If you feel like any extra calories you eat go straight to your belly or thighs, you're not imagining things. Those are usually the areas where you store fat because of your genes, hormones, age, lifestyle, and other factors. Your body tends to hoard calories as fat to keep you alive and safe. The challenge is learning how to get rid of that extra fat.
I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on nutrition, but what mid 20-30s female doesn't suffer from constant pressure to be as skinny and fit as possible!? My first marriage was falling apart when I decided to pick up racing, and the training was a good escape. I had managed to get a little more fit with P90X but I really enjoyed my YMCA family more than Tony and sweating it out in a garage. Plus, I grew up in the south and truly enjoy experiencing food wherever we are (my mom should have been a pro, but my little brother is a chef! We really love to eat) I managed my fitness with Y memberships and what I thought was "balanced eating" but even in triathlons I needed a racing coach and a separate nutritionist. I know I was guilty of the "I rode 40 miles and ran 10" I can eat what I want mindset and luckily my mid 30's seemed to allow for that! Even though I experienced success and thought that the racing got me into the best shape I had been, I still felt all over the place with fitness and nutrition. Add in migraines, less an less "quality" sleep, fatigue and a metabolic panel suddenly all over the place, I was ready for something that was consistent, manageable, and did a lifestyle improvement rather than a quick fix.
We also love yoga, hula-hooping (yep, great for the abs) and the good standby “Abs of Steel” videos, and trust me the outfits in the 1990’s video will increase the cardio aspect just from laughter alone! There are also a slew of videos online, find one you love and can stick to every few days and you’ll be toning as you shed the unwanted belly fat.
Shaping is a behavioral technique in which you select a series of short-term goals that get closer and closer to the ultimate goal (e.g., an initial reduction of fat intake from 40 percent of calories to 35 percent of calories, and later to 30 percent). It is based on the concept that "nothing succeeds like success." Shaping uses two important behavioral principles: (1) consecutive goals that move you ahead in small steps are the best way to reach a distant point; and (2) consecutive rewards keep the overall effort invigorated.
Nuts are an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They're high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Studies suggest nuts can promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation. They're also rich in calories, so limit your portions. If you have to get them out of their shell, you'll slow down and not eat as much.
All of this is important to understand because while the basics of changing your body composition are simple –energy balance– each person’s personal psychology and physiology will differ. Someone who’s never exercised before and has a lot of fat to lose will have different physiological and psychological requirements than someone who stopped training for a while and gained some body fat in the interim; conversely, a lean beginner is going to be in a different place than an overweight beginner.