From Flab to a Fab Stomach

No, you are not crazy. There is a reason why most of your fat seems to congregate in one area. For me, that area would be my stomach. I am sure many of you have the same problem: your center of fat gravity tends to circulate around your midsection – the most seemingly obvious part of your body in terms of flab. Do you often feel that there is a bulls-eye around your tummy saying “fat” in big red letters? Come on, I know some of you do.

The belly seems to be a magnetic force drawing in that extra cupcake you sneaked at 11:00 p.m. or that jelly doughnut you had so early in the morning you thought your stomach wouldn’t notice. I’ll tell you a secret: your belly always knows. It is just waiting to suck up fat and put it on display. Before I depress you too much, let me just say, there is hope!

Good Housekeeping just did a recent spread on what it endearingly termed “belly fat.” Yes, what you have feared all those years is acually true. Some foods are more likely to end up as “belly fat” as opposed to “thigh” or “butt” fat. Delia A. Hammock, M.S., R.D., of Good Housekeeping, describes four ways to detain – or if you’re lucky – avoid belly bulge.

1. Cut back on saturated fat. A Johns Hopkins School of Medicine survey showed that adults who ate the most saturated fat (which is found in butter, fatty meat and hydrogenated oil) had the most belly fat.

2. Do dairy. Calcium-packed dairy foods may crank up the body’s fat-burning abilities. In a study at the University of Tennessee, dieters who had three servings of fat-free yogurt a day lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more stomach fat than those on a similar low-calorie diet who didn’t eat yogurt.

3. Eat more fiber. In a Harvard study, men who added about 12 grams of fiber to their daily diet – about one serving of a high-fiber cereal – trimmed their middle by a quarter inch.

4. Stress less. Cortisol, a hormone that’s released when you’re agitated, may direct fat to the belly. So take a breather!

-Delia A. Hammock, M.S., R.D.

Let’s analyze this list. First of all, as Ms. Hammock mentions, breathe! I know that these two weeks before Thanksgiving present huge workloads, but you do not need extra flab in addition to your late-night study sessions and countless pages of reading. Try to remain calm. If not for you, do it for your stomach.

Secondly, I was particularly surprised by the drastic difference that yogurt made in dieting. I know for a fact that the C-Store has Dannon light yogurts in many different varieties. Close your eyes as you pass the candy bins and load your bag with healthy dairy products.

Embrace fiber! There have been countless studies done showing the relationship between fiber and weight loss. After careful research I have found the four best breakfast cereals that you can eat at Frank – because let’s face it, most of us do not have time to make breakfast or go downtown to eat. Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats and Cracklin’ Oat Bran are four types of cereals that are served at Frank almost daily. So instead of filling up a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, go for the Mini Wheats. They both taste good and have tons of sugar. If you do not like sugary cereals, any one of the other three choices is a great way to control your “belly fat.”

Lastly, saturated fats are a bad idea. Not only are saturated fats usually found in delicious foods, but now there is evidence that your stomach might suffer the most. How unfair. If you want to trim down your stomach, try some of these suggestions. You can beat the Belly Beast!