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Get rid of that pot belly
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December 05, 2006

Different bodies have different constitutions in terms of fat storage. In most men, the fat tends to concentrate in the abdominal region, giving rise to the infamous 'pot belly'.

We profile one such case here.

Mitin Bindra wants a trim tummy. Unfortunately, says Get Ahead fitness expert Brinda Sapat, no exercise can burn fat from one particular region of the body. Fat burn occurs all over the body through cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming and aerobics.

However, one can focus on certain areas when one exercises. She chalks out a diet and fitness plan for Mitin.

Mitin's profile

Name: Mitin Bindra

Age: 27 years

Sex: Male

Weight: 90 kg

Occupation: Software engineer

Location: Mumbai

Working hours: 9 am -- 9 pm

Case specifics: I have a major problem with weight in the abdominal region, as the fat gets concentrated in that area.

Daily routine: I wake up by 7 am and have breakfast between 7.30 and 8.00 am. I then leave for office by the company bus. It takes me an hour to get there.

My work mostly involves sitting in front of computer for long hours. I consume two to three cups of tea by lunchtime.

Lunch is mostly between 1 and 2 pm.

I generally leave office between 7 and 9 pm, again by the company bus. I have my dinner by 10.30 pm and sleep mostly after 12 midnight.

My body is more or less in shape, except for the stomach region, which bothers me. Please help.

My fitness goal: To reduce my weight by 20-25 kg, with focus on the abdominal region.

Brinda's verdict

Hi Mitin, congratulations on taking the first step towards a fit and healthy body.

Losing 20 kilos requires concentrated effort and patience, since you will have to work at this over a long period of time. Your profile outlines one of the major problems most men suffer from -- abdominal fat.

The natural fat storage area for men is in their lower abdominal region. This is the first place you will put it on and the last place from where you will see fat disappear.

Once you start losing weight, you will notice it burn from the slimmer parts of your body like your face, neck and shoulders.

Since there is a large amount of fat deposit on the abdominal area, you will not be able to notice the fat loss as easily as you notice it on your face, neck and shoulders. But the fat is burning at an equal rate all over your body.

Caution: Fat stored on the abdominal area is the worst, as it is related to heart problems. So burn it off ASAP.

Your fitness goal: Target a weight loss of about 2-3 kilos per month.


Apart from the cups of tea, you have not mentioned what you eat in your meals. I have formed a basic healthy weight loss meal plan for you (and other readers).





Evening snack





If you feel the need for something wholesome like roti or bread, eat just one. When trying to lose weight, you need to keep the carbohydrate percentage very low in your dinner.


Eating out

Eating out is the easiest way to gain weight. Try to limit your meals outside to the bare minimum. If you do go out, choose one of the following options:

Indian -- anything tandoori and salads. No gravies.
Chinese -- soups and anything steamed or stir fried. No sauces like Manchurian, Schezwan, etc.
Continental -- soup, salad and anything roasted (veggies, chicken, fish)


Mitin, it is very important to do both -- exercise and eat healthy -- in order to lose weight.

The meal plan I've made for you is an easy and safe way to lose weight without harmful side effects.

Drastic diets can help you lose weight but you will later suffer from deficiencies and the problems associated with them. What's worse, you will put the weight right back on, once you get back to eating normally.

Those diets work without exercise. But one must lose weight the healthy way, through eating sensibly and working out.

Since you are overweight, I suggest you concentrate on cardiovascular workouts like walking. Cardio workouts increase your heart rate and blood circulation, which causes fat to burn. The protruding belly is all-fat. To burn it, you need cardiovascular exercise. To tighten and tone the underlying muscles, you can include some abdominal and back exercises.


Start by walking for 30 minutes, four days a week. Walk at a fast pace. Maintain a good posture. Hold your tummy muscles tight, back tall and chin up -- parallel to the ground.

Every two weeks, increase the walking time by five minutes until you reach a full 60 minutes. Make sure you always walk fast. You should feel slightly out of breath.

If you don't have enough time for a one-hour walk, split it up into 2 half-hour walks.

Walk in the mornings. Avoid post-dinner walks.

Abs and back exercises

These, in your case, involve crunches and back hyperextensions. Do these three to four times a week.

This routine should help you start shedding your weight and making you feel better about yourself.

However, since you are looking at losing a good 20 kilos, it is a long process. If at any point, you find your body is stagnating and you are not losing more weight, it means your body has become stronger; it has also become used to this form of exercise.

In that case, you need to switch to other forms of cardio like jogging, swimming or aerobics. Once you lose about 10 kilos, you might want to start working out with weights. Please consult a gym trainer or a reputed book or Web site to get you started.

Good luck and Good health!

Please Note

Would you like Brinda to review your profile? Post your details.

Make sure to include the following information:



Vital statistics:


My fitness goal:



Working hours: 

Daily routine:

-- Brinda is head of the Group Exercise Department at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a fitness instructor for the last nine and a half years. 

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