Shed weight in selected places – belly, butt, hips and thighs – and still keep your curves? With spot reducing you really can! If you are happy with your body weight that’s great. But if you are happy with your body shape that’s almost miraculous.
Most women have problem bulges, from a tiny ripple of fat around the arm socket which is emphasized by a bikini strap or a cut-away shoulder, to heavy thighs that make you hesitate to even picture yourself in a bikini.
Problem bulges begin with heavy ankles and work their way up the body to the belly, hips, waist, bosom, arms and face. The good news is that it doesn’t take a surgeon’s knife to remove them. You can dissolve those bulges yourself with the concentrated program on this article.
The basis of the program is not an excess of diet or exercise. It’s a combination of these two things and a few more, such as massage, sauna and the newest European idea of wrapping. Each method works in conjunction with the other on a specific area of the body.
The whole idea is called spot reducing – a concentrated effort to reduce a selected area of the body, while the rest stays as it is.
Spot reduction is a new concept in weight loss. Most of us who take advantage of the endless diets and nutritional advice available can control our overall weight if the essential element – discipline – is there.
But we cannot always control our body shape, and going on a 1000 calorie a day diet is not going to slim only your bulging thighs. They will still be big in proportion to the rest of your body.
EXERCISE: Exercise takes up the slack in muscles. Wherever you are overweight, there you’ll find flabby muscles.
Swimming, running, cycling, all the bilateral exercises, are better than games like tennis or squash where one side of the body develops more than the other.
The lower half of the body will benefit most from a skipping rope. Start with 50 vigorous skips increasing by 10 or 20 a day to 200. For more concentrated exercise, skip on one foot at a time. A maximum is around 250, and some people do this twice a day.
To lose weight on special areas choose the appropriate exercises. Begin gradually, repeating an exercise only three or four times at first. Then increase repetitions by two a day until you reach 12.
- Belly: Lie on floor, raise legs and support your weight with your hands (1). Now “cycle” in the air (2).
- Thighs: Support body on sides with arms (1). Raise upper leg high, lower slowly (2). Repeat 3 times each side.
- Buttocks, inner thighs: Stand with outstretched arms (1). Bend slowly to squatting position (2,3). Return to (1).
If you don’t feel tired after reaching your full quota of exercises this doesn’t mean you should increase them. What it does mean is that your body is fit.
Ten minutes three times a week can make the difference between a sleek, taut body and one that’s soft and in poor condition. Here are more vital areas that need conditioning:
Arms: Stand a little beyond arm’s reach of a wall. Place your hands flat against the wall at shoulder height by leaning forward. Continue leaning forward until your chest nears the wall, then push yourself away until you are back in your starting position. Repeat about 15 times. As you get better at this exercise, move a fraction further from the wall, and gradually lower your hands to the level of your breast.
Top of legs and stomach: Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Hook your feet under a piece of solid furniture. Clasp your hands over your stomach and move forward until your chest touches your knees or as close to them as you can get. Your hands on your stomach should feel the pull of your muscles in action. Now lean back away from your knees until you feel your stomach muscles quiver. Repeat live times.
DIET: While exercise is busy firming your muscles, a diet will take off fat. But be sure to check with your doctor before starting any diet.
The best diet is around 1000 calories a day; the amount will differ for each woman and only your doctor can actually tailor a diet to suit your needs. He knows precisely what your calorie intake should be according to your weight, age, health, and level of activity.
The best diet is low in calories and high in fiber. The fiber keeps your internal digestive tract working, while the low calorie intake prevents weight gain.
You could also call it an anti-cellulite diet. Cellulite is the gel-like substance made up of fat, water and wastes, trapped in lumpy, immovable pockets beneath the skin. It can absorb large amounts of water which result in the rippled effect.
The diet has a base of fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit meat, fish and poultry to once a day, and preferably once every two days. You should include yogurt, skim milk, low fat cheese and eggs on your list, and drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Here is a sample menu:
- ½ grapefruit
- Muesli (½ cup) with skim milk
- Tea or coffee with skim milk
- Wholegrain toast with a scraping of polyunsaturated margarine
- Cottage cheese salad filled with grated carrots, chopped celery
- A generous bowl of fresh fruit salad
- Glass of unsweetened apple juice
- Flounder, grilled
- Steamed bamboo shoots or steamed broccoli
- Fresh tomatoes with basil
- Any diet is better supplemented with a daily multivitamin tablet.
The best vegetable sources of fiber are leafy green vegetables like asparagus, celery, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce; root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, parsnips; and other vegetables such as beans, peas, and corn on the cob.
Fiber-rich fruits are those with tough skins like apples and pears; those with fibrous interiors such as peaches, berries and edible seeds, like blackberries and raspberries; and nuts are another excellent source of fiber.
MASSAGE: Massage improves the skin tone, helps the body’s elimination process and breaks down congestion of the lymphatic tissue (cellulite).
There are two kinds of massage which encourage weight loss. One is the Swedish massage, which is a general body massage to improve the circulation of the blood.
In areas where the blood flow is slowest (fatty cellulite areas in particular) massage can direct and encourage the circulation. This in turn helps the breakdown of the fatty tissue. Secondary benefit is that it helps in the elimination of toxic matter from the lungs, kidneys and skin.
Massage with a friction glove in the shower is the second kind of massage which you can do yourself. The mitts should be rubbed in a circular motion in both directions and then in an upward motion. Don’t press hard, just massage gently with lots of soap and water. Bonus from a mitt massage is that it improves the skin tone and will always slough off those tiny bumps that occur on winter skin.
YOGA: For some people, the only exercise their bodies get inside is when they are digesting food. For yoga enthusiasts, the ancient and gentle art of twisting, pulling and pushing movements on the internal organs of the body (stomach, liver, lungs, spine) maintains healthy organs and overall body tone.
The breathing exercises in yoga help oxygenate the blood, and this combined with exercising, heightens the body’s ability to function smoothly. As an overall exercise yoga is best practiced with a local group, then when you understand the movements you can take five minutes off anytime during the day for some quiet exercising.
WRAPPING: In European health spas, women who want to lose a kilo or so of body weight are now opting for this specialized treatment. Here’s how you can do it at home.
- Take a long bath filled with a handful of fresh herbs, rosemary, thyme or Chamomile. The water should be hot.
- Have two towels steeped in very hot water, also filled with fresh herbs.
- When you step out of the bath, have a friend spread one towel (excess water squeezed out) on a flat surface. Lie on this, then have the second hot towel wrung out and draped over your body. A heavy blanket is thrown over the towels on top of you.
While you’re encased, you are sweating away fat. Lie there for 10 minutes and don’t move. Don’t follow with strenuous activity, instead cream your warm skin with a body lotion.
SAUNAS: Remember that skin is the biggest organ of the body, with a large surface area to eliminate wastes. During a sauna, the heat causes sweat which draws out impurities, most of them toxins and fats. Saunas don’t cause specific weight loss, but they help general weight loss.