Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why You Can't "Spot Reduce"

Most people have so-called "problem areas." Even people who have achieved their ideal body weight may still have parts of their body that they're not so happy with. It could be love handles, flabby arms, sagging skin or those unflatteringly named "saddle bags" around the hips. That's why you can find stores and websites offering all sorts of products designed to tackle these areas, from creams and applications that claim to get rid of the fat, to gadgets and machines to tone the arms, thighs or the abs.

However, there is one reality check you have to make. You cannot spot reduce. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's just a fact.

The marketplace often misinforms the public of the benefits that can be expected from their so-called revolutionary products when in fact there really is no magic pill that's going to "fix" a certain part of your body that you don't like. It all comes back to a few important truths - which I'm sure you've heard before, but we humans tend to always want to look for that one silver bullet solution to our problems!

1. Healthy Diet Is Important

Body mass index showing that typical Okinawans...
Body mass index showing that typical Okinawans at 18 or 22 are under or normal weight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Diet is one of the most important elements in get rid of undesirable body fat. The foods that you eat have calories and fats that get stored in your body, often amassing on those problem areas of yours (where those are depends on your body type). The diet is the main culprit for the presence of fats in the body, and eating a modern diet heavy in grains and sugars (particularly high-fructose corn syrup) is really going to pack on the pounds over the years.

So no matter how many gadgets you try, you won't see much of a difference in your body weight if you keep indulging in sweets, fried fatty foods full of carbs, or junk foods.

2. Spot Reduction Is a Mere Myth

The "magical" products you see on TV that supposedly require nothing but to merely attach or apply them on the problem areas are ignoring a very important point: your body functions as a whole system. What about your other body parts? What about the other requirements of the body?

In any healthy endeavor, you must be on the top of your physiology. You should know what it takes to achieve a goal. For example, if you want six-pack abs, you have to know what it takes to get them. (Note: The link here will take you to one of our favorite websites for fitness and nutrition - although they do share some great tips for getting flatter abs, their philosophy is one of overall health and fitness, which is why we are a fan.)

Some people out there would claim that if you want to improve the look of your stomach, you simply have to concentrate on abdominal exercises or use the gadgets that will do certain exercises for you. Again, you cannot spot reduce. You cannot achieve the goal with simply doing that one abdominal exercise.

The fat can not just come off on its own by just using a gadget. Genetics is a part of it it. Diet is a part of it. Lifestyle is a part of it.

The truth is, even if you have six-pack abs, you will have to take away the overlying fat first or you won't be able to see them!

Doing 500 crunches a day will exhaust you - but it will not get rid of the fat. Your body will not burn the fats stored in that spot you are targeting. However, there are comprehensive workouts that can actually address this. You have to have an overall workout with the ultimate goal of burning fat throughout the entire body.

In most cases you will also want to gain some muscle mass, as this will help raise your metabolism and burn calories even when you are at rest. A healthy diet and a varied workout including interval cardio, weight-bearing exercise or resistance training, and stretching exercises such as yoga will help you gain overall strength and tone while shedding fat - so that eventually you will be able to see those six-pack abs! And then if you want to throw some ab-targeted exercises in there along with your regular routine, that's great.

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...
Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. There Are No Shortcuts

Miracle diets, pills and potions will only lead you to a dead end. If a healthy body is what you're after, you have to work for it. You have to earn it, and learn to work with your body and recognize what it needs.

We truly are living in a fast-paced world with the advancement of technology, but your body is still more or less the same as our bodies have been for thousands of years - with the same needs and requirements for health. Thus, for true health, you still need to be grounded in what is naturally required by the body - meaning a healthy diet and proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate rest. There's no pill or potion that can give you that.

4. True Health and Fitness Require Commitment

Your dedication to the health of your body is a lifelong commitment. Even if you achieve a good-looking body now, it will not remain so forever if you abuse it via diet and lifestyle. Your body needs to be loved and taken care of, regularly and on an ongoing basis.

That is why if you rely on all those spot reduction claims, it will really get you nowhere. If you really want a fit and healthy body, you'll need to find an exercise program that works for you, and probably make some changes to your diet. And doing these things well and consistently can have many positive results in your life. Approaching your physical needs in a holistic manner will improve not only the body, but your outlook in life as well.

Do It the Proper Way

The bottom line is that nothing comes for free. And anything worth doing in life is going to take some time and effort. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy the journey, but it does mean that no gadget or cream or pill is going to give you the body you desire. Love the body you have, and take care of it in ways that improve and maintain its overall health, and you'll reap the benefits of a healthy body, and a long and healthy life. And that, as they say, is priceless.

Check out our website for some fun and effective ways of incorporating exercise into your lifestyle, as well as finding and cooking healthy and tasty foods! http://www.newholisticliving.com/holisticwellness.html

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