Tackling the Muffin Top

After bingeing out and being lazy, I now have a muffin belly. What fitness regime and diet should I follow? - Tanisha Nigam, Mumbai, 31.

A: Abdominal fat is the most common problem related to weight gain and also the most difficult to get rid of. A 'muffin belly' may not only look ugly but is also associated with problems like type 2 diabetes and heart ailments. Abdominal weight gain is largely due to a high-calorie diet, lack of exercise, and high stress levels.

One has to attack the fat through a three-dimensional plan which includes nutrition, cardio and abdominal exercise.
Have smaller meals: Never skip a meal (especially not breakfast); eat smaller portions five to six times a day. Your diet should have low carbs, low fat and no starch and sugar. Avoid canned juices, aerated drinks and alcohol. Drink at least two to three litres of water daily.
Shed calories with cardio:
Hydrate well before, during and after the cardio workout. Warm up before the exercise and cool down after.

Learn about the benefits of exercise on the intellect!Learn about the benefits of exercise on the intellect!

Cardio exercises like jogging, swimming, aerobics or dancing for upto an hour a day will help you burn excess calories. Doing crunches while lying on a mat or using a stability ball for 15-20 minutes a day helps tone the abdominal muscles. While the focus is on your abs, do not neglect your lower back. Some back-strengthening exercises are required as well to balance the muscular strength in and around the trunk area. Do these exercises under supervision as they need to be correctly executed.

More tips on great workouts and effective diet plans on our Health & Fitness section!

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