I’ve got some prodigious belly flab and arm flab, and as if you could see me, my jowls are downright flabby, too. I failed before (several times), at least to keep the weight off. I’m sort of like a white, unpopular Oprah, riding up and down the scale with vigorous workouts followed by gluttonous feasts and drinking. This time I decided to research weight loss as well as how to get rid of those flabby trouble spots. What my research uncovered is what most people (including me) deny to themselves: getting rid of flab is neither easy nor as complicated as the hugely obese, $40 billion dollar weight-loss industry would have you believe.

Unless you’re sadly desperate to lose those pounds for an occasion like a wedding or reunion, forget about diet pills and fad programs—they are unhealthy, unsustainable, and sometimes dangerous. To get rid of flab, we’ll need to get educated about the kinds of foods humans are supposed to consume, exercise (both aerobic and anaerobic), and change habits, which is no small task. Getting rid of flab (whether you have belly flab, flabby thighs, or total flabbage) requires a sea change—a departure from the unhealthy lifestyles that are so well promoted and normalized.

What is flab?

Flab is just a slang term for fat, but it sounds more like what it truly means to the flabby. Flab, unlike the term “fat,” communicates the embarrassment and humiliation that comes with belly flab, a flabby chest, underarm flab, or flabby thighs. For many, “flab” also refers to excess skin left behind after dramatic, swift weight loss. One cannot spot treat excess skin with weight training or exercise. If the skin does not heal after a year or two, one can only get rid of the flab through cosmetic surgery. This is why getting rid of flab the healthy way, ½ to 1 ½ pounds a week, is ideal.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Flab

Write it down

The first thing you’ll need to do to get rid of flab is get your mind in the right place. Sit down and write about what your goals are, the sources of your obesity, and what has hindered your efforts in the past. What triggers unhealthy habits? Perhaps troubled relationships—familial and otherwise—cause eating binges. Perhaps a chaotic job keeps you sedentary and lifeless after hours. Without removing these impediments in your life, you will fall victim to old behaviors and fail to make the necessary changes to get rid of flab. This, undoubtedly, is the hardest part of weight loss.

Ingest fewer calories

To get rid of flab, you’ll need to ingest fewer calories than you expend each day. Healthy individuals are supposed to get 2,000 calories a day, but if you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll need to consume somewhere between 1,400 and 1,800, depending on your age, gender, and activity level. Going lower than this can be dangerous. Not only will you not get the proper nutrition, but rapid weight loss can lead to loose, lifeless skin (some people refer to this as flab). Cutting back can be a grueling experience, wrought with binges and cravings. Do some reading, watch TV, play video games . . . whatever. Distract yourself through those weak moments.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating healthy foods and avoiding the wicked ones is paramount to getting rid of flab. Vegetables and fruits should be the foundation and staple of your diet, as they are low energy density foods, which means they have few calories per gram. Fruits and veggies are also ripe with vitamins, minerals, and disease-preventing phytochemicals. If you’re truly making a lifestyle change, you’ll need to eat a balanced diet. You’ll need carbohydrates, protein, dairy, and even a little fat, but you should ingest far fewer servings of each than of fruits and vegetables, which you can almost eat limitlessly without adding flab.

Aerobic exercise

If you’re eating right, exercise will not only help you get rid of flab but give you more energy throughout the day. Aerobic exercise is most important. Two different doctors recommended that I exercise hard enough to raise my heart rate and breathing for at least 40 minutes three to four times a week. Other sources recommend at least half an hour daily. Of course exercise burns calories, but it also builds muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even while at rest or sleeping. Remember to start off slowly, especially if you haven’t recently been active.

Anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic exercise, such as weight training, is great for getting rid of flab, especially those trouble spots like belly fat, underarm flab, and flabby thighs. Anaerobic exercise builds muscle more so than aerobic exercise, which mostly burns fat. If you are overweight bordering on obese like myself, spot targeting a certain area to get rid of flab isn’t viable—you’ll need to target the whole body via the steps above. However, with more muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories during any activity, and as the flab comes off, your body will look healthy and toned.

How to Get Rid of Flab Naturally

Green Tea

Green tea tastes great and comes in a variety of flavors, but it can also help you get rid of flab. Green tea contains polyphenols called “catechins,” which combat the body’s tendency to amass flab. The “catechins,” another study posits, cause the body to go into a state called thermogenesis in which the body burns flab for energy. Green tea not only gets rid of flab but also has positive heath impacts on the heart, brain, and immune system. Replace that calorie-laden soft drink or dessert coffee with a cup of green tea, and I promise you’ll soon develop a taste for it. It helps to mix in just a dab of honey for flavor. Still far fewer calories. We recommend Tazo Green Tea (link to Amazon).

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been used medicinally for thousands of years; getting rid of flab is one of very few uses with any research to back it up. Small studies suggest ingesting two tablespoons before a meal will make you feel sated more quickly. Using a natural appetite suppressant at the beginning of a diet, while the body is still adjusting to a healthier, less–calorie intensive regimen, may make things easier. Amazon has a wide variety of Apple Cider vinegar products.

Exercise Videos

Exercise videos are a great solution for getting rid of flab if your schedule makes it hard to get to the gym. Sure, when I’m doing this one I don’t feel the oats of my manhood raging, but I get my heart rate up for twenty minutes and work my trouble spots to get rid of stomach flab and arm flab. Online videos are the best, because you don’t actually have to go to the gym in front of people. Amazon has a great selection of fitness videos to start you on your way to getting rid of flab.

Flab, Excess Skin, and Surgery

Individuals who lose a large quantity of weight are sometimes left with loose, saggy skin, and stretch marks. Dealing with this flabby mess is mostly prevention. If you lose weight the healthy way, dropping around one pound a week, the chances of your skin fitting snuggly again rise. During and after weight loss, make sure to keep your skin healthy by protecting it from the sun, moisturizing, and taking fish oil supplements, which are high in essential fatty acids. Weight training during weight loss can also help, but many other factors come into play, such as how obese you were, how long you carried the weight, and age (skin loses its elasticity over time). Before you consider skin reduction surgery, make sure your problem isn’t just more excess fat. Also, after losing copious amounts of flab, the skin may need up to a year to recover . . . if it ever does. Skin reduction surgery is a major ordeal; aftercare and recovery is fairly serious and complications can arise. It is also quite expensive and no insurance company is going to help with a cosmetic operation.

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