Fix thunder thighs, wobbly belly for good

Fed up of being told that it's impossible to get rid of thunder thighs or a wobbly belly?
Naturopath Max Tomlinson takes exactly the opposite view in his new book, "Target Your Fat Spots". "I see young women try rigorous diets and exercise regimes to get rid of a big bottom, only to lose weight from their chests and faces," says Max.
"Women going through menopause, meanwhile, tend to accumulate fat on their stomachs and upper arms. However, I've discovered the real key to achieving targeted fat loss is to focus on why you've gained weight on a specific area in the first place," he says.

Why we tend to have fat hot spots?
Max says, "Hormone imbalances are the main source of the problem. Our hormones regulate a multitude of processes in the body, including how and where we store fat. So if they become even slightly imbalanced, you can end up putting on weight. And the primary cause of imbalances is a combination of poor diet, stress, pollution and lack of exercise.

How to fix them?
I've found that each fat spot - be it tummy flab, a big bottom or bingo wings - is caused by the action or inaction of a specific hormone. But the good news is, it's possible to rebalance and combat the problem. First of all, follow a low-fat Mediterranean diet - include lots of fruit, vegetables, pulses, eggs, fish, nuts, olive oil, a little lean meat and low fat dairy in your daily diet. Cut down on alcohol and avoid junk food. A daily multivitamin and fish oil capsule will also ensure you don't miss any vital nutrients.
Then, follow the specific advice below to beat the hormonal imbalance.

Pot belly
Why it happens?
Stored fat around the belly suggests a problem with the adrenal glands, which produce the stress hormone cortisol. This is usually down to long-term pressure and the resulting high levels of cortisol, which trigger the over production of insulin and encourage the body to deposit fat in the area around the stomach.

Tackle it
The key is to relax - anything that makes you unwind will help reduce your stress levels.

Diet
The main culprit is too much sugar - especially in alcohol and white carbs (bread, pasta). To balance your glucose levels, eat foods with a low glycaemic index - vegetables, beans, fish and meat. Cut out white carbs, sugar, alcohol and coffee.

Exercise
Working out eases stress, but try to supplement your regime with something calming like yoga, too.

Bra fat bulge
Why it happens?
Those fat pockets at the back that can make your bra feel tight are often linked to a sluggish thyroid. This gland produces the hormone thyroxine, which controls the rate you burn calories at. If it's underactive, it can cause back fat, weight gain, lack of energy and a low mood.

Tackle it
Maintaining stress levels and eating the right food will rebalance thyroid.
Diet
Some raw foods interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland, so limit your consumption of broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, peaches, soya bean products, spinach and strawberries. Cooking these foods tends to deactivate troublesome compounds, so you can still eat them hot. Iodine is a vital component of thyroxine, so try to eat plenty of seaweed, seafood, yoghurt and dark green leafy vegetables.

Exercise
Moderate exercise reduces stress and boosts your metabolism to shift fat. The key is to get moving while not overexerting yourself. Try something fun, such as dancing or using a children's trampoline.
Love handles
Why it happens
The condition is known as insulin resistance, in which the body's cells fail to respond correctly to the chemical, causing excess glucose in the bloodstream. This results in fat deposits around the hips, causing those bulges over the back and sides of your jeans.

Tackle it
The right foods will calm insulin production and restore glucose levels.

Diet
Switching white carbs for wholegrains will maintain blood sugar levels. Eat lots of home-cooked food, include fruits, vegetables and fish in your diet. Avoid alcohol and sugary foods (watch out also for sugar hidden inside "healthy" cereals). Eating foods packed with antioxidants prevents free radical damage and combats insulin resistance. These include fresh herbs, spices, citrus fruit, nuts, berries, broccoli and green tea.

Exercise
Cardio - any activity that raises your heart rate - is vital in shifting love handles, so run or walk for five-10 minutes each day. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, exert your body more, for example, by taking the stairs rather than the lift.

Bingo wings
Why it happens?
The culprit behind the fat that hangs from your upper arms, is falling testosterone levels that are associated with middle age. Women produce this male hormone, too, and it's vital for keeping muscles lean and toned.

Tackle it
Boosting testosterone levels can, along with targeted exercise, help to restore shape to your arms.

Diet
Too much sugar or white carbs in your diet can decrease testosterone levels - so cut them out, but don't crash diet as long-term calorie restriction can further lower levels of this important hormone. You should also eat plenty of the "good" fats found inside salmon, avocado and seeds, while avoiding saturated fat found in red meat and full-fat dairy.

Exercise
Lack of exercise suppresses testosterone levels, but light weight-bearing workouts - ones that use the body's own weight to put pressure on the muscles - will work to boost them. This includes jogging or just having a brisk walk. And have more sex, too - making love sends out signals to the body to produce even more testosterone. Using arm weights will also help sculpt these muscles.

Chunky thighs and a big bum
Why it happens?
If you store fat in these areas you probably have an excess of oestrogen, which naturally promotes fat around the tops of the legs and buttocks. Taking the pill and exposure to oestrogen-mimicking chemicals found in some plastics, may add to this problem.

Tackle it
The aim is to naturally lower oestrogen levels in the body through lifestyle changes.

Diet
Eat more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, because the fibre they contain binds to, and helps excrete, excess oestrogen. Cut down on alcohol, painkillers and processed meats, as they're laden with chemicals and preservatives that hamper your liver's best efforts to clear oestrogen. Eating live yoghurt can also assist your gut in removing oestrogen via the digestive system.

Exercise
Ideally, you should walk or run for 10 minutes per day, because this is the most natural way of elevating your heart rate. If you prefer to cycle, row or cross train, that's also fine, but don't overdo it as this can place the body under even further stress so it stores more fat.
Tips for keeping the weight off
- Set yourself an achievable six-month weight goal. Be careful you don't drift back into old habits and aim to stay the same weight. If the fat spots start to come back, simply repeat the process.
- Eat a Mediterranean-style diet all the time. It's good for you.
- Practice proper portion control. We all overeat so aim to eat around a third the amount you normally would.
- Chew your food properly. It helps digestion and makes you feel fuller sooner, so you eat less.
- Don't drink with your meals. Liquids dilute the digestive juices that help break down the food.
- Don't eat while watching TV, it encourages overeating.

Similar Threads: