"MARRIAGE IS LIKE PUTTING YOUR HAND INTO A BAG OF SNAKES IN THE HOPE OF PULLING OUT AN EEL". Leonardo Da Vinci
Saturday, March 22, 2014
10 tips for a flatter stomach
Fed up with the bulge? Follow our expert advice and a more toned tummy can be yours…
Stand up straight
For a flatter stomach in an instant, follow the advice of Pilates instructor Loren Barclay, and stand with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in one straight line, while you draw your belly button in towards your spine. "Practise while you’re queuing at a checkout, waiting for a bus or brushing your teeth."
Breathe away the bulge
"This yogic breathing technique massages your abdomen and encourages fat-burning around your middle," promises Christy Fergusson, author of Hot, Healthy, Happy. "Sit with your back straight and eyes closed. Breathe in deeply, allowing your abdomen to inflate, then exhale through your nose sharply, as if you’re sniffing, as your stomach pulls in. Repeat 30 to 50 times, increasing the pace."
Ditch the gum
Chewing gum encourages you to swallow air that can become trapped in your gut, causing your tummy to bloat and bulge, which is never a good look. Instead freshen your mouth by brushing your teeth after meals and snacks or sucking mints that contain peppermint oil, which relaxes the gut.
Get some secret support
...under your clothes, that is! When your LBD gives you curves in all the wrong places or you need a trimmer tummy tonight, try some figure-fixing underwear from your trusted shop. The stomach-flattering control pants, shorts, bodysuits and slips are all designed to smooth out lumps and bumps, so you can shimmy into your favourite dress with confidence.
According to justchewit, the average person spends just 23 minutes a day eating, but wolfing down your food makes you more likely to overeat and swallow air that can cause your tummy to distend. Slow down! Chewing properly stimulates the digestive process and helps your brain register that your stomach is full.
Go for a spin
It might look like a simple kids’ toy but the hula hoop can also be used to achieve a svelte stomach and toned waist. Don’t believe us? Check out Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Liv Tyler, who have all hula hooped to keep their figures trim. You can borrow the kids’ or invest in your own weighted version for faster results.
It might seem strange, but eating more frequently can actually help you beat the bulge. Skipping meals can make your blood-sugar levels dip, leaving you prone to bingeing which in turn can cause bloating. Aim to eat three balanced meals and two snacks – one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon – a day to keep your energy levels and mood stable.
Hold a plank
A pot belly is a sign your core muscles are slack so tighten them up with the plank:
Lie face down, supporting your upper body on your forearms, elbows beneath your shoulders.
Keeping your toes on the floor, suck in your belly, navel to spine, and lift your legs so you’re in a straight line from head to heels.
Hold your abs in tight for 15 seconds.
Switch to herbal tea
If your rounded tum is due to a big meal or water retention, sip a herbal tea. Look out for stomach-soothing peppermint, chamomile, ginger and liquorice and cleansing fenugreek seeds, fennel and cloves. Gentle enough to be taken during pregnancy, herbal teas can also help ease colic in children and toddlers.
Try to stress less
Cortisol, the hormone that is released when we are stressed, directs your body to store fat round your middle. It also slows down your digestion, causing food to hang around in your gut, which can lead to bloating. Try to relax and unwind by going for a daily walk, having a bath or curling up with a good book.