The unforgiving inseam of the ever-so-trendy skinny jean has been placing unwanted emphasis on our not-so-skinny places. In keeping with current fashion trends, both men and women alike, struggle with protruding waistlines. Do love handles have to come with the trendy turf? Absolutely not. Here is what you need to know to get a handle on your handles once and for all.
First, watch your calories CLOSELY. An extra 100 calories per day will equate to 10 pounds of weight gain over a year’s time. Those extra calories store as fat, and men and women have a genetic disposition to store fat in specific areas of the body. For men, it is the abdominal area medically referred to as the android shape. Women tend to store fat through the hip area referred to as the gynoid shape. It is this genetic tendency paired with excess calories that creates, in popular terms, our love handles.
Try these tips to keep your calories in check:
• Journal the foods you eat everyday paying attention to calories. Websites like www.MyFitnessPal.com or www.LoseIt.com provide a calorie goal and efficient tracking system to keep you honest and aware.
• Control your portions by using smaller plates, bowls and glasses. You will be surprised to find you are satisfied with less when you visually see a full plate or bowl in front of you.
• Do not skip breakfast. Eating a healthy, quality breakfast is key to keeping your appetite in check, which prevents episodes of overeating later in the day or evening. A quality breakfast should include, at a minimum, whole grains like natural oatmeal or cereal, a lean protein like egg whites or low-fat Greek yogurt, and a fruit or vegetable. It should also provide about 25% of your total calorie intake for the day.
Second, tighten and tone your core. The abdominal area is the only muscle group that can be worked out daily. Regular crunches are a good start, but do not forget about the oblique muscles that run up and down the sides of your body’s core. Strengthening your oblique muscles can trim an inch off your waistline in no time.
Third, maintain a consistent cardiovascular exercise routine. Cardiovascular exercise burns those extra calories that would otherwise store as body fat. Regular exercise gives you more freedom in your food choices while still maintaining your weight and health goals.
Fourth, limit your alcohol consumption. Even though the American Heart Association dietary guidelines state 1-2 drinks of alcohol for men and 1 drink for women daily may decrease the risk of heart disease, it does warn that even moderate drinking may lead to obesity. It comes down to calories again, and the fact that excess calories consumed in the form of alcohol store as what? You guessed it, fat! Even extremely active individuals may acquire an extra “coat” around the abdominal area when following the AHA guidelines. Therefore, if you really want to slim down your middle section minimize your alcohol consumption to maximize your fitness goals.
Follow these guidelines, and you will soon be strutting confidently and comfortably in your skinny jeans. Once there, use those jeans as a reminder to stay there. If they start to feel a little tight again, refocus on these healthy tips to shake off those love handles once and for all.