Are you feeling flabby around the middle? If so, you’re probably ‘thick’ and tired of it. But don’t fret. A sleek and sexy waistline can be yours. Read on…
Several factors can contribute to thickness around the midsection, sometimes called a “spare tire” or “midriff bulge.” Heredity and hormones come into play, as well as diet and exercise. But the muscles of the midsection, called the abdominals or “abs,” respond quickly to tummy-toning exercises. This is good news for your bikini body.
The area between the breasts and hips is comprised of a network of muscles that crisscross to form a structure designed to protect and support your internal organs. These muscles also attach to the spine. So when this ‘muscle grid’ becomes weak, or if excess fat accumulates in this region, the end result is a protruding abdomen.
Extra weight in the frontal torso can alter the body’s natural balance and force a shift in the body’s alignment. When the abdominal muscles are weak other muscles have to compensate for some of the load. This can put strain on the spine, which can potentially lead to back problems. On the other hand, a strong midsection can reduce the risk of low-back pain by helping to keep the pelvis in proper alignment. And strong abdominal muscles are essential for maintaining proper posture.
Developing strong abs via specific exercises that target the midsection will not only assist your overall “body mechanics,” it will enhance your bikini body. Good muscle tone makes the difference between “flab” and “fab.” Even very thin people can have a bulging midsection due to poor muscle tone, but good nutritional practices along with “tummy tightening” exercises and engaging in regular exercise can give you a sexier waistline. Keep reading…
As for diet, moderation is the key. I watch my portion sizes of high-fat foods that are associated with adding inches to the waistline. A few of these include: shortenings, stick margarines, gravies, creamy sauces, potato chips, French fries, donuts and cakes. These foods are often high in trans fat, which has been getting a lot of attention in the press recently.
Another tip for keeping the tummy trim is to eat slowly. It is important to relax while having a meal. We live in a fast-paced world, so it seems we are always “on the go.” But food is meant to nourish our bodies and provide us with energy. Mealtime should be a pleasant experience, so take your time and enjoy it. I have learned to take a few deep breaths before each meal; it helps me to wind down. And remember to chew your food thoroughly. This is important because proper “mastication,” or chewing, aids in the digestive process. Experts recommend chewing your food thoroughly to avoid abdominal bloating.
Many experts suggest avoiding carbonated beverages if you are prone to abdominal bloating. I drink a lot of water and herbal teas. If you are consuming large quantities of beverages that are high in sugar or calories, and if you are not exercising, this can contribute to a thick midsection. Walking regularly or following a regular exercise routine can offset this effect.
There is an old adage that says: The body will rust out before it wears out. I don’t want to end up like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, so I keep my buns moving…
When it comes to exercise, it’s a matter of finding something you enjoy. This way you’ll stick with it – and consistency pays off. Determine your “fitness personality” by trying out a variety of exercises, sports or other activities. Be honest with yourself. For example, I study Karate, but my friend tried it and hated it. So, she started taking water aerobics, and now she’s happy as a clam. (I’m not sure how to determine if a clam is happy or not, but you get my point…)
My favorite exercise for tummy toning is a simple one that can be performed easily throughout the day. I do 3-5 repetitions of this exercise in the morning, afternoon, and evening before bedtime. It goes like this:
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor and knees slightly bent. Do not arch your back; instead, maintain a normal posture. As with any exercise, do not cause pain.
Place your hands on your tummy near the navel area — doing this will allow you to feel the muscles working. Now, take some deep breaths and focus your attention on the muscles in your midsection. Observe your breathing, and observe the movement of the muscles as your breathe. Allow your shoulders and jaw to relax…this is an area that often holds tension. If your teeth are clenched, release the tension from your jaw.
Now, inhale deeply while expanding your midsection as your lungs fill with air. Note that I have used the word “expanding,” – this is the key to the effectiveness of this exercise. You may notice a tendency to pull your tummy in when inhaling, but for this particular exercise, the idea is to push your tummy “out.” Having your hands on your belly will allow you to feel if you are doing it properly. Practice this technique. Learn how to control the muscles in this region. Once you get the hang of it, this will come easy. Try doing this in front of a mirror, standing sideways, to watch how your tummy expands and contracts.
Next, exhale slowly while contracting your abdominal muscles; pulling them in tightly. Hold the muscles in for a count of three, but do not hold your breath, and do not cause pain. Breathe naturally while holding the muscles in. Then relax and breathe normally — allow the abdominal muscles to relax. Observe each breath. Then repeat the exercise. Be sure to focus on controlling the muscles when you are ‘pulling in.’
It has been my experience that this simple exercise is effective for strengthening and toning the midsection. I apply this same technique to other abdominal exercises, such as crunches (which I prefer to do with a large exercise ball), pelvic lifts, and “bicycle maneuvers.”
Dita Von Teese is a burlesque artist known for her exquisite strip-tease routines and her tiny waistline. Dita loves to wear corsets because they accentuate her figure. But she is “nutrition conscious” and she swims nightly for one hour. A corset can only do so much. Once the corset comes off – it’s show time!
So show off your bikini body by having a nicely toned and sexy waistline.
Sexy Waistline, Slim Waistline, Sleek Waistline, Trim Waistline