We all get a belly from time to time especially mums who may have a bit of a mum tum as part of their post-baby body. But exactly what causes that extra bit of belly fat that overhangs and how do we get rid of it?
One of the most frustrating parts about losing weight is looking in the mirror and seeing what is commonly termed as ‘the overhang’, ‘the pouch’ or most affectionately of all, ‘the mum tum’.
The good news is that you can leap over this final weight loss hurdle – the bad news is that you’re going to have to work pretty hard for it. And no it’s not just about doing 100 sit-ups every day.
Want to know what a mum tum is all about and how exactly you can go from mummy tummy to flat tummy? Read on…
The most important thing to understand is that belly fat is made up of not one, but two types of fat – which is why losing belly fat and getting a flat stomach is tougher than losing fat off our arms or legs (which is made up of only one layer of fat).
The top layer is called the subcutaneous fat and this sits on top and is the soft, cushy fat that you can touch, feel and see staring back at you in the mirror.
Below this is the underlying fat which is what’s called the visceral fat and this surrounds and protects our vital organs. If you have too much visceral fat it can cause health implications such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Subcutaneous fat simply stores unused calories around our waistline in the event that one day you will be threatened with starvation and your body will need an excess calorie supply to survive.
Basically, to lose the ‘belly overhang’ you need to overcome thousands of years of human evolution dating back to caveman times when the threat of over eating was less prevalent.
Visceral fat, however, is much more active below the surface which plays havoc with your insulin resistance levels and can lead to more complicated health issues, which is yet another very good reason to work at losing “overhang” stomach fat.
And by following a nutritionally balanced healthy eating and exercise plan like on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge – you can do this!
Below these layers of belly fat are your tummy muscles which may be getting a work out from sit-ups or squats or other exercises but this may not cause the overhang or jelly belly to disappear.
The key to losing your mummy tummy is very simple: You need to move – A LOT AND OFTEN!
This does not mean doing endless crunches, sit-ups and planks – although these are great exercises when included into a well rounded diet and exercise routine, you cannot use them to isolate weight loss or target areas.
As such isolating only the abdominals will have absolutely no bearing on the removal of the fat above it as the abdominal muscle and the fat above it are not directly related, other than by being closely positioned anatomically.
The simple fact is that fat is stored energy (calories) just waiting to be burned whether it is located on your stomach, legs, bum or arms, and in 99% of cases when you exercise the last fat to get burned is from your bum and stomach!
Here’s a sneak peek of one of our Core Workouts that will help build your abdominal muscles available on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!
The areas that it will first start to burn is often genetically predetermined, but for most people and especially women the bum and stomach areas are the last places to see the fat burning take place.
Which can sometimes lead to women feeling self-conscious in a bikini and seeking out a quick fix when what they need to do is be patient with their bodies, especially if they are dealing with baby bellies.
This is why abdominal muscles are often the last muscles to make an appearance on your new lighter body as they’ve been hiding under both your subcutaneous and visceral belly fat even though you’ve performed a thousand crunches!
That six pack or flat tummy may just be the hardest thing to accomplish on your weight loss goals, but it’s not impossible, it just takes time, whether it be six weeks or six months, patience and a plan.
Check out Cicily’s transformation and how she lost the Belly Overhang – you can read her story here
If you’ve read up to this point you’ve probably realised there is no ONE miracle exercise or quick fix that will remove excess post-pregnancy overhang.
However, the great news is that if you combine multiple exercises such as walking, jogging, squats, push-ups, crunches your belly will eventually reduce in size.
The key point to remember is that it will take time but if you keep going, it will be worth it!
And remember small amounts of progress is still progress so don’t ever ever give up and remember to take measurements too and don’t just live by the scales.
Concerned about diastasis or muscle separation here’s some exercises to help.