Trouble is for many of us, the drawstring, waistband or seat, of our favourite pants feels too tight for comfort after over indulgence during the festive season. It’s time for action, to take control in the battle of the bulge. None of us are perfect and most have some part of our bodies that deserves a little extra attention, the most common area of complaint being the tummy and bottom. Inactivity and all that festive food has caused many of us to pile on the pounds and too much sitting around has allowed our muscles to become slack. Now it’s time to get up off our bottoms, to be more active, and get ourselves back into better shape. Even though it is cold outside ensure you take a brisk half-hour walk 3 times a week and swim, cycle, jog, ski or garden whenever possible. Being active will make your body and complexion glow and help shift that extra weight.
For any exercise to be effective it should be done on a regular basis – little and often, so take the opportunity to exercise anytime, anywhere, home, office, house or garden. Many of us lead hectic lives that make it difficult to get to an
exercise class, or to devote time to working out, even though we’re full of good intentions. But for overall fitness a more active lifestyle must be pursued to get results. There are 3 immediate benefits to our body when we exercise – improved suppleness, strength and stamina, so try to make some form of movement part of your lifestyle. Aim to do be more active by doing something you enjoy and that fits easily into your schedule. Even a brisk walk, enough to make you puff a bit, is simple but effective exercise. Swimming and cycling are both excellent sports, and beneficial for anyone even with physical difficulties because one’s body weight is supported during movement. Whatever you exercise or weight loss plan you decide to do why not get a friend to join you, that way you will motivate one another. When you finish any exercise session or activity such as brisk walking or gardening, it is important you cool down slowly and take the opportunity to stretch out your warm muscles which will improve your flexibility. PS. Don’t forget the daily “tummy crunches” if you want to achieve/maintain a flat stomach! A few minutes of specific muscle work will help improve the shape you’re in, which for most of us goes a long way to helping us look good and feel great.
Learn to use, not abuse your body, and remember you’re never too old to start keeping yourself in good shape. For many people that starts by losing some weight which isn’t always easy but has many health benefits. Obesity is an increasing problem but it may need only a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Many doctors now believe that when it comes to your health, your waist measurement is important.
Being overweight is not only distressing but is also a major health risk, but your health could be at greater risk depending on where you store that fat. A healthy waist circumference for men is less than 94cm (37 inches), and for women it’s less than 80cm (32 inches).
Having a large amount of tummy fat (compared to fat around your bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop diabetes and heart problems. The food we eat contains calories (a measure of energy) and the number of calories we consume in our diet should balance the number of calories we expend (burn up) in our everyday lifestyle, plus a few extra calories for repair to our bodies. Most overweight people have got this balance wrong and excess weight can be blamed on excess calories. Eating more healthily and doing more physical activity is the answer. There are many commercial diets and weight loss clubs offering advice on how to stop piling the pounds, to help you lose weight and to eat more healthily. To discover for free how to lose weight for life take a look at the NHS excellent website and download the NHS weight loss plan. This 12 week diet and weight loss guide combines advice on healthier eating and physical activity with tips like cutting down on calories by making simple healthy food swaps, and increasing your daily activity levels with 10-minute workouts, how to avoid temptation in diet danger zones and how to eat well on the cheap.
Based on guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in order to lose weight, the average person should reduce their daily
Calorie intake by 600kcal. This helps you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) each week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance. For most men, this means sticking to a calorie limit of no more than 1,900kcal a day, and 1,400kcal for most women. If you do go over your limit one day simply reduce your calorie intake on the following days!
VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Do we need to take supplements? Medical professionals tell us that in most cases, sticking to a healthy, varied and balanced diet will provide your body with all of the energy, vitamins and minerals you need. Specific groups of people may have special requirements, but for most of us vitamin and mineral tablets are not necessary unless they have been prescribed. Fat-soluble vitamins are: vitamin D vitamin E vitamin K but you don’t need to eat foods containing them every day. This is because your body stores them in your liver and fatty tissues for future use, however too much fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful. These vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods and animal products, such as vegetable oils, milk and dairy foods, eggs, liver, oily fish and butter.
Water-soluble vitamins – vitamin C, the B vitamins and folic acid are not stored,
your body gets rid of excess when you spend a penny. These vitamins are found in fruit, vegetables, potatoes, grains, milk and dairy foods but can be destroyed by heat, exposure to air and cooking. Essential minerals needed by our bodies include calcium and iron, found in meat, cereals (including cereal products such as bread), fish, milk and dairy foods, vegetables, fruit (especially
dried fruit) and nuts. Taking extra vitamins and minerals may seem a good addition to your diet but be aware that in tablet form they are more concentrated than in food, and more is not always better. If you’re concerned your diet is lacking in certain vitamins or minerals talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
DRESSING TIPS FOR DISGUISING A TUM
It’s not trivial to care about how you look but it pays to know the shape you’re in when it comes to shopping for clothes, particularly at this time of the year when most of us are carrying those few extra pounds! Choosing what to wear has never been easier and choice is limitless. Unlike previous generations we are no longer bound by convention and are free to wear whatever we want, and with no need to conform can express our personalities. However, you can avoid costly mistakes by first taking a long hard look at yourself in a full length mirror and being honest about those bulges! Chances are that after indulging many of us fall into one of two shapes. For simplicity I term them – the Apple and the Pear shape! The Apple being full and rounded both top and bottom, the Pear being smaller on top and heavier on the tum and bum. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” that apply to both shapes to help disguise that large tum.
First some “do’s”
• Choose skirts and trousers with side not front fastening.
• Vertical stripes or effects create a long look
• Jackets need to be long enough to cover the bottom
• Long fitted skirts or coats flaring at hemline are flattering
• Small prints are more slimming
• Slim fitted skirts narrow at hem look lovely with ¾ length jackets
• Long tunic tops with trousers or skirt in one colour create elongated effect
• Sarongs can be flattering, as can Palazzo pants and flared trousers
• Vertical stripes worn with high calf boots give an illusion of height
• Long with flippy hemline look good worn with high heeled calf length boots or formally with high court shoes or dainty high sandals
Now some “don’ts to avoid disasters!
• Fussy detail or turn ups on trousers and sandals or shoes with ankle straps or lacing. Both make legs look shorter and bottoms bigger!
• Bias cut garments, too clingy and unkind to bulges
• Short jackets stopping at widest part of hips will emphasise them
• A line skirts are unflattering to tums and bums
• Net, frills, fuss and gathers, large prints and horizontal stripes look larger
• Skin tight drainpipe jeans with front zips and pockets emphasises tum
• High waisted trousers will push up rolls of overflowing fat
• Low waisted hipsters let it all hang out!
• Belts, buckles and buttons will emphasise tum
• Gathers and baggy pants may be comfortable but hardly flattering!