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Fitness, Santa Monica, Columnist, Hot Flash

The Weekly Hot Flash: How To Burn That Big Belly

Barbara Bishop, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Barbara Bishop, Columnist

Posted Apr. 16, 2014, 9:13 am

Barbara Bishop / Hot Flash Columnist

It was a Monday. I woke up and looked in the mirror. Aaaaaahhhhh! I was turning into my Granny Annie – in the belly at least. I turned 50, and wham! Didn’t even see it coming. I rushed to squeeze on the Spanx. Oh-oh, even those were not helping much!

In a panic, I turned to a well-known personal trainer and former weight lifting champion, Fabian, calling him at 7 am that morning. I asked him, “How many sit-ups do I need to do to get rid of my belly?”

His answer surprised me, “None.” I wondered if he was still sleeping.

Once I made him drink a cup of coffee while talking to me to make sure he really was awake, I learned that no amount of spot reducing or abdominal exercises will get rid of my bulging belly. Denial and acceptance of a bigger belly in women over 50 was not the answer either, as so many of us (aka me) have done.

Fabian acknowledged that as people age, especially women over 50, metabolism slows down, muscle mass is lost, and fat tends to be stored in the belly.

But, he said, “You don’t have to condemn yourself to having a big belly just because you’re over 50.”

His formula to reduce my tummy was something I expected. The best way to get rid of a belly is a combination of nutrition, cardiovascular exercises and resistance training. Yada, yada, yada. Fine. I am once again ready to commit, but this time for good.

The way he told me to do it surprised me.

He said that I needed to get in one hour of weight training – a total body workout – once a week.

Weight and resistance training helps to build muscle, which increases metabolism and helps to burn fat.

For example, he said, if you build 10 pounds of muscle, you’ll burn an additional 500 calories a day. Okay, I can commit to that.

The next piece of the regime was to walk at least four days a week, for 20 minutes or more a day. Piece of cake! (I mean carrot).

I adopted a sweet Maltese puppy last year, and I now walk her two times a day, every day, for at least 20 minutes a session.

Now for the nutrition part. Not my favorite. He told me to stay away from stuff like “junk” food, candy (really?), cookies (no way!), processed food, and pasta, and start eating “whole” aka “real” foods, like brown rice (yum), potatoes (yum), veggies (Does anyone ever really crave a vegetable?), meats, and fruits (those will do).

Also, based on my size (very short) the calorie level I should be eating for weight loss is a baseline 1200 calories (Good-bye, cookies!).

So, if I follow the work out regime, and eat a daily diet of 1200 calories, my belly should melt away. Oh, and the way I am supposed to consume those whopping 1200 calories is by eating six small meals a day.

So, each meal is 200 calories. Major adjustment for me. But I guess that’s how my belly ballooned in the first place. Duh-uh!

So, I am making this commitment to show all of my fellow women-over-50 comrades that this can be done. Fabian said so. I hope to show a hot, sexy after photo sometime soon. Bye-bye belly! One last question for Fabian – can I still drink my Grey Goose Citron Martini, up with a twist and two olives?

Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 seeking insight into the hottest, most current trends, products, and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect, and a healthy dose of humor.

Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email

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