Project Louise: Lose Ugly Belly Fat Fast! Yeah, Not So Much

(Photo: TORCH magazine via Compfight)

(Photo: TORCH magazine via Compfight)

By Louise Kennedy
Guest contributor

I had an epiphany of sorts over the weekend: I hate my belly.

Actually, you can’t really call it an epiphany if it’s something you’ve felt for just about your entire life. And ever since I got a little chubby in second grade – a chubbiness that lasted until puberty, returned with the classic “freshman 15” in college and has waxed and waned ever since – I have gazed down at the extra flesh between my navel and my hips with a mixture of shame, disgust and self-loathing.

And let’s just say that passing the 50-year mark hasn’t helped with any of this. Here’s how we know Mother Nature has a sense of humor: Just when your body stops being capable of pregnancy, it starts looking as if you’re already about 4 months along. Permanently.

But that’s no reason to hate myself, is it? Sure, I’d like to lose the weight. But if I don’t, I don’t want to carry around this toxic mix of negativity along with the extra pounds.

So here’s the real epiphany: I don’t want to hate myself anymore, not even one imperfect part of myself. I don’t have to love my belly; I just want to stop hating it. I want to make peace with my body.

My, that sounds sane. But you may come up with another adjective when I tell you what I did next: I Googled “belly fat.”

Here’s a quick tip: Don’t do that.

Oh, go ahead if you want to. But I can save you the trouble. Here’s what I learned:

Belly fat is bad for you. Duh. It’s bad for you because it means you have excessive fat deposits around your heart, lungs, liver and other major organs, and that makes you less healthy and more prone to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even dementia.

“Spot reducing” doesn’t work. Another duh. I can do a million situps, and probably have. I have nice strong abs to show for it. But you can’t see them, because they’re still hidden under a layer of fat. Exercise is part of losing weight, but it leads only to overall weight loss, not targeted reductions.

You’ll never guess what does work. Oh yes you will. Eat right and keep moving. Oh, and get enough sleep: Several studies show that sleep deprivation increases your body’s storage of fat right where you don’t want it. So does stress, because it raises cortisol levels, which encourage fat storage – so try to reduce your stress levels, too.

OK, I learned one new thing. Cinnamon, apparently, may help reduce belly fat, and also may improve the regulation of blood sugar. The studies aren’t conclusive, but it seems harmless enough to add some cinnamon to my diet. (And blueberries, another vaunted fat-killer. Why the heck not?) So I’ll be doing that from now on.

But there are plenty of things I won’t be doing. I won’t be buying any of the thousands of miracle diets and pills and supplements. I won’t be clicking on those “5 foods you should never eat” or “1 weird tip to lose belly fat” buttons – because I did it, just for you, and I can now tell you that they lead you into the bottomless pit of infomercial hell.

And, most of all, I won’t be doing liposuction. Let’s be frank, I was never going to be doing liposuction. But I have to confess that there is one tiny, embarrassing, retrograde part of my brain that whispers, “Just think about it – one little operation and then poof, that belly you hate so much would be gone forever!”

Trust me: Don’t Google “liposuction,” either. Yeah, I did that too. And aside from the many, many ads and “testimonials” and “objective” Wikipedia entries that seem to be under constant dispute and revision, what I found was what the rest of my brain, the smart part, already knew: Liposuction is painful, expensive and risky; often the weight comes right back, looking weirder and worse than before; it can leave you with dimply, puckered, wrinkly skin that looks even worse than a round belly. Oh, and you could die.

Yeah, I know, you could die crossing the street, too. But I personally do not want to be remembered as the woman who died because her vanity led her to have her belly fat sucked out through a tube.

So I guess I’m left with just one last epiphany: There’s no quick fix. If I want my belly to look different, I need to stick with a reasonable diet and exercise plan. And if I want to stick with my plan, I need to stop hating myself – all of myself, including that poor little belly.

I think it’s time to call my trainer again.

Readers, is there a particular part of your body that you focus on? Have you found a way to make peace with it? And, if not, what holds you back?

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • maik

    Jacqui L., New Zealand

    I stumbled upon Mike’s website while searching for a
    solution to the ‘post-baby belly’. He seemed to be talking a lot of sense but I
    still wanted to be sure this book would be right for me before purchasing. So I
    emailed Mike my questions. He answered right away and was friendly,
    knowledgeable, positive, encouraging, and trustworthy.

    So I purchased the book, read it, and have now begun to
    implement the advice. In only two weeks I can already see results. Although I’m
    already fairly lean, I’ve struggled for six years to get rid of the last bit of
    stomach fat caused by pregnancy. But finally there’s been a breakthrough. The
    area is noticeably firmer and I’m already feeling so much better about myself.
    I can see that if a person follows all of the advice in Mike’s book, then they
    will achieve results. He knows what he’s talking about and it is so refreshing
    to have someone pass on the knowledge that’s actually going to work..

    I leave the page here:

  • McFloozy

    I just discovered your blog, and love it. I too have been lost in the woods for too long. I am trying to turn a corner, and so far, have walked my 10,000 steps daily for a total of 5 days! WooHoo!. Yes, there is a primitive, and stupid, part of my brain that thinks “lipsuction, look into it” “get this thing over with”. Yeah, thanks for the reminder that the smart part of the brain knows better (and science agrees with that part). Keep writing. I need it.

  • lindam313

    Hi, Ahhh, the yucky belly fat. I realized very young how much people examine each other on this one – I was in my 20s and working for a doctor and had to visit the cardiac rehab room – guys exercising after heart attacks – and I always heard them say FB when I was in the room??? So, I finally said to the nurse, what is FB? It means flat belly. Oh – I’m reduced to that? Well, I was blessed with a tiny waist, but that was B.C. – before children. Both of our kids were 10+ pounds and when I was pregnant with the first one had toxemia and gained 60 pounds.. I learned that I was vain, very vain, AFTER getting home and looking in the mirror at what was left, including c-section scar. Well, shocked doesn’t cover it. I said to my husband at some point, Cher gets to go back to her tiny waist, flat stomach, blah, blah and he, an engineer, says – well, first of all when something has been stretched out with a 10+ pound baby, there is no way mechanically it’s going to go back all the way AND Cher has a personal trainer, nutritionist, etc and you don’t live that life. Well, GOOD answer! That reality, plus the fact that we were fortunate to have two healthy kids (decades ago now) helps me to keep things in perspective. After having babies, our bodies just aren’t designed to go entirely back to normal (unless maybe you have a personal trainer and nutritionist in your house supervising you). I try to focus on not letting too much fat getting on my stomach because it’s not healthy and the rest of my belly, well – it is what it is. I don’t know if this is the right site, but I read quite a while ago about all kinds of women who posted what their real bellies looked like 5, 10, 25, etc years after having babies – we’re all stretched, wrinkly, chunky. It’s all good! Yes, you’re right about liposuction – higher mortality rate than heart surgery due to chunks of things floating into bad places! Peace out!

  • Nicole

    I cannot figure out why we women are so quick to hate ourselves. Let’s face it, if we heard someone else talk to our moms or our sisters or our daughters the way we talk to ourselves in the mirror, we’d be likely to deck them. I overheard two women in a department store dressing room criticizing themselves so harshly while trying on clothes recently that I wanted to cry for them. I am overweight and I have been most of my life. I’m also a great mom, a loving wife, a smart woman with a lot of talents. I refuse to hate myself, not even a single part of me. I take care of my body with nutritious food and exercise because I love myself and I hope I’ll lose weight because it would be healthy for me, but if I don’t, so what? I’m still fantastic and every single bit of me deserves to be loved.

    • Louise Kennedy

      Nicole, you are awesome! Thanks for this — and for reminding me to stop saying anything to myself that I wouldn’t say to my daughter. I want so badly to inoculate her against this kind of craziness, and one of the best ways to do that, I think, is to model sanity myself. One more reason to trust, love and respect myself, as Coach Allison puts it.

  • Ray

    Wow! If I could write as well as you, Louise, I would summarize my experience exactly as you have. In fact, as I read it, I had this uncanny feeling I was reviewing my own work for editing. But I think you beat me to these conclusions by over 20 years. Write on!

    • Louise Kennedy

      Thanks, Ray – for the encouragement and, as always, for making me smile.

  • Brian Syuki

    To lose belly fat you need diet,strength training, cardio/ interval training. As the article states; spot reducing is not possible, here is a comprehensive article on how to lose belly fat:

    • Watch Dog

      Bryan Syuki has posted at least four messages with a link to the loseweightlegit advertising site. Click his name to see the posts.

      • Brian Syuki

        I don’t deny that, the article I’m linking to is quite informative and will be helpful to someone who is looking to lose belly fat. Is there anything wrong with that?

      • Brian Syuki

        As you can see people have upvoted the comments, meaning they were of help to them!

  • Brian Syuki

    To lose belly fat you’ll have to focus on diet, strength training or interval training. as the article states you can’t

  • sarah

    This is an awesome website to reduce fat quickly. Using these tips you can reduce your fat in few days only and without compromising with your health. Get instant access to your FREE report to start losing fat right now!!

  • sophia

    My friend and I decided to do a 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge mid June. After an amazing recommendation from her sister, I am happy to say we are kicking butt so far! We have both lost an average of 2 pounds/week, which is considered to be healthy weight loss. This is what we have been using

  • Watch Dog

    Infomercial Alert! haidy abd elhamed has posted a link to an advertisement for “Dr. Charles” at least 55 times. Just click on haidy’s name to see the posts.

  • haidy abd elhamed

    Your metabolism is basically the rate at which your body burns
    calories to create energy. So the faster your metabolism, the faster
    you burn calories and the easier it is to lose unwanted weight. The
    slower your metabolism…well, you get the idea.

    Unfortunately, your body’s metabolism naturally
    slows as you age and this is one of the biggest causes of people
    becoming overweight as they grow older—but you CAN do something about

    In fact, my good friend Dr. Charles has dedicated
    most of his professional career to helping people naturally increase
    their body’s metabolism so that it becomes a true fat-burning machine.
    His latest book, The Fat Loss Factor, includes absolutely everything you
    will need to naturally boost your body’s metabolism AND shed those
    unwanted pounds permanently! Here’s just a small sample of what you’ll

    Complete Detox and Cleansing Protocol

    Step-by-Step Stress Reduction Guide

    List of 15 Fat-Busting “Super Foods”

    6 Fat-Busting Exercises that You Can Do In Less than 2 Hours Per Week

    The Facts About Additives and Preservatives

    And Much More! learn more:

  • Bella

    I have a belly issue too. I have been hula hooping more regularly for the past few weeks and I swear the other day I saw an ab muscle. So I’ll keep that up, along with the boring old calorie counting to get the fat off so the abs can be seen. The fitbit has really helped, too. I have lost 3 pounds so far. I am highly motivated by things like the happy faces that show up when I get all my steps in, and the bars that turn from yellow to green as I meet my goals. It has made me much more conscious of how sedentary I was, and how much work 10,000 steps a day is when I’m at the office all day.

    I still have to get 7400 steps in today…

    • Louise Kennedy

      That’s so great, Bella! As a kid I never managed to master hula hooping – pathetic but true. But it looks like fun. Maybe I’ll give it another try. And I’m thinking I may have to succumb to the Fitbit craze too. I know I’m not walking enough, being stuck at a desk too, but seeing the actual numbers sounds like a powerful motivator. That vision thing again