Toning (and Loving) Your Stomach

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Go ahead and feel your belly. Come on, do it. Does it stick out further than you’d like? If no, congrats for being so fit and/or being so comfortable with your body.

But, if you cringe when you grab your tummy, you’re not alone. Look at any women’s magazine when you’re in line at the grocery store and you’ll undoubtedly see stories on how to flatten your abs and get a desirable bikini stomach. But is it really possible to get tight abs like celebrities and models?

Motherhood changes you—abs included. Unless you’ve been blessed with model-like genetics or you get plastic surgery, wave goodbye to those unrealistic Jennifer Aniston abs. Don’t sulk, though–you can still tone your stomach through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The amount your stomach bulges depends largely on genetics. Some women are naturally predisposed to belly fat—and this is okay. You can still get your stomach in shape for your body. Make sure you eat right by loading up on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while cutting out refined flour, excess sugar and foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Aim to do 30 minutes of cardio exercises five times a week. Incorporate strength training exercises to build muscle, which ultimately replaces and burns fat. You can do crunches but keep in mind that they build muscles, not flatten your stomach. Remember to check with your health care provider before starting an exercise routine.

All in all, stay fit, be realistic and love yourself.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Perfecto Insecto

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About Sarah Valek

Sarah Valek is a freelance writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She has written numerous articles on alternative parenting and the challenges of raising a vegan child in a meat-eating world. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and art from Ithaca College. She spends her days drinking soy lattes and taking her son bird-watching.