Bingo Wings? Thunder Thighs? Love Handles?

Stefanie Lee | 3 Feb 2015

We bring you a personal training plan from Scott Laidler and explain how you can reduce fat in problem areas with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.

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Credit: Daily Mirror

Most women have hard-to-shift fat spots that they’d love to lose. Top of the list is excess weight on our hips, closely followed by outer thighs, tummy fat and upper arm fat, according to a study by cosmetic clinic Lovelite.

While these stubborn bulges are largely down to genetics, our hormones can also govern where we store fat, explains Max Tomlinson, author of Target Your Fat Spots and co-founder of MaxHealth.

And hormonal imbalance can be caused by poor diet, stress, environmental pollution and lack of effective exercise, he says.

He believes that each fat spot – whether it’s stomach fat, bra-bulge, big thighs and bottom fat or bingo wings – is caused by the action or inaction of a specific hormone.

The good news is that you CAN reduce fat in problem areas with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.

Follow our guide, which comes complete with a specific “killer” exercise from personal trainer Scott Laidler.

Flabby Belly and Muffin Top

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Credit: Daily Mirror

A paunch may indicate a problem with the adrenal glands, explains Max. Unmanaged long-term stress causes the body to produce too much cortisol which can raise blood glucose levels. This triggers the release of insulin, which instructs the body to store excess glucose as stubborn deposits of fat around the stomach.

Diet: “Stubborn fat feeds off sugar and starch,” explains nutritionist Miguel Toribio Mateas.

Cut down on stodgy foods, and eat more colourful fresh vegetables, particularly the green and leafy varieties, and lean protein. Keep blood glucose levels stable in the face of stress-induced cortisol surges, advises Max. Increase intake of slow-burn, low-GI foods (wholegrains, vegetables, pulses, fish and meat) and cut out high-GI foods (processed foods, cereals, sugar, dairy products, dried fruit, beer, wine, fruit juice and coffee).

Cook with ginger – it’s been shown to help manage blood sugar levels as effectively as drugs, and without any of the side effects. And having eggs for breakfast will leave you feeling fuller for longer.

General exercise: Jogging, swimming and cycling

The secret to losing abdominal fat is cardiovascular exercise – not crunches. While curls and sit-ups build muscle, it can stay hidden below stubborn fat. Jogging, cycling or swimming will increase your metabolic rate and burn excess fat in this region. But don’t overdo it – too much exercise can also increase cortisol production.

Killer exercise: The Plank

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Credit: Daily Mirror

  • Begin on hands and knees then distribute your weight between your toes and elbows, keeping your body straight and pulling your stomach in.
  • Do not allow hips to move to the side, drop or raise.
  • Hold position for at least 30 seconds.

Lifestyle tips: Relax! Anything that helps you to unwind reduces stress levels and breaks the hormonal cycle that is causing your body to lay down belly fat. Studies show that reducing stress will also decrease cravings for calorie-dense foods.

A good quality fish oil or omega oil will help burn fat and slow the absorption of sugar through the gut.

Thunder Thighs

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Credit: Daily Mirror

Genetics are usually to blame for a pear shape but hormones can also play a part. Max says: “The female hormone oestrogen promotes fat storage around the top of the legs, and many of us are exposed to high levels of both natural oestrogens in water and farmed meat and synthetic versions – chemicals in plastics and non-stick coatings – in the environment.”

Diet: Eat more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains as they contain special substances which bind to, and help excrete, excess oestrogen, advises Max. Cut down on alcohol, painkillers and drinks laden with chemical preservatives and colouring agents as these hamper the liver’s efforts to clear excess oestrogens. And eat live natural yogurt to boost the friendly bacteria in your gut which help clear oestrogen via the gastrointestinal tract.

A study found that more than two cups of coffee a day can trigger higher oestrogen levels in women.

Diet every other day, suggests Miguel. Research shows this helps burn fat and keep muscle. On the day you “diet” you could have green juice for breakfast, lean protein and salad for lunch, and cooked green vegetables and pulses for dinner, with minimum snacks, preferably fruit.

General exercise: Aerobics, climbing and power walking

“Power walking works thighs, calves and buttocks, burns calories and promotes lean muscles,” explains Lovisa Nilsson, nutritionist at Lifesum. High intensity interval training, with squats and lunges, are an efficient way to tone this area. Climbing, hiking in the hills, or treadmill walking on an incline will also help.

Killer exercise: Hip-lifts

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Credit: Daily Mirror

Lie on your back with arms at your sides with your knees bent and feet on the floor.

  • Lift hips toward the ceiling. Hold and lower back down.
  • Repeat for 60 seconds, squeezing your bum at the top of the range of motion.
  • To make it harder, extend one leg at the top for 5sec.
  • Keeping hips up, place foot back on the floor then lower your hips. Repeat for 30sec on one leg then swap legs.

Lifestyle tips: If you are on the pill or HRT containing high oestrogen consider talking to your GP about alternatives. Filter water to reduce oestrogen.

Read more at Daily Mirror.

 

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