Top 2 Ab Flattening Strategies that Work

Top 2 Ab Flattening Strategies that Work

Posted on 15. Aug, 2010 by in Nutrition

Let’s face it, a lot of us have stubborn areas of fat that we just can’t seem to get rid of no matter what we do. Well, that is if you haven’t tried the two strategies that I’m about to talk about. Just a note before I move on, this is not your typical fitness article telling you to eat the right foods and move more. Those help but these two strategies are even more powerful because it works from the inside. You will see what I mean as I talk about how these strategies work.

The techniques I’m talking about will not be very new to you but I will go deeper into how they work. I’m talking about fasting and the elimination diet. If you have done them before, you may know that they really work to get rid of stubborn areas of fat but you may not have known how they work. Let’s talk about that now…

Fasting and Hormones

Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat (ESE), talks about the hormonal changes that happen in our bodies during a fast. I will discuss some of the main hormones in this post but if you’d like a detailed explanation for each of the hormones involved (and there are many other besides the ones I talk about here), I suggest you read his book.

The first and very important hormone in fasting or digestion in general is insulin. Our pancreas releasse insulin after we eat a meal and our body goes into fat storing mode. During fasting or times when we do not have food in our system, our insulin levels go down which means that we go into fat burning mode. Because we do not have any food to burn for energy during this time, our body burns our stored body fat for energy instead. This is the beauty of fasting – burning stored body fat!

Fasting has also been scientificially shown to increase insulin sensitivity. This can be especially beneficial to people who have diabetes in their family like I do. Diabetes happens when the insulin hormone is no longer responsive to the changes in your blood sugar. As a result, your body would not be able to lower glucose levels in your body. When you increase insulin sensitivity through fasting, your body will become more efficient at regulating your blood sugars which lowers your risk for diabetes. This is one of the major reasons I turned to fasting because both sides of my family are prone to diabetes.

The other major hormone involved during fasting is growth hormone. Growth hormone is popular among the rich and famous because of its fat burning and muscle building effects. Celebrities pay huge amounts of money to be injected with growth hormone. But, regular folks like us can harness the power of growth hormones through fasting. During fasts, our growth hormone levels go up which means our body burns even more fat in combination with the lack of insulin in our system. Plus, we build muscle which we all know is an active tissue which burns even more calories.

As you can see, all these hormonal responses favor fat burning and because the effects are happening at the hormonal level, the changes are even more powerful. In essence, we are making long term physiological changes each time we fast at the same time that we are reducing our calorie intake.

Eliminating Toxins and Allergens

You’ve heard me talk about the elimination diet before. If you need a refresher on that, read this series starting with this post: Starting the Elimination Diet.

dairy products

For this particular diet, I eliminated wheat, dairy, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. These are the most common foods or food components that are toxic to our body or cause allergic reactions because they are so prevalent in our food supply. In general, we store toxins in our fat cells. If you’re familiar with the process of osmosis, liquids follow the direction where there’s more solutes or toxins. For example, when we have toxins in our fat cells, liquids follow the toxins causing us to store extra fluids in our fat cells. It just so happens that these toxins mainly reside in the fat cells under our belly button (that little pooch in our lower abs that we all hate…lol). So, once we free our bodies of toxins, the fluids follow and we eliminate stubborn areas of fat.

Not everyone is sensitive to all the foods listed above but you would not be able to tell what the culprit is if you do not completely eliminate it from your diet and introduce it back to see how it affects you. For instance, I eliminated peanuts or peanut butter from my diet for several days, after just one tablespoon of peanut butter, I felt bloated and gassy. I know it’s too much information but this is very important information you’d like to know about your body since food sensitivities can cause some serious problems in the long run besides difficulty losing weight. Once you find which foods you are particularly sensitive to and avoid them, you will find that you have less bulge in stubborn areas, prevent unwanted weight gain, and reduced digestive problems.

These two strategies have been particularly helpful to me and my clients and they are highly effective once you follow them routinely. From experience, I’ve also found that they are not very difficult to follow as long as you plan your days ahead. If you have any questions about any of the ideas discussed here, please do not hesitate to post them below.

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  • Spot on post here, Anna. I've always maintained that it is far more effective to go to work on a hormonal level to lose fat and build muscle rather than a “calories in – calories out” level (although it can be useful in some contexts.) THE highest-leverage thing you can do to achieve this is eliminating the processed stuff out of your diet and learning how to cook some good meals from scratch. (Plus, if you do it right, you can actually SAVE time in comparison to eating out.)

  • 2 very good ideas to help get flat Abs. I'm glad you have tried them out and see that the work.
    Losing body fat is a complicated process not everyone understands otherwise I'd see more 6 pack people running around in the Gym.
    Your two suggestions of fasting and eliminating certain foods turn a complicated process into something easy to understand. i.e. Keep it simple!
    But I really like your idea beware what works on your body and what doesn't like Peanut butter, then you know what to do.
    Raymond

  • Hi Raymond, when we understand how fat loss happens, the process of losing
    it becomes a lot easier than most people think it is. Essentially, becoming
    more conscious of how certain foods affect us hormonally and physically,
    will help us a ton in figuring out what works best for us. Thanks for
    stopping by!

    Anna

  • You're right, Darrin. Both strategies can work depending on where we are in
    the fat loss process. It never hurts to eat less but it helps even more if
    we eat less of the bad stuff 🙂 which you were right on!

    Anna

  • I've preached over and over how Eat Stop Eat has helped me, so I won't go on about it again. I love the thoughts on eliminating toxins. It's not something I have tried but it seems like a worthwhile approach. I've been gradually reducing my refined sugar and processed food intake so I don't think I'm too far away. Alcohol and caffeine are no problem for me either. I guess that just leaves wheat and dairy!

  • Hi Dave, wheat and dairy are 2 major allergens. You may be surprised at the
    difference once you take them out of your diet. Let me know how it goes.

    Anna

  • Hi Anna,

    Fasting is a great way to heal the body on the whole and doing an elimination diet is certainly beneficial so you can address the problem areas and get your body back to functioning normally. I have used a food elimination diet personally and I have also done the odd bit of fasting with the intention of doing more fasting as the weather improves. Cannot give up my raw chocolate during winter. 🙂

  • Hi Anna,
    I am one of the biggest fans of eat-stop-eat. I think that everyone around me is tired of hearing about it from me! I just love it because of how effective that it is. I haven't found anything else that works as good for fat loss and controlling your calories. I haven't tried the elimination diet but I am going to look more in to it. I don't eat many carbs except from fruits and vegetables, so I don't really eat that much wheat. I would like to see how my body responds to not eating dairy. i will let you know how it goes.
    -Kelly

  • Hi Kelly, I am the same way with Eat Stop Eat. It is very effective. But, in
    combination with the Elimination Diet and finding out which foods give you
    allergies or toxic to your body, you results will be even better. Please do
    come back and let me know how it goes for you.

    Anna

  • I agree. If you can keep creating larger and larger windows when your hormones are being used to burn fat, fat loss becomes easy.

  • Yep, that's the beauty of fasting.

    Anna