Battling Belly Fat - A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Battling Belly Fat

belly-fat

This might be April of '09.. not sure.

I hate watching stories about health and obesity on the news. Why? Because to signify the “dreaded plague of obesity” in America, there’s always these video clips of people – never showing their faces, so we’re supposed to presume they have no identity… or, well, no head – and their bellies. You might get a little thigh in the shot, maybe if the cameraman can find a person walking around with a massive wedgie in their derriere you’ll get that too… but you always get the “Santa belly.” Never fails.

That, against the “my-tummy-is-so-flat-because-Photoshop-is-my-personal-trainer” images we see in the average magazine? It’s left us all hunting for an answer to how to avoid looking like the former, and get as close to the latter as possible.

Well… I can help. Sort of. I have three tips that have helped me shrink – and continue to shrink – my tummy down from what it was before to what you see now… and hopefully it will take me to the competition-level tummy that I seek.

Skip the processed foods.

Yes, yes, respect my scarf!

I know, I know.. I harp on this all day, but this time, I have very good reason. Two of ‘em, actually.

First, processed foods are notorious for being devoid of fiber. I mean, there is little to no fiber in processed foods at all. What is fiber? It’s a substance in our food that your system is unable to digest, but it serves a very important purpose. Because the digestive system is unable to do anything with it, it basically serves the purpose of cleaning out your digestive tract and pushing the food out of your intestines into your colon… eventually leaving your system.

Yes, that means it helps you poop.

Think about it – all the food you take in, how much actually comes out? How much of it is still sitting in your intestines? Yuck. Take a look at where your digestive system sits: right in that belly area! I’m tellin’ you. Skip the processed foods, get your fiber in, treat your insides properly.

Secondly, you’ll be avoiding the sugar by default. As I wrote before, because sugar’s original purpose in nature was to draw us to the foods with the vitamins and minerals we need (think fruits), we do love it and can become addicted to it. But because it always came packaged with other vitamins and minerals, we were also able to get full from it, too. In a processed food item, that isn’t the case. It’s basically empty calories, meant to help you feel “belly full.” So because the sugar isn’t serving it’s original purpose, we’re eating too much of it. Couple that with the fact that since there’s no fiber to push the stuff out of your system… it’s a lose-lose for the belly. And again, like I wrote before… when you take in an excess of something, the body stores it… as fat. Not to mention, since high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is in almost every processed food you buy, it’s hard to escape.

I don’t even want to go into that study that says HFCS contributes directly to belly fat. Not at all. :)

So we’ve covered dropping the sugar and upping the fiber… what else could there be?

Get moving! No, really. Get some activity in your life. Changing your diet will help you avoid putting on extra fat, but you’ve got to get rid of the stuff you’ve already got… and being active is the best way to do that. Run! If you’re not a runner, walk. Hit the elliptical! Jumping jacks! Something.

Try to get your crunches in. I’m far too proud of the lines forming in my tummy to ignore what a good set of crunches can do for the tummy. Yes, regular ol’ plain ol’ crunches. Some days I add a little weight to my chest to make it more difficult, other days I just go a little longer in my sets. But the ab exercises are a must!

Figure out how this works into your life, and get on it! I know I am!

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

90 Comments

  1. Crooky

    June 10, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    You KNOW I am sooooo paying attention to this entry. I’m so ready to seriously reduce “Lil Crooky”. She’s getting on my nerves in the WORST WAY.

    I need to find some breakfast alternatives that don’t require egg whites or cottage cheese. Suggestions?

    • Erika

      June 10, 2010 at 1:05 PM

      I’ve got two posts chock full of breakfast suggestions – oatmeal seems to win out (as well as the notion of making your own granola and using it as cereal – make a batch one day and eat it throughout the week, lol.)

      Q&A Wednesday: Oatmeal, Sweets and Workouts & What’s For Breakfast?

    • Michelle

      April 18, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      I’ve been following your site for some time…and for some reason i kept falling off the wagon. I cook a lot at home because I got tired of eating fast food. I completely gave up things along the way, calling it my slow transition. I gave up fast food, no more KFC, McDonalds, or Chipotle. I completly gave up Super Sweet Tea, and can now drink hot/cold tea with little to now sweetner. I gave up my beloved Dr.Pepper, Chips, Lunch meats, and anything with Nitrates.

      I started cooking at home even if it wasn’t clean. I started making the things that I got from restaurants. My Clean version of Veggie Benedict, all that stuff, even takeout, and pizzas. I must say that I haven’t been 100 perfect but these small changes are definitely helping me out a lot. While clean eating, I’ve learned about complex carbs, and new ways to enjoy my favorite foods, and i’m become painfully aware of how much crack is in processed resturant foods with my Eat this Not that cookbook. Our family had bonded by cooking together. My only issue is getting active at this point. I’m so bored by anything in the gym. The only things that give me life is Zumba, and even thats getting boring. I’m trying all these things now, and it’s just ….I don’t know. Anyway your blog gives me motivation, and your tweets as well. So keep it up!

      • Cindy

        May 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        This sounds like you’re writing my life.

        I can identify with the clean eating and all those things but what really resonates with me is the difficulty in maintaining a high activity level. I am still loving Zumba though, and have added using the elliptical half hour daily. I intend to increase to 1 hour in the coming week.

      • Andrea

        May 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM

        Ooh Michelle,
        Giving up Chipotles is hard for me. I’ve lost thirty pounds since December. I do still eat out but I make wiser choices. I had Chipotle tonight, but I had half a bowl, heavy grilled veggies, light brown rice, with chicken, salsa, light cheese and lettuce. In terms of working out, try some at home DVD’s. That’s been my main source of working out. I don’t like sticking to any one workout plan, so I mix it up. I really like Sean T’s Rockin Body and some of Billy Blanks newer DVD’s that can be picked up at Target or Walmart. Jillian has good ones too. I also walk/run to some of my old school jams helps . I’m kinda on a New Edition kick right now.

        • Sharon Moss

          June 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM

          I understand the boredom with doing the same exercise daily. I have become more better at sticking to my exercise commitment by putting together repertoire of exercises Ienjoy I am a walker either on the treadmill or outdoors, sometimes I run and I am learning to swim to add this to my exercise routine. I also I have fitness videos and purchased pedometer to log my steps, my aerobic steps, my time, my mileage and how many calories I have burned. These things have kept me from being bored and returning to my old habit of being a exercise drop out. I am now considering adding Zumba to my routine. Are the steps difficult to learn? I don’t want to bother myself with learning difficult dance moves, when I exercise I want to be able to get my workout in and move on. I

    • Ebony

      June 13, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      How about juicing? I started juicing about 8 weeks ago to incorporate breakfast into my diet, and I sometimes do it for lunch because it’s very simple and easy to plan for; since then I’ve lost about 25 pounds without working out. It’s summer now and I want to firm everything up and get crazy fit and have muscles, so I’m getting my exercise on.

      For me it was easier to first make a change in my diet and then move on to make changes in my activity level. I’m looking forward to getting my exercise on and to getting fit.

    • Lana

      April 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      I just have to say Thank you and thank you again! I’m so sick of this belly. I take kickboxing and now have hip hop abs. I do see a difference, but not loosing it the way I would like. I was 192 pounds and now I’m 176 I need to come down more. I’m skinny at the bottom and big up top. My waist is starting to come in nice and I have a nice dip in my back. However, that front view is still yucky. I’m 44 and will be 45 in July! My friend is 44 and she wears a two piece, what I would do just to bare my tummy again. I would like to see other things without going to the mirror, lol! I never thought about process foods. Now I do it fresh fruits and vegetables. I also Drink plenty of water, but I don’t make home made everything. I eat on letters for breakfast if you can share recipes that would be great. I heard crunches work, I guess I need to do sets everyday. I do them, but not a lot since I was working out. I took a pic, just for me to see my progress. Thanks for the encouragement.

      • Erika Nicole Kendall

        April 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM

        Crunches build abdominal muscles for six-packs; they don’t burn belly fat.

  2. Elita @ Blacktating

    June 10, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Also people need to keep in mind that spot reduction is a myth. You can do crunches all day, but if you’re 50 pounds overweight and not doing any cardio, the crunches are useless. You’re just firming up muscles that will be well hidden under a layer of fat. The only way to get rid of a belly is aerobic exercise, AKA cardio to burn the fat. Once you lose the weight, crunches are going to tone up your muscles.

    • Erika

      June 10, 2010 at 1:13 PM

      I agree with you, but with a caveat.

      I know a lot of people say that one shouldn’t work on developing muscle “until the fat is gone,” but my question is… “when is that?” According to that logic, I should STILL be doing cardio, not muscle development to flatten my belly.. and we see that doing the opposite of that works well for me.

      Not only that, but there are all-day benefits to the development of muscle – burning quite a few more calories during the day, to be exact – that can be taken advantage of.. couple that with the fact that (in my mind) the skin needs something to conform to when the fat is gone… it makes sense for the fat to melt away and allow the skin to conform to what is starting off to look like a great body underneath. I’m tellin’ ya… I would’ve looked like a bag of skin and been mad as sin had I not thought to start muscle development early. Some day, I’ll have to tell the story of my thighs – I could lean forward and the skin would… well… lean forward, too. All bad. So because of my experiences, I can’t co-sign that.

      So you’re right – you cannot choose where you burn fat AT ALL, and a person who is over 50lbs overweight is going to have a hard time seeing the fruits of their crunching labor, but muscle development is never useless to me.

      • Kaneka

        August 20, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        “Not only that, but there are all-day benefits to the development of muscle – burning quite a few more calories during the day, to be exact – that can be taken advantage of.. couple that with the fact that (in my mind) the skin needs something to conform to when the fat is gone… it makes sense for the fat to melt away and allow the skin to conform to what is starting off to look like a great body underneath.”

        I totally agree. I started my journey in March, and though I have only lost about 27 lbs I have lost so many inches and gained lots of strength. I started this journey not just to “get small” but to get FIT. To me being fit means being strong, eating clean, and also not being the slowest person when the zombie apocalypse hits (hahahahahaha). I have been working with a trainer who helps me to focus on lifting, HIIT workouts, and building strength overall in addition to cardio. So for me the process has been a bit slower, I see people who have been working out the same amount of time and they have dropped almost double the poundage that I have, but I am also preparing my body for what it will look like when all of those pounds are gone.

        Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Starr

    June 10, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    Thank you for this post. This is my problem area that I’m battling and I know I don’t get enough fiber in my diet. It’s like my tummy doesn’t match the rest of my body because I get smaller afterthe belly lol. So I know it’s diet. I’m slowly but surely cutting out bad habits. Thanks!!!

  4. Tiffany

    June 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    I do what I can to get my 21 grams and I keep fruits in the house at all times, whether it’s fresh, dried or frozen. My only problem is getting active. I think for the fact that I am constantly on the go with the kids, by the time I sit I’m to tired. I am hoping though your site will help motivate me a little more. You look great, keep up the work.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate
    Tiffany

    • Erika

      June 10, 2010 at 1:19 PM

      Thanks! How many little ones do you have? I used to take my daughter for walks around our complex, and then I kinda just started throwing her on my back and taking off running, LOL!

      Then again, I’m also a proponent for tossing all the kids on a shared leash and letting them sort it out after that. LOLOL

      (Just kidding… sorta. Ha!)

      There are ways to get in a little cardio here and there that you can try to take advantage of if you ever manage to get up before the little ones, or can sneak away five minutes to yourself. I know it’s tough as a Mommy to set aside time for yourself – and as a Mother of only ONE heathen, I would lose my mind couldn’t understand your struggle – but if you can pull together a quick five minutes, you’ve got this. :)

  5. Crooky

    June 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Oh, did I mention that I despise oatmeal and all that it stands for?
    *lol* However, I will give it the old “college try” yanno?

    • Erika

      June 10, 2010 at 1:38 PM

      LOL I hated it too, until I learned how to freak it – fruit, cinnamon, a drop (and I do mean a drop) of maple syrup, jam, apple chunks or apple butter – and then, I was golden.

      I mean, there are other options, but you just have to get creative. I’ve learned that in most cases, it’s not necessarily the food that I dislike, just the way it was prepared – what it was paired with, whether it was processed or not, whether it was seasoned properly – so just play a little with it, and we can go from there!

    • JazzFest

      January 24, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      A friend of mine hates oatmeal because of the soft texture. She puts quinoa, cranberries, and cinnamon in a rice cooker and she loves it! I’m assuming quinoa would be more expensive than oatmeal though?

  6. tisha

    June 10, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    *going on my walk right now* lol. i KNOW that all i really need to do is move–well, and get more fiber–but my belly isn’t THAT big (though i call myself fat and i need to stop that. :() and what i have will go away easily if i just start moving.

    it’s been a bad two weeks but…

    *yeah, going on my walk right now.*

    • Erika

      June 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

      *gives you the side eye* We don’t call ourselves names around here. Unacceptable. You’re the bomb.. belly or not. Focus on that. As punishment, I’ma need you to speed walk that walk.

      Chop chop! *claps hands* And make sure you pick those legs up high! LOL

    • dancing diva denise

      June 21, 2011 at 7:08 PM

      I am encouraged with all the comments of the ladies. I began walking in the last two weeks and is considering introducing weights. Do you think it is to early? I have not lost much weight but inches are coming off.

  7. SingLikeSassy

    June 10, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    I hate oatmeal, too, but I do get breakfast in and it’s usually some whole grain something and a fruit of some kind and I have noticed the difference in my tummy area.

    Right now, I’m working on being consistent with cardio. I figure as long as I can go outside with the good weather I’m going to use that to my advantage. I do try pushups and crunches at home, tho I’m still working on my form for the former. Once the days grow shorter and colder, I’m going to join a gym and really get into the muscle sculpting.

  8. Ashley D

    June 10, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Of course I needed this post! But of course I have a question: …I don’t have to kill myself with situps?! LOL

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM

      No pain, no gain – you should feel a little bit of a sting, but nothing so bad that you’ve got to call 911. Remember, it’s about building muscle – if you never test your muscle’s strength or push it to the limit, you can’t do that at all. Get it in!

  9. Jasmine

    June 10, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    First, as a newbie, I must say, this site rocks!
    As someone who’s lost about 80lbs over the past year, I can definately co-sign on being active to loose belly fat. Without cardio, crunches and sit ups are pointless. When I first started working out, I lost weight all over and then I became more defined from the top down (shoulders,waist,stomach, hips). I jog/run now and the belly and hips are getting smaller and smaller!

    Another suggestion for oatmeal is pumpkin pie spice. Its in the spice aisle at your local grocery store and has nutmeg,allspice, etc. (It has no sugar.) When added to oatmeal, it tastes like pumpkin pie! Dessert for breakfast is the best.

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM

      Thank you!

      I’m going to have to try that pumpkin pie spice – last time I tried to put nutmeg in my oatmeal, I almost choked. LOLOL

    • KJ

      November 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      I use apple pie spice. It’s delicious!

  10. JoAnna

    June 10, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Hi.

    Again, great post. I had mentioned that I visited NYC a couple of months ago and was forced over 3 days to keep up the walking pace my 60+ year old aunt set to take a multitude of subway trains to get across that town. I had mentioned my pained (not sore!) knees and feet. What I had not mentioned was the amount of time I spent on the toliet the next 2 days there, and then 2 more days at home. It was like of those late night colon cleansing commercials!

    I had already been eating healthier, but hadn’t added exercise to my routine. With just 30-45mins of determined walking and additional water (’cause I sweat when I move!)”sludge” was squeezed out of my intestines, and I lost that 7 month pregnant belly bulge. I’m still a big girl, but that hard bulge is NEVER coming back. I do leg lifts reps on my back and standing in the pool to help strengthen those muscles. I will admit that the extra fiber in my diet takes some getting used to. Gas will come at the most interesting times… But I’ve also noticed that with the elimination of processed foods, my breath and underarms (and other bodily excretions) don’t stink. My skin is clearing up, and my hair is growing in a lot thicker. I so wish I had started on this path YEARS ago…

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 1:04 PM

      Years ago, yeah… but you’re on it now! Thank goodness for THAT! :)

      And yeah, to that hair point… my goodness. I’ve got hair for days now. I just.. I can’t. LOL!

  11. Joy

    June 10, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Thank you SO much for this post!!! I think I have just enough motivation to get off my “assets” and do something. I started eating Special K for breakfast, brought an apple or some sort of fruit for lunch, and make my dinner at home. That worked for a week and then i stopped (laziness). I lost 3 pounds but then gained it back. I’m going to try again and work through my laziness this time.

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM

      Just remember, no one can get your feet moving for you BUT you… so hop to it!

  12. Rita

    June 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    I so agree with the adding more fiber and increasing the cardio. Once I started these two things it became easier for me to do crunches and ab exercises. I’ve also noticed that when letting go of processed foods your stomach doesnt get that “full look”…you know the one where you have to losen the pants cause you’re “stuffed”…that feeling isnt cute nor is it correct. Feeling full and a puffy stomach isn’t the way to go.

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM

      Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for sharing that!

  13. Ashley D

    June 10, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    @Jasmine….wow that is a HUGE accomplishment! Thanks for the tips as well and wellllcccooommmeeee!

  14. Dani

    June 11, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Okay so I have a brace on my left leg that really restricts my physical ability to exercise other than walk or do upper area exercises. What can I do? The walking has really helped slim my hips, butt and waist but i still have a pouch and i want to get rid of it! as well as the rolls in my back and the spare tire around my upper waist. It’s so frustrating. I have cut out salt, i have pretty much became a vegetarian and i still can not lose this weight!

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM

      If I were you, I would talk to a sports physician (try to get a referral from your doc if needed) or a physical therapist for ideas. There are too many different kinds of braces/needs for braces for me to feel right “suggesting” anything, you know? If I could walk, I’d walk and kick my legs up as high as I could, raise my arms as high as I could and I’d be the baddest walker there ever was, lol.

      But really, talk to a pro to better identify your needs and help you get what you want. You never know – you may still be losing, just not as fast as you’d like. :)

  15. Tweedy

    June 11, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    Belly fat-

    Not really new to the site, more of a lurker! I love the site, lots of great advise!

    First, I applaud all the ladies who are on their own individual weight loss journeys. I too have lost more than 100 pounds. I have had a trainer on and off for the last 4 years and typically workout at least 3 days a week. However, due to the amount of weight I have lost, I was not able to achieve this great sculpted tummy, no matter how many crunches I did, nor how much cardio I did. While both of those variables are key to weight loss, there are also other variables (how much weight you loose, skin elasticity, age, diet, rate of smoking/drinking (these variable play a VERY central role in just how sculpted any particular person can get.

    Anyway, just my too cents…..all of this just to say…do not get discouraged….cause man….I deal with skin issues (saggy skin that has simply lost its elasticity) all the time….especially on my thighs.

    • Erika

      June 11, 2010 at 1:43 PM

      Considering how I’ve lost over 150 myself, I have to question whether it has more to do with key elements of your workout and your diet in conjunction with your skin than it has to do with how much weight you lose.

      Of course things like age, skin elasticity and overall general self-care are going to play a huge part in just how close you get to your goal. This post, though, is about the things that will absolutely help you get there. I’m not sure your post was about “not being discouraged,” more about the things that can get in our way. It does serve an important purpose though, and that’s to remind us that it takes overall full-on self-care to achieve our goals… not just a gang of crunches and a prayer to wake up to a flat tummy in the morning. I hear ya. :)

  16. Abel

    August 25, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Your story is so inspiring! What an absolutely beautiful example you are for men and women. THank you for sharing your journey with us.

  17. Leah

    September 16, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    For those who hate oatmeal how about oatmeal cookies for breakfast?
    1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour or whole grain pastry flour
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. salt
    3/4 C. olive oil
    1/2 C. sugar
    1/2 C. honey
    2 med. eggs, lightly beaten
    2 T. fat free milk
    1 1/2 T. vanilla extract
    2 1/4 C. quick cooking oats
    1 C. raisins
    1/4 C semisweet mini chocolate chips (optional)
    Preheat oven to 350F
    Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
    In another bowl whisk oil,sugar and honey until creamy, Add eggs and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and stir again. Add the flour stir until just combined, then fold in oats raisins and chocolate chips, Drop dough by tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 9-13 minutes or until slightly brouwn but still very soft.

    Per cookie: 126 calories, 2 g protein, 18g carbs.,6 g tatal fat, 10 mg chlesterol,1 g fiber, 106 mg sodium.

    Of course this recipe can be modified. Applesauce can replace oil, more honey or alternative sweetener instead of sugar, dried cranberry instead of raisins and flaxseed can be added for extra fiber.

    Your Apple Butter Cookies would be great for breakfast on the go also. Much better than those processed breakfast bars.

    • Erika

      September 16, 2010 at 1:22 PM

      I definitely don’t advocate “fat free milk” in a recipe, and I’m not entirely sure I’d vote for something with that much sugar and honey (and what looks to be very little fiber) as a morning meal and really, over 100 calories a cookie is a lot… but if one can modify a cookie recipe to still suit their goals, cheers to them. :)

      • JazzFest

        January 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        Do you have a post about the fat free milk thing? What are your issues with it?

  18. Jennifer Burgess

    November 20, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    Hi. This is my 2nd week on my journey to becoming fit. I weigh 297 and I have 3 kids. Over the last year I have gained 37 pounds which is ridiculous to me! Im glad u have this website. This is motivating me to keep eating healthy and exercising. Thanks and I will keep you all updated.

  19. 313QT

    January 12, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    I rarely do any crunches b/c I lift weights (deadlifts really help the tummy!) and when Im walking on the tradmill its at an incline of 15-24%! That works EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING! Thats been helping my tummy but Im still flabby but no where as near as I was! I take pics every 3-4months and I can see a difference..not as much as I like but its still a difference.

    I only use brown sugar in my oatmeal so thats the only sugar I have. When I drink tea I put 100% pure honey in it and not the fake honey w/tons of HFCS! Im currently 219 and I’d like to be at my goal of 200 by April or sooner so I have to step it up! I burn 4000-6000 cals p/wk but with school starting back plus work im closer to 4500cals..so we shall see!

  20. Kae Jae

    January 17, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Today is the first day for me. My biggest problem is just staying focused and I have the worst sweet tooth ever in history. I currently weight about 232lbs, I haven’t weighed myself yet, need a new battery for my scale. However, I am hoping to loose a total of about 100lbs. My husband has been helpful with giving me little motivational milestone prizes, hoping this will keep me motivated. I can say that it is extremely hard being married to someone who is really active. But I am motivated by this site and I am looking forward to posting my progress.

  21. Krystle

    April 18, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Love the article…seems so simple, yet in today’s society processed food is the new home cooked meal :/ I also can’t stand when they show people on the news, reporting about obesity. So not ok!

  22. Shamiquia

    May 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Thanks!

  23. LaQueshia Jeffries

    June 27, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    I am one of those skinny girls w/a 1st trimester pouch that does not want to budge. But I can say, whenever I lay off the sugars and breads, the bloat subsides.

    I saw another post you did about crunches and I’ve been trying to do them when I wake up and lay down.

    I totally appreciate this site.

  24. Rasheedah

    July 19, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    You give such great advice. I have been on my healthy lifestyle kick since March 1. I have lost 34lbs. I want to lose about 12-15 more. I work out, and try to watch what I eat. I am NOT a big eater, moreof a snacker! I need to continue to find the right stuff to snack on…

  25. Alice

    October 20, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Should you lose weight before you start doing crunches?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      October 20, 2011 at 11:15 PM

      Nope. Go for it asap!

      • Alice

        October 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        LOL. Thank you. I heard before that you should shed fat before trying to build/define your muscles…. guess I was using that as an excuse. I enjoy cardio classes, but often dip out on the last 5-10 minutes of the class when they drop to the floor to do what… ab exercises.

        THANK YOU…

        Loving this site by the way..

  26. Esther

    February 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    I have been going to the gym for a few weeks now it is hard I just want to lose my belly I work on my abs,arms,legs,chest,and walk on the tredmill after all is done am I on the right path? it is hard work .Iam very impatient I just want it to come off fast but I know that is not how it works(lol) I like this site very informative and motivating keep up the good work.

  27. Doni

    February 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Hi! Im new to the site. And Im anxious to start loosing weight and keep it off. My biggest weakest 1) I LOVE ALL THINGS SWEET! * every since I was a child* 2) I have no motivation when it comes to exercise and I never follow through…So i guess my question is how do I get a successful weight loss plan and goal and actually MAINTAIN it???

    • Diane

      February 27, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Hello All….
      Doni you and I have the exact same dilemma, OMG, I thought I was an only lonely!

  28. Vee

    May 17, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Doing ab exercises are my least favorite exercise ugh…. I work them in….

  29. Shelter

    May 17, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Great article. Thank you for writing this.

  30. Dulce

    May 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Erika: Okay, I’m a young Asian woman but I came across your blog today and, I must say, I love your posts. You make them relevant and you speak a language, about health and nutrition, that people ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND!

    313QT – brown sugar is the only sugar I consume, too. It’s the only thing that helps me put away oatmeal and grits; otherwise, it’s hard to do the needful. My philosophy is… give in to some temptation and eat what you like but in moderation. Otherwise, the monster will come out, eventually, and consume every unhealthy thing in sight.

    A tip that I would throw out to the ladies who have a hard time cutting out all the processed foods from their diets: Sprinkle Benefiber into your meals. It comes in the form of a powder and it’s really tasteless. Not saying it’s a good substitute for a Big Mac but like Erika says…. every bit of fiber helps to clean the pipes!

  31. Debra

    May 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Love the advise!

  32. Retia

    July 31, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Thanks for the wonderfully informative and helpful website. I had the great idea to do the same thing. You’ve saved me A LOT of time, lol. I’ve been starting and restarting this journey for about 2 years now. I have been making small changes in my diet over this time span. I must admit you REALLY DO KNOW YOUR STUFF!! I have done tons and tons of research and almost everything I’ve learned, you’ve confirmed. It’s extremely helpful to know I am on the right track. Your site is very very very inspiring and I am even more motivated after seeing your success and reading all the other comments about their success. I will keep you informed of my progress. I will be a regular on the site from now on. I am 255lbs currently and my goal is to loose 50lbs and then work towards another 50.I am eating clean and exercising, cardio and strength. I am focused and determined. ps. JUST WANTED TO ECHO THE STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT INCREASING YOUR FIBER AND WATER!! THEY REALLY ARE CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS!!! **WATER INTAKE SHOULD BE MINIMAL 64OZS PER DAY AND FOR EVERY 25LBS YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT, YOU SHOULD ADD ANOTHER 8OZS EVERY DAY, EACH AND EVERY DAY! VERY VERY IMPORTANT!!!**

  33. Gia A.

    November 3, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    What about Prune Juice? I think that has fiber and it had me in the bathroom all day. I bought it for that reason, but didn’t drink anymore of it after that. I couldn’t even leave the house for 24 hours.

    Afterwards, I did feel better though. Felt like my system got a good cleansing.

  34. Na Na

    December 4, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    How do I get rid of the flab at the bottom of my stomach will crunches work

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      December 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Nope. Only cardio. You’ll have to get down to a pretty low body fat percentage to get it.

  35. Lurdes Ricketts

    February 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Hello i am an AFAA certified PT and a Zumba instructor. I just wanted to address the recurring debate of muscle before fat loss or vice versa. While cardio is always important and your best ally to burning fat. Building muscle mass can aid in burning those calories faster. It takes more energy to grow and sustain muscle ergo your body burns more calories the more muscle you have. Strength training also has the added benefits of helping prevent injury and bone strengthening which we need as we age. You can’t go wrong either way but for those of us who like to see the tone and cuts as we work tirelessly in the gym or at home battling the bulge increased muscle work along with your cardio is the way to go.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      February 11, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      I’m sorry, but you’re overlooking interval training, which serves as both cardio and strength training.

      I’ve written extensively about the importance of muscle in a weight loss/maintenance program; none of that changes the fact that, for the express purpose of removing belly fat and shrinking of the waist, burning calories is the goal, and exercises that get the heart rate going are how you accomplish that.

      No one builds muscle at a pace fast enough to be on par with the caloric burn of a good high-intensity training session. That’s a fact. This is why muscle building is the long-term investment, but the speed is for the immediate gratification.

  36. Honey

    April 17, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I have a question and hopefully someone can answer it here. I love this site and stumbled on it doing a search. I am top heavy. I have big breast, big stomach, and now I’m growing back fat. Thing is I am scared to exercise to much because I feel like my legs and butt look to skinny/flat when I do. I want a better upper body, but don’t know how to go about losing my stomach and keeping what legs and butt I do have. I still want to look like a woman and not a 12 year old boy. Advice??

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      April 17, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Get your squat on, and do your HIIT.

      You need the high-heart rate activity to burn the upper body fat, but you need the squats and lunges to build up your lower half.

      • Shanda

        June 12, 2013 at 2:45 AM

        I’m a single parent and I want to lose my stomach after having my son but its so hard because by the time I’m finished taking care of him I’m so tired and I snack on anything and now I’ve developed a bad habit I’m trying to eat healthier and exercise a little so I can lose my stomach in a month any suggestions on what to eat p.s. does the fat burner you see in stores really work

        • Erika Nicole Kendall

          June 12, 2013 at 6:53 PM

          “does the fat burner you see in stores really work”

          No more than a cup of coffee, and the coffee is infinitely cheaper, smh.

          You can’t “lose your stomach in a month.” You’ve got to put in that work, girl.

  37. Lana

    April 20, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Love this thank you

  38. Aundrea

    May 19, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    You never know who you are going to help out here.
    Thank you so much.

  39. Ve

    May 29, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    All the posts have really encouraged me to do better. Today was my first day in the gym. I will be visiting this site very often.

  40. Nita

    June 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Reading these posts have got me feeling even more motivated about taming Mr. Tummy. I’ve got a few questions concerning my situation in particular. To lay down the specifics, I’m 18, I’m about 5’6, and I weigh 167 pounds. I’m not exactly super skinny, but I’m not all that heavy either. I suppose I’d describe my body type as solid, if anything. I have large breasts and an equally proportioned butt and thighs that I’m totally fine with, but my personal problem lies with my stomach. It isn’t bigger than my boobs, but it’s convex enough to hang over my jeans. I began to seriously take the initiative to get my tummy down by starting a 30 Day Ab Challenge program that a family member of mine was tagged in on FB, and in addition, doing a 10 Minute Belly Dancing workout a little afterwards. I’ve also cut out soda and started to drink a liter of water a day, in addition to walking often. I’ve noticed after several weeks that my stomach seems much more smooth than gross and cellulite-y now, and it makes me glad to see some kind of progress. Does it seem like I’m on the right track? Is there any more that I could do to get rid of that hangover paunch-pouch?

    • Nita

      June 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      Aaaand I’ve mistakenly posted twice. ^_^” Oopsie! My phone made me think it hadn’t sent.

  41. My

    July 21, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    hey I came across this on my search of trying to find ways to lose the “baby fat” I’ve had for the past four years lol ok so when I got prego I weighed 135 now four years later I weigh 160 smh I have started drinking water (I hated it) and I’m trying to cut down my sugar intake and not eating out so much I have also been googling work outs and I’m doing a squat challenge but some days are better then others so just any type of input is good I also do lik40 jumping jacks walk and run in place and wherever i walk I suck in my stomach lol idk i hope i start to see some results I wanna wear a two piece again lol

  42. Rachael Towne

    July 28, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    I’m glad that I don’t have to be black to comment!

    I have lost 24 pounds since the birth of my third (and decidedly last) child.

    Not only was I weighing in at 196 lbs on my 5’5 frame, my insulin resistance was worsening dramatically.

    Seriously, I’m very very pale and the skin under my arms and inner thighs turned a very dark brown. A bunch of my hair fell out. It wasn’t the normal shedding that occurs after pregnancy. My daughter was already 15 months old and suddenly massive amounts of hair was falling out in clumps. I had bald spots on my scalp.

    In my 20s I had an hourglass figure and over time due to the excess weight and insulin resistance I developed a huge belly that was wider than my hips.

    Since joining the gym and completely transforming my diet, I have managed to drop 24 pounds.

    However, my belly is so stubborn. I know it’s gotten a bit smaller, but it’s still slightly wider than my hips and it’s very chubby.

    Your post has given me hope that continued fat loss, lowering my insulin levels and abdominal strength training will someday pay off. I just might have an hourglass shape again someday!

    Thanks for your post.

  43. Gabriela

    August 20, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Hey Hon! Great article, the timing could not be better! :D
    I am 5,8 and I weigh around 249 lb I gave birth to my third child by a caesarean section nearly 4 months and to be quite frankly honest I do not know where to start! :(
    I am realistic of my expectations I just want a stomach without the pouch! My goal is for 154 lb!
    Where do I begin?
    Thank You very in advance for the advice,tips and for creating this space of warmth, self love and acceptance! :D

  44. Sally

    October 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    You can’t imagine how your entry and youre blog is helping me right now.

    I always had problems as to how i should and wanted to diet, and it was always very hard.

    Since i’m now allergic to sugar (or, everything with fructose in it) i had a very hard time changing what i eat and what i want to eat. You help me feeling confirmed in my way to eat, not just because i have no other option, but because it is healthier (even if i cant eat fruit, sadly ._. ).

    Thank you SO much, and keep doing what it is you do, you’re awesome!

  45. B.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Any advice on what to do to help belly fat? I’ve lost 47lb(work out almost everyday-cardio and strength training) and have recently incorporated 3mile power walks. I’ve lost a lot of inches, but hardly any permanent changes to my belly. I’ve noticed that Greek yogurt, unsalted peanuts, and low sodium soups help a lot, but my family eats so unhealthy it’s nearly impossible to stick to clean eating and it’s very depressing.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      December 3, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      A few guesses, outside of what’s in this blog post:

      1) Are you a drinker? Wine, liquor, etc?

      2) Is there an overabundance of salt/a lack of potassium in your diet?

      3) Are you regular with your potty habits?

      4) Is there no way to, say, swap out something in your house’s daily meals for something healthier? Say, instead of eating scalloped potatoes, you instead get some broccoli? Or maybe you get the scalloped potatoes AND the broccoli, but you only eat the scalloped potatoes after you’ve eaten the broccoli and everything else on the plate?

  46. B.

    December 6, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Thanks for replying :) I don’t drink and I rarely have cheat or rest days. I don’t eat salty food. My potty habits aren’t really regular until I add Greek yogurt back into my diet. I’ve had to move back home (leaving my job) to help my mother after a surgery so no real income on my part to buy the healthy things that I enjoy. I think that’s a big part of what is holding me back. But my diet is pretty basic: soups, baked chicken, seafood, no sweets, fruits and veggies, protein snacks, and water.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      December 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      ….are you staying within your caloric range? Are you consistently active?

  47. sam

    January 12, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    I been going to the gym…I power walk in the treadmill for 1hour I also do 20 minutes of strength training, 5 days
    a week. I changed some of my bad eating habits and still no results.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      January 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      “I changed some of my bad eating habits and still no results.”

      Hmm…maybe it’s time to look at changing the habits you haven’t addressed yet? :)

  48. Lynnsey

    April 10, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    I just found this post and I absolutely love it! Reading all these stories about how people are losing weight is making me feel even more motivated than before. I just need some figuring things out. I’m 19 and a college student and I work 6 days out of the week. I barely have enough time to do homework let alone workout. And I’m always on a budget so I can’t really afford a lot of veggies and fruits because the stores near me are so expensive. What are some ways I could incorporate clean eating and some cardio into my schedule without falling behind in school and work?

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