How to lose an inch from your belly

I suppose instead of How to lose an inch from your belly, this article could be called How to put on an inch on your belly!

We’ve just returned from a family holiday in Tenerife. The weather was gorgeous and the hotel was great, it was the perfect solution to a busy December and a great way to let our batteries recharge in the sun.

The problem with our break was we were staying at an all-inclusive resort – a great way to budget but not great on your waistline when you can go to the restaurant or bar and eat and drink what you want, when you want.

In less than a week, I managed to put on almost 1.5kg in weight – that’s almost four pounds in old money. Imagine if I’d not been going for a daily run!

So how does it work?

Well, in its simplest terms, weight gain is a purely mathematical concept.

Of course, some people have faster metabolisms or different body shapes than others and this can affect the maths, but as a general rule:

  • take on more fuel more than the energy you expend and you will put on weight,
  • take on less fuel than the energy you expend and you will lose weight.

According to Runner’s World, researchers have found that an inch of belly fat equates to around 14,000 calories – and believe me, it’s not hard to put that on in a month.

We need a basic calorific intake to maintain our bodily functions if we remain sedentary or largely inactive – that figure is around 2,000 calories for a woman and 2,500 for a man. Anything over this is excess and will make us add weight, anything less will make us lose weight.

In weight terms, 3,500 calories is roughly equivalent to a pound of fat – if you take on just an extra 500 calories a day more than you expend, it would take just a week to put on a pound, and just a month to put on four pounds (2kg) and an extra inch of belly fat (four weeks at 3,500 calories is 14,000 calories).

So what constitutes an extra 500 calories a day?

Well, take your pick: two cans of Stella, a glass and a half of Bailey’s, three glasses of champagne, two small Danish pastries, 100g of chocolate, a Big Mac… any number of things that can easily slip into your diet and soon add up.

Equally, of course, you can expend an extra 500 calories a day, eat your regulation daily amount and you should lose an inch around your belly (providing you are not cheating!)

What can you do to burn an extra 500 calories?

For a 180lb man, an hour of shadow boxing, walking with a rucksack, light cycling or football training will all burn more than 500 calories.

Plus there’s an added benefit to exercise – the fitter you are, the more calories you burn when resting (muscle needs more fuel than fat), so the benefits last much longer than just the hour in which you will have exercised.

If you’re finding it hard to banish the new year blues, stick to your fitness resolution or need some tips on nutrition, drop me a line via the contact form and I’ll give you the push you need.