What Does Your Belly Say About You?

Not all spare tires are created equal

We're no Victoria's Secret angels, and for us, a flat belly (and dare we say it, abs of steel) remain a Holy Grail. Till then, there's Spanx. But there are different types of bellies out there, each one with a different cause and effect. Always wondered what's yours? Read on!

Stress tummy

It's soft and flabby, starting just under the bust and curving like a muffin top.

Cause: You need to get moving! You''re likely to be sedentary and tend to indulge too much in carbs and too little in exercise.

Solution: Go to bed earlier (sleeping well will help regulate leptin, the hormone that helps regulate appetite and metabolism), try meditation (it encourages better sleep) and opt for exercises like  yoga, which calm the system while helping you tone up.

Wine tummy

Also known as a pot belly, your tummy looks round and full even though your hips and butt aren't huge.

Cause: It is fed by a diet that's carb-heavy both in terms of food as well as drink. You're likely to be a fan of processed food like TV dinners, and you love your alcohol - which many forget is a form of carbs. Imagine: Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, compared to carbs, which is 4 calories per gram. Drinking two glasses of red wine will already exceed your daily carb intake!

Solution: Monitor your wine or beer intake - and don't forget, drinking tends to lead to eating more.

Droopy tummy

You have a thin waist, but no matter how much exercise you do or how well you eat, you stil have that stubborn little roll of fat just under the belly button.

Cause: You're likely in an exercise rut and tend to eat the same foods, so that little roll simply refuses to go away.

Solution: Eat more fibre to reduce constipation, which can make the problem appear even worse. Also, try to incorporate circuit-training into your workout; this can help burn off more body fat in more areas.

Bloated tummy

It's round, feels hard and is very prominent. It starts off flat in the morning, but starts growing after a meal is consumed; this meal is likely junk food and you don't eat regular meals.

Cause: Food digestion, which causes the build up of gas. And if your tummy takes longer than usual to digest food, this creates even more gas, causing your tummy to grow like a balloon.

Solution: Avoid lactose-heavy foods and carbs such as onions, wheat, cherries and plums. These all trigger bloating. And start exercising - try fun activities like Zumba that don't feel like work, or workouts that target the core and the abs.

Mummy tummy

You look like a kangaroo, with a low-hanging little 'pouch' where your waist used to be. Chances are that you've had a child recently, and your body is adjusting to the changes it has undergone.

Cause: Loose pelvic and stomach muscles are a given after childbirth, creating a paunch that sticks around for the next few years (for most mums anyway).

Solution: Experts recommend a diet that is rich in good fat (think almonds and avocado) because they also give you more energy to tackle the demands of a crying, always-hungry baby. Also, fish oil supplements can help the body burn fat.

Photos: myfacemybody.com

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