I am still on a high after attending the Living in the Light Women’s conference in Washington, D.C./Virginia May 25-27. The spirit was beautiful and the care and treatment of the women was exemplary, which is a reflection of the sincere sisterhood and good leadership in that area.
A question that was frequently asked in the workshop I conducted was “How can I get rid of this pouch and flatten my tummy?”
So what are three simple things we can do to help reveal that washboard stomach we all have?
1. Proper posture
2. Proper exercise; and
3. Proper diet
Practicing proper posture is one simple exercise you can start immediately. Check your posture. Are you hunched over? Are your shoulders drooping? If you are hunched over with poor posture, you are weakening your abdominal muscles. Make them work on a daily basis and sit and stand properly. (Example: Stand like a soldier with your stomach in, back straight, shoulders back and down and your chest out.)
Proper posture will help activate your diaphragm muscle and maximize your oxygen intake. Practice contracting your abdominal muscles, while walking or sitting by keeping your abs “tight.”
Some people may have poor posture and some may not exercise enough in combination with performing abdominal exercises. A person may work out on a weekly basis, but never place emphasis on his or her “core” muscles. The term “core” muscles refers to abdominal or “stomach” muscles, as well as lower back in Pilates and exercise in general.
According to the Random House Dictionary, “core” means “the central, innermost or most essential part of anything.” If someone hits us in our “core,” the breath can be knocked out of us. Within the region of our core is where we digest food. It is clear why the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s books on “How To Eat To Live” are so important.
The scripture says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Our “core” thinking is reflective in everything we do and eat. If we think poorly of ourselves, we may not stand up tall and proud. Instead, we may slouch. This is a result of poor thinking and bad habits. When I am having a “bad day,” it is evident in my posture. Check your posture on a daily basis.
The second thing we must keep in mind is our diet. We need to reduce or eliminate the fatty foods we have on a daily basis like cheese, white bread, cakes, french fries, etc.
Foods high in fat have a tendency to be high in calories. If we are eating a lot of sweets and fatty foods, our body sometimes lets that fat settle in our “center” or “core.” Women have a tendency to store more fat in our hips and abdominal area. It is interesting how Louise Hay describes stomach problems in her book, “You Can Heal Your Life.” She states that the stomach is where you “hold nourishment and digest ideas.” However, problems or fat in that area can be related to “dread and fear of the new or anger at being denied nourishment.” I discuss some of these mind body issues in my new audio book, “Get Fit to Live: Be Your Best You!”
Lastly, we must exercise. Jogging, walking, and dancing are all good forms of cardio exercise. “Cardio” refers to the “heart.” So walking is a type of cardio exercise that helps to strengthen the heart muscles. Cardio exercise also helps us to burn calories so that we can lose fat. There is no pill that is going to strengthen your heart and make you lose fat. (Exercise and a healthy diet are usually listed in the fine print of most weight loss pills.)
We must also remember to perform exercises that strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles so when you lose that layer of fat, your six-pack will show. You can find sample abdominal exercises in fitness magazines or ask a trainer at your local gym to show you some. Some abdominal exercises are featured in “The Sister’s Guide to Fitness,” available at store.finacall.com.
Remember: You can’t spot reduce. You can do sit-ups all day long, but you won’t burn enough calories to reduce your overall body fat level. A key to weight loss is that you expend more than you input. Eating healthy in moderate portions along with consistent exercise can give you some wonderful results, including a longer life since obesity is linked to such diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and endometrial cancer.
As we prepare to “get fit to live,” we must feed our mind the best of food–which is God’s Word–so that our spirit will be like His.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan states on pg. 177 of the book “Closing the Gap,” written by Minister Jabril Muhammad, that:
“If you want God to use you, don’t be an imitation of His word, or His dress, or His [external] manner. But get in tune with His spirit, for then you will become magnetic, as you will draw people unto you, that you may bring them to Him, that He may bring them to the Messenger, and that the Messenger may bring them to Allah.”
So let your “little light shine!”
May Allah Bless us all with peace, health, wealth and happiness.
(Audrey Muhammad, a certified personal trainer and aerobic instructor, is the author of “The Sister’s Guide to Fitness” and the new audiobook, “Get Fit To Live: Be Your Best You!” Please consult a physician before beginning any new workout or dietary plan. Send questions and comments [email protected].)