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What You Need to Know to Lose Belly Fat

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Fed up with my abominable abdominals, I turned to lab docs for help in separating fact from flab. Here's what to know to lose the excuses -- and the crunches.

How to Lose Belly Fat

The first time it happened I was in my early twenties, straphanging in a crowded New York City subway car on my way to work. I was wearing a slim-fitting T-shirt dress, one that for reasons that will soon become horrifyingly clear, I subsequently used to scrub out the litter box and then tossed. The seated woman I was standing in front of met my eyes and smiled. Then she stood up. I smiled back and stepped to the side so she could make her way to the door. She stood right next to me.

"Would you like to sit?" she asked kindly. "I remember how tired I was during my pregnancy. You look like you're into your second trimester; it gets easier."

If I had been pregnant, her act of generosity would probably have sent me into early labor right there on the F train.

But I wasn't. (Even so, I took the seat.)

Once in a while I'm still offered a seat on the train, thanks to a belly that seems to always enter a room a split second before the rest of me does.

Tummy Trouble

Every woman's got her own hang-ups about some body flaw, but flabby abs seem to be a universal sore spot. In a recent FITNESS poll, they ranked number one on the list of trouble zones women wanted fixed. Not only has my apple-shaped middle been a preoccupation of mine since I was a tween, it's also been the subject of articles I've written (like this one) and the object of literally hundreds of attempts on my part to accept and/or flatten it. It was only after having twins that I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my belly was jelly for good.

So when my editor at FITNESS read on my blog that I thought my abs were permanently "stretched out" and I'd abandoned the abs DVDs she'd given me, she asked if I wanted to take a more scientific approach. I thought, sure. Lord knows, endless crunches haven't gotten me far. She set me up with an appointment at the renowned Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, where I would get an ultrasound and find out what's really going on with my middle.

I was all over the idea of getting a scan. I strongly suspected I had what many women who have been pregnant have, diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles. That wouldn't explain why I've always had a pooch, but it could partially explain why I had one now. "Diastasis recti occurs when the abdominal muscles separate along the midline because of an enlarging uterus," says Virginia Lupo, MD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. "It's unrelated to whether or not the muscles are strong." That means it makes no difference if your abs are made of steel or mush; the chance that they'll pull apart depends on the strength of the connective tissue that fuses them. In a study of women not long after they had given birth, 68 percent had the condition above their navel and 32 percent below. (Deep breath: Most women's abs will move back together again naturally after a while even if we don't rush to Pilates class the minute we get the okay to exercise.) The more pregnancies a woman has had, the more likely she is to have diastasis recti. I've had only one pregnancy, but it was a double, so the odds were good that this was part of my problem.

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triemmy wrote:

I am still waiting on the part that tells me how to get rid of the fat in my belly as the title suggests...

4/17/2014 10:36:46 AM Report Abuse
tikyran91 wrote:

Hey everyone! I had the same thoughts like am I missing something? But I was ! If you look under the title in the top right corner it says "pages in this story" click on "what;s your belly type" and you get the second half of the story. Hope this helps. Happy fitness!

4/3/2014 09:55:19 AM Report Abuse
oscar2226 wrote:

Third graders are learning how to conclude a story. Are you sure you didn't leave something out? I mean the title does say "HOW TO LOSE BELLY FAT". I don't see any hows at all here.

4/2/2014 12:39:08 PM Report Abuse
Shelgirl2 wrote:

I think it looks like she wrote the story just to gloat and complain about her own body, not to give much as far as advice should go. Just how did this get approved,I have to wonder....

3/29/2014 11:52:11 PM Report Abuse
marilee.sieracki@aurora.org wrote:

What was the outcome? The article just stops, we don,t know anything...very disappointing.......

3/1/2014 08:46:17 AM Report Abuse

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