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Marsh column: Advice on how to get rid of belly fat

By Ester Marsh
For the Salisbury Post
How do I get rid of belly fat? I believe that is the number one question in any YMCA, fitness center or weight loss center.
With this crazy weather, it is finally warm and almost time to hit the pools. (Fortunately, there are many bathing suits out there which flatter any shape or size)
I wish I had the “magic potion” to get rid of belly fat, but I don’t. Again, it takes hard work, eating sensibly and working out the whole body to get in shape (more importantly to be healthy).
Anyone can lose weight. When I speak for groups in the community and ask who has lost weight before, most hands will go up. The craziest diets are out there: no this or no that, lots of this and none of that. And how about the diets where you only eat 400-500 calories? Your body can’t survive on those kinds of calories. Typically, an average female needs a minimum of about 1500 calories a day and an average male about 2000 calories. Of course, it all depends on age, weight and activity level. I can tell you this: 400 or 500 calories is not enough. Even when you are able to stick to this diet and you lose weight, you eventually have to come back to the real world. Losing weight is doable, being on a diet is workable but keeping it off is the hardest thing to do, as most of you already have found out…
I know when the results are quick and noticeable, it makes it easier to stay on whatever diet you are on, but eventually real life will kick in again.
When you lose weight, your fat cells shrink. You can’t get rid of them unless you have liposuction. (That is a whole other column) and when you get off that diet you are on, those fat cells are waiting to fill up again. And, on top of that, you can make more fat cells your whole life. Sound familiar? Lose the weight, gain it back and more.
It’s a vicious circle.
My advice to lose that belly fat again is to continue to exercise and change your eating lifestyle. That’s right, not a diet, a lifestyle change. That belly fat/weight will not come off as fast as before but when you are losing it, 1 to 2 lbs a week, your chance of keeping it off will be much greater. When you are really having a hard time eating sensible, Weight Watchers is my favorite weight loss program. They will teach you real life sensible eating. And if you have a smart phone, there are all kinds of apps out there to help you with counting calories and how many you burn such as “My Fitness Pal.”
Besides exercising, eating a balanced diet, watch your posture. By standing up straight, shoulders back, belly tight, it looks like you took off 5 pounds instantly. Be proud and love your body, strive for health and the rest will come.
Ester Marsh ACSM, Cpt

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