 'berry' and other 'medications' and as far as I can see there is neither truth nor sense in any of that stuff. It's a scam.
Why do I say that? Well it's because when it comes down to it you get what you work for in this life. There is no quick fix once you've put on loads of weight and your tummy sags. The fat cells in your body are at a certain size in youth. If you eat and eat they become 'stuffed' with fat - they are a storage facility which the body can draw upon when it needs energy. Keep stuffing fat into them and they divide and keep dividing as long as you eat too much. Big eating makes for big numbers of plump fat cells.
So you go on a crash diet or you exercise. The fat in the cells reduces but you still have the same number of cells and they don't reduce as you lose weight - you always have the increased number of cells they just aren't as fat-filled. The best way to consider this is to not put the weight on in the first place since once you've bred all those fat cells you put weight back on at twice the rate when you cease to diet.
As far as diet is concerned, it's simple - what you take in and what you burn need to be the same because anything left over is stored as fat by the body. So what can you do? Bear in mind, I'm no fitness or dietary guru and this is just a personal opinion.
It's a triple approach - Diet. Exercise and Psychology.
Look, yoyo dieting is demoralising because you put the weight back on quickly once you relax. You have to change your lifestyle on a permanent basis - forever. yeah, you heard me. human beings are not created to eat when they don't need the input and we live in a world where food is all around us. Grazing when you aren't hungry seems to be a kind of pastime in the western world. You will have to stop eating what you fancy, when you fancy it. A common sense approach is to resist the idea that those feelings of hunger are 'bad for you' or unpleasant. Try going hungry for a morning. Breakfast then nothing until lunchtime. Feel that feeling in your stomach. befriend it. Say to yourself 'that feels good' or 'it's doing me good' or even 'I like this'. Convince yourself that a period of hunger is a great thing because it's making you better in the long term. Don't whinge about 'my blood sugar is low' or I feel lousy if I don't eat. You're bound to feel lousy because you're burning a little bit of fat and your body produces ketones. But there again if you are going to lose some weight start gently - it'll be a shock to the system at first. Cut out or cut down on carbohydrates - bread and potatoes. Instead of three potatoes in a meal always resist the third one. Have a slow release carbohydrate breakfast - cereal with fruit and low-fat yogurt. That way you won't suffer over-much - but for heaven's sake make it a small portion. No coffee and biscuits at eleven - savour that hunger which you satisfy at lunchtime. Never leave the table feeling 'full'. Never. Avoid fatty foods. less red meat. You can take as many vegetables as you like during a meal they say but not potatoes for heaven's sake. You can eat everything in small amounts then you can train your stomach to shrink. You've spent all those years expanding it - now try the converse. In summary - cut portion size - reduce carbohydrate intake - reduce fat intake. Trouble is it's forever. You will weaken at times but if you do, don't weaken the next day or the day after that. One trick once you've mastered the portion size thing is to either have fat and protein or fat and carbohydrate or carbohydrate and protein but avoid having all three together at one meal (you can't avoid a bit of any of them but you can balance your meal to it's mainly two). The absorption of each will vary according what you're burning off at any particular time.
Yes, I really did say that. You may be thinking - I can't exercise because of my weight, my other health problems - my knees are osteoarthritic etc. Well, you're kidding yourself. A study published a few years back indicates that walking for 40 minutes a day will reduce your chance of dying by big percentages. I'm sure that's true but even with a knee problem you can swim. Can't swim? Learn to cycle. Cycling is a great exercise. Can't cycle, can't walk can't swim eh? Go to a gym do gentle sit-down exercises - anything that puts up your pulse rate and your breathing rate. Half an hour per day. I'm supposed to tell you to discuss exercise with your doctor before trying it and I think that's a good idea - I don't know you after all. Patients with heart problems or breathing problems need to speak to their doctor first!
What I do know is that there is some form of physical activity you can do. You just have to start very gently for a minute or two at first and build gradually.
The point about exercise is it raises your metabolic rate (the speed your body burns energy). To raise it you have to do whatever exercise you choose daily or almost daily. You body will adapt and burn off the calories you take in.
Try this book: Mindfulness for Dummies - what is it? It's a sort combined meditation and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). It will allow you to control your thinking and challenge bad ideas. Does it work.?Yes. Has it been proven to help? Yes. Can anyone do it? Yes.
Can you do this 'flat belly' thing? The answer of course is also 'yes'. There is no quick fix. No one can take your fat cells away. Forget medication and forget liposuction. You have to take charge yourself and get good dietary advice - exercise advice and a bit of mindfulness. You can really do anything you want to - if you just want it enough. You could become a brain surgeon too if you want it enough - but it might be a very long hard road, though it can be done!
Oh and finally - read The Fat Chef - he's an example of what I'm talking about!