I want a six-pack! How can I my diet and nutrition help me lower my body fat percentage so I can get ab definition?

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I need some major help in how to lose and bring down my body fat percentage. To date, I have lost 25 lbs. I work out 6 times a week.  I’m thin, but now I want a six-pack and I don’t have one yet.  I was told that my body fat needs to be lower in order for me to get the six-pack that I am so desperately trying to achieve. I eat very healthy every day, and my body fat at this time is 23%. How do I get it down? Help, I want a six-pack! – Alicia

 

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Abdominal fat is tough to lose when you’re already at an ideal weight. Being 23% body fat is good for women, so you are on the right track for your health and fitness. Though you can’t target specific areas for fat loss, a good amount of core work and cardio can keep your ab muscles toned. Tune-up your diet by limiting refined flour, salt, added sugars and alcohol, as these are often big belly culprits. Drink plenty of water, eat plenty of produce and consider drinking green tea. – Debbie J., MS, RD

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Posted on June 4, 2013, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Unfortunately, my six packs are preventing me from a six pack.

  2. Stephanie Parton

    On the question of nutrition. I work a graveyard shift. So my sleep, and nutrition are basically all messed up. My excercise has been suffering. I want to get back on track. But this shift is hard. Do not know what to eat or when? Suggestion.

    • Stephanie,
      You need to “pretend” your graveyard shift is “normal”. Sleep before your shift. Stay up after it is over. Eat a normal breakfast before your shift, lunch during, dinner afterward. No snacking before you go to bed. Wakeup a couple hours before your shift to workout in the “morning” or directly after your shift if you want to workout at “night”. I hope that helps and is not too confusing.

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      Having counseled night shift / graveyard workers in several industries (hospitality, casino and truck drivers), I find that small meals function best. Don’t be contained to traditional meals, but think outside the box in terms of combinations. Leftovers are wonderful. Hopefully you’ve adjusted your meal timing and volumes to suit your working and sleeping hours, too.

  3. Debbie Dunne

    When drinking green tea, should it be straight or can it be flavored, to get the greatest benefit from green tea and how much should you consume?

  4. I’m on dialysis..How would I get a 6pack? I’m usually in gym for he.bike then cardio..

  5. 1he in gym. Three times so.plus can’t lift heavy things.

  6. hey thanks for ya advice, it was helpful …

  7. I think you’re on the right track. Just increase your abdominal work a lot. Your fat percentage is ok but if you’ve already lost 25 lbs. you already know what you’re doing. So keep it up and you’ll be fine.

  8. Estee May Scigliano

    I lost 3% body fat by eliminating sugar, carbs, fried foods and cheeses…. I also drink green tea and fresh raw juice……..

  9. Does salt really make you fat? I’ve been training for abs and I’ve lowered my calories but not sodium

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      No, salt doesn’t make you fat. Sodium (part of salt) does relate to water retention though. When water is displaced between the cells, instead of inside them, puffiness or bloating can result. If a reduced sodium diet [2,300 mg recommended max] can’t be adhered to, the key is to consume lots of potassium, which encourages water to stay inside cells. The best potassium sources are fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat milk products.

  10. Emison Vincent

    Crunches will do the job

  11. Thanks for the useful info! I’m basically in the same boat as Alicia. There’s the issue of extra skin tissue in the belly area, too, which comes with significant weight loss. That makes it all the harder to get those abs to show. My trainer told me weight loss to achieve lower body fat no longer needs to be the focus. A healthy and reasonable goal is to improve body composition through weight training, a diet leaning toward protein and plants, and as you mentioned, core and continued cardio. Dancers also swear by Tahitian and belly dance as a great way to tone abs, and I’ve read that it keeps toned other muscles that hold a woman’s internal organs in place. It would give me an extra dose of motivation, too, to look good in those revealing outfits!

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