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Toned Legs, but Flabby Stomach? What am I Doing Wrong?


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I've been watching what I eat (~1200-1400 cals a day) and working out on the treadmill (2-3 times a week 4-5mph for 30-60 minutes).  My legs have become slimmer, however, my stomach has stayed exactly the same.  I do a lot of squats and lunges, and I also do abdominal work to balance everything out (sit-ups, reverse crunches & planks).  My stomach has not gone down at all.  Does the stomach lose fat based on cardio or situps?  I hear that in order to have a flat stomach you must loose the fat first by doing cardio.  Am I misinformed?  Does abdominal work help achieve a flatter stomach?

I've lost 7 lbs this month, and I have no clue why I'm losing the weight only on my legs.  Am I doing something wrong?  Is this just something that comes with time?   

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Abs have alot to do with diet as well as cardio.  If you eat a lot of carbs (esp. starchy carbs) and not alot of lean meats and veggies you'll never have flat abs.
I think it has way more to do with cardio. You're not misinformed. It has a lot to do with genetics too, and you might just hold onto that fat more. I will lose weight everywhere else before my stomach. Look at my picture...my legs look fine, but I still have a 38 inch waist! Gross. Anyway I think it will be the last to go unfortunately...just hang in there!
I find it so strange because I've never had a tendency to store weight in my belly.  It just happened in the span of 2 years.  I thought I'd loose the weight everywhere at once. 
I bet if you stick with it it will come off quickly when it decides to finally start coming off your tummy. Don't give up!
I'm actually wondering the same thing as you... hmm I thought "spot reduction" didn't exist, so isn't all the fat supposed to come off in all places? Haha, sorry I'm confused too
Exactly!  That's the same thing I thought.  Perhaps it depends on the kind of cardio?  If you run your legs will get slimmer, but how about the stomach? You are burning calories, so why won't it go? It is confusing.
#7  
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angeleyes -- no spot reduction means you can't instruct your body to lose the fat in specific spots, but rather that your body will lose it wherever and whenever it "wants" (ie wherever/whenever it is genetically disposed to do so).

minie13 -- I have heard that before but I'm not sure I understand it. Do you know the scientific reasoning behind this?
Maybe since we're women our bodies want to hold onto that weight around the middle? I don't know but I hate it. I also have varied my cardio a lot, I think it really all comes down to how much you eat. I'm hoping if I really stick to my calories and my cardio it will come off. I recently got a trainer so I added weights in there. Maybe if I build more muscle it will burn off some of that belly fat!

you know, maybe it does have to do with what you eat

I read about the Abs Diet. I'm definitely not buying the book, but they do recommend 12 foods that you should eat to have "flat abs". I don't know how true this could be, but it seems reasonable:

http://www.menshealth.com/absdietpower/?cm_mm c=Mag_URL-_-2008_January-_-Tool-_-The_Abs_Die t

#10  
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These are the 12 Power Foods that "fuel your workout, ignite your metabolism, and fight disease". I don't see where it says anything about flat abs?
Original Post by flowerbud:

These are the 12 Power Foods that "fuel your workout, ignite your metabolism, and fight disease". I don't see where it says anything about flat abs?

Look up the Abs Diet on google. Those are the 12 foods that you should eat while doing it.

#12  
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Yes -- but the abs diet site you linked to gives those (fueling workout, igniting metabolism, fighting disease) as the reasons WHY you should eat those foods. The fact that they're part of a diet called the abs diet doesn't mean they're recommended for flat abs...

no, but there's also a book on it. Maybe it explains more in there...But,, I'm not buying a book just to see if a diet works :p

I was just trying to help figure out why the whole flabby stomach/toned legs thing happens. I personally have the same issue and have no idea why

I think we all just have genetic predispositions as to where we store fat.  I run a lot and have the same problem..my legs are very lean, my middle's pretty soft.  Maybe if there was some way I could use the muscles in my abdomen to do the running, my middle would be leaner.  Hard to say, lol.
#15  
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Doubtful -- that would be spot reducing. If it were that easy we'd all just do crunches! :-)
    I think everybody loses it in different places first thats all and it takes time, your not going to have a washboard stomach in a month. I hate my legs they are huge huge huge, but they are always teh last place I see any difference. I lost 12 inches everywhere else and not one inch from my calves in 12 week!!! But you have to percievere it will all come off in the end.
Well... this is one of those areas that confuse the "#"# out of me sometimes. Everyone knows that spot reduction is a myth, but...

 Check out this study - their conclusion is that spot reduction kinda does work.

 Where it all breaks down is energy cost - arms and abs are very small muscles and working them just doesn't burn a whole lot of calories. I've seen an energy cost study for doing half an hour of abdominal endurance training versus doing half an hour of jogging on the treadmill - and the ab workout used about 1/10th the calories of the joggers. So to get the same calories burned you'd have to spend five hours or so doing ab work - and in those five hours the jogger can run a lot more.

 So I think that the conclusion is that while spot reduction is kinda sorta possible in a way, it's very pointless to train for it because the effect is so vanishingly small.

 Well, for direct ab work at least. Eastside found a study that said interval training can induce selective abdominal lipolysis in females; which means that's yet another benefit to add to the list of reasons to train HIIT-style at least occacionally.

FILO - First In Last Out

The first place you put fat on your body will be the last place to go. I personally added my fat to my stomach and love handles about 8 years ago. Recently, about 2 years ago I added some fat to my legs and butt. Since I have been working out, I have lost most of my fat in my butt and legs and barely any in my stomach and love handles. I am not a big person either. I am down 7 lbs with added muscle and now 156 lb at 5' 7". I started at 163 lb about 3 months ago. So this loss in fat was the most recent fat I added.

It's all about genetics. Most people store more fat in one area rather than evenly distributed around the body. Usually in 2 different places first: the legs or the stomach. So, you got a muffin top and nice legs or a six pack and thunder thighs. I personally am a muffin top. I know there are scientific terms for these 2 body types but muffin top and thunder thighs are more fun to use.

Lowering your overall body fat % is the only way to tone up those problem areas.

I wanted to say that your doing fine. What would help a lot, belly dance. Shake those hips, it will br fun. There is a show called Shimmy on FIT Tv. 

Whoops I should really have been more implicit about what I was saying.  I was joking...I meant that it was obviously impossible to use my abs to run. 

That said, I don't think it is completely futile to work on developing muscle in your body.  Having more muscle (anywhere) helps you burn more calories overall.  But I would defer to Melkor regarding that.

I would suggest not just weighing yourself, but taking measurements maybe once every 2 weeks or month.  And take comfort in the fact that a LOT of people have the same problem as you do.  Just search the posts and you'll see what I mean. 

P.S. Tommy, I don't know if there are really "scientific" terms.  Unless maybe apple and pear are scientific, lol. 

signed your fellow muffin top,

Jill

 

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