Healthcheck: Tips to get rid of 'belly pooch'

Watch the report from Action News' Ali Gorman, R.N. (WPVI)
May 8, 2014 2:40:10 AM PDT
Many women complain that no matter what they do, they still can't seem to lose the extra fat around their belly. Experts say there may be a reason why.

45-year-old Denise Carter is what I would call 'very in-shape.' She completed a sprint triathlon last year and is now training for the Olympic distance. However, like many women, she says she still has a trouble spot.

For her it's the lower belly, or as some call it the 'belly pooch.' It's a common problem area for women. Others are the hips, waist and backside.

Dr. Charlie Seltzer, a weight loss expert, says there may be an evolutionary reason for the belly pooch. One theory is that it's there to protect the reproductive organs.

"There is some pretty decent evidence that that is the case," said Dr. Seltzer.

Still, both he and trainer Carlos Bradley say there are ways to whittle your lower waistline. But you can't focus on just that spot. You need to lose body fat overall.

"You really want to stimulate your whole system. So you do movements that get your whole body moving: long range movements from bottom of feet to your head," said Bradley.

He takes Carter through four high-return moves, starting with a squat. You can vary your weight and add in an overhead press.

Leg-ups also use your whole body and help build muscles around your belly.

Step-ups, one leg at a time, and deadlifts are also full-body moves.

Bradley recommends changing your routine every 4 to 6 weeks to further challenge your body. He also recommends limiting your sugar and salt intake.

Then you just have to be patient. Dr. Seltzer says your trouble spot will likely not disappear without a fight.

"The first place you store fat is probably the last place you are going to lose it and that's again an evolutionary protective mechanism," said Dr. Seltzer.

As for Carter, she is even more committed to her training and has noticed a difference.

"I feel like I am pulled together more," she said.

In the end, it is possible to lose the 'belly pooch,' but remember: genetics and possibly evolution do play a role.

However if you are healthy overall, have a healthy body fat percentage, exercise and eat well, then I say, focus on the positive.