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Zone of the Month: Stomach Tips for a Trimmer Middle this holiday season

Posted by Elisa Taub
Zone of the Month: Stomach Tips for a Trimmer Middle this holiday season

by Jessica Smith

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The holiday season is upon us! For most, that means plenty of indulgent food, house guests and stress - none of which contribute to a flat stomach. Try these 5 tips to keep your belly from expanding during the holiday season:

- Enjoy your food. What? Isn't keeping a smaller stomach all about deprivation? No! Diets and deprivation most often lead to binging and a feeling of failure (there is a reason the word diet is just "die" with a 't' on the end). The extra calories we consume during the holidays usually come from the mindless eating of holiday goodies because they are right there in front of us. My advice to clients is to enjoy. Don't keep sampling the cookie tray thinking nibbling calories don't count (they do!). Pick out your favorite dessert at the next holiday gathering you attend, and sit down, savor every bite, then get back up and start socializing. You'll feel satisfied and every dessert on the platter won't keep calling your name.

- Sleep. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep creates havoc on our system. Our bodies confuse the need for sleep with the need for food, and we end up craving food full of sugar and fat (like you needed any more temptation to eat that holiday food) . The solution? Wind down before bed earlier, tape your favorite late show and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

- Relieve Stress. Stress can contribute to excess fat around your mid-section. The holidays are a time when stress relief is even more important: take a hot bath, read a good book or go for a walk. Stuck in line at the department store? Try this breathing exercise: breathe in deeply through your nose, hold it and count to four and then exhale fully through your mouth.

- Fit in "activity" exercise. OK, so maybe going to the gym is out this month, but you can still burn calories with everyday activity. Park your car in the spot furthest from the store; take the stairs instead of the elevator, even fidgeting gets you moving and torching calories whenever possible.

- Strengthen your stomach. This Pilates ab tightener can be done anywhere: pull your belly button in your spine and hold for as long as possible. But remember, crunches and sit-ups are great for developing your abdominals, but six pack abs mean nothing if they are hidden underneath a layer of fat (see tips 2-4 to help you reduce body fat).

Even though most of us resign ourselves to holiday weight gain, with the right approach and attitude, it is possible to maintain and even lose weight during the holidays.

Tighten your abs and beat the holiday bulge with these exercises (see videos above right):

1. Crunch Legs Straight and Elevated
2. Prone Bridge on Chair Leg Lifts
3. Steam Engines

For more tips and advice from Jessica check out her e-book "Learn the Secrets of Top Personal Trainers: Lose Weight and Get Results in Less Time". Check it out at

Jessica Smith is a lifestyle expert and author as well as a certified trainer and Wellness Coach for PUSH.TV. She is also a professional dancer and highly accredited teacher of teachers who has elevated the qualifying standards for fitness instructors and personal trainers worldwide., is a PROGRESSIVE full-body personal training system that gets delivered monthly to your door on DVD. A revolution in the industry, partners the freedom and affordability of in-home workouts with the luxury and personalized attention of your very own world-renowned personal trainer.
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