So, how do you achieve and maintain a flatter tummy?! Let’s do some checks!
CHECK YOUR MOUTH ( and what you eat): Dietary advice is quite difficult to give in these parts of the world because what we have limited knowledge about the contents of our foods and amounts of calories. However, general conclusions can be made.
- Reduce the size of food & number of times you eat. Not more than 3 meals per day; absolutely no in-between meals. Replace “hunger periods” with fruits & vegetables. The size of rice or “eba” could be reduced, & the remaining space in your stomach filled with vegetables, fruits, and water!
- Eat less of processed foods. Reduce (or remove) biscuits, cakes, chocolates, sweets, meat-pie, soft-drinks, ”fruit juice”, beverages, canned foods, etc. Be natural! Visit “village kitchens”! Eat whole grains like rice, maize, wheat, millet, oat, etc. Go visit granny!
- Reduce fatty and pasta-like foods. Reduce intake of spaghetti, macaroni, etc. If you must choose, order for fish or chicken instead of beef. Avoid “fries” (like potato chips) as much as possible.
CHECK YOUR MUSCLES (and what you do): Exercise must be regular and consistent. You can’t afford to be indiscipline or discouraged because it takes time to start getting significant results.
- Relevant exercises include brisk walking, skipping, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. Choose the one(s) you would be consistent with. Even though sit-ups and crunches do not directly burn up abdominal fat, they could be added to help strengthen the tummy muscles.
- Adequate exercise is continuous for at least 30 minutes/day for 3-5 days in a week. This must be done consistently. It must become part of your living. Even dancing to a typical African song continuously for at least 30 mins/day for 3 times/week brings amazing results!
- Modify your life-style. If your type of work involves sitting down for long periods of time, try walking around sometimes. Walk with your dog. Learn to breath from your abdomen. Visit a gym. Hire a coach. Enroll in a class. Do something!
CHECK YOUR MIND (and how you feel): Positive and optimistic thinking will generate similar feelings which will help reinforce healthy habits and help you in your dieting and exercise. You must enjoy the whole process; it must be fun! Develop a healthy self- and body-image, and act from there! Things will improve, and even if they don’t, you have joy, which is the ultimate goal!
NOTE: These are general tips. Specific instructions could be gotten from dietitians, gym instructors, and your doctor. Some abdominal fat and excessive weight gain could be associated with disease conditions; don’t delay to seek medical assistance.