Straight Talk Advice

Feb 21, 2007

Steps to a bikini state of mind

Dear Straight Talk: I think this is the most wonderful column! I learn to appreciate the thoughts of both parents and kids. I’m writing regarding the letter from “Fat in Folsom,” the mother who was overweight and whose daughter had a fat tummy. I need to lose a few pounds, too, but when my nine-year-old daughter started skipping meals because she was “too fat”—when she had only a little tummy bulge—that did it! I bought the family an exercise ball. Besides having fun, we are all working on that tummy. We also started family walks with the dog and this, too, as been fun.—Battling the bulge

Dear Battling the bulge: I’m glad you took action rather than contradicting her concern by telling her how perfectly fine she looks. Kids really do hate being fat and really do want help with it. What is essential is exercise, which is one of the hardest things to self-start. Skipping meals (or, down the road, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes) is a much easier approach. I want to share the mental and physical steps Farren is taking in her quest for fitness. I would also like to recall Peter’s experience (see “Walking it off, all 50 pounds” 5-11-2005 on the website). Peter began walking two miles a day to school and back. Parts of the walk were uphill and he often had to hustle. He went from 230 pounds at 5-foot 4 as a seventh grader, to 170 pounds at 6-feet as a senior. He did not do sports, just walked.

From Farren, 19: I can absolutely relate to having a fat tummy. I wouldn’t call myself fat, but when I look in the mirror my stomach isn’t where I’d like it to be. Since I was a young girl I have been embarrassed to wear bikinis or tops that cling to my form. As I got older and cared more about my image, the embarrassment became worse.

Recently I decided to boost my self-image by getting rid of the tummy. The first thing that helped was shopping for clothes that naturally hid my tummy and were pleasing and well-tailored for my body type. It takes time and practice to figure out what looks good on you and what doesn’t. Secondly, I realized that no matter how many magazines say you can have a flat stomach in six weeks doing crunches, it is completely ridiculous. Yes, maybe if you have no fat there to begin with, but for those of us with a flabby stomach the only way to a flat stomach is to do cardio and burn the fat that is already there.

I decided to start running a mile a day. I hate running, so getting on the treadmill was seriously huge for me. After a couple of weeks, I decided to run two miles a day (this is 30 minutes on the treadmill going about four miles an hour—not quite running, not quite walking). Within two weeks I saw an amazing change in my body. Not only did I lose three pounds, but my butt was firmer and my midsection was shrinking.

With this new boost, I quit drinking soda and exchanged my potato chips for whole-wheat crackers and fruits. While I still have a soda occasionally—once or twice a week—I have replaced most of them with water. I’m not going to lie: At first I wanted to go buy a box of donuts from Winchell’s! But I kept at it, and after five weeks I had lost six pounds. It doesn’t sound like much, but you can definitely tell when you look in the mirror. 

Sometimes I take a day off the treadmill and sometimes I cheat at In N Out, but I no longer crave the sweets or starchy foods I once loved. When I’m running, I see myself in a bikini and say to myself, “Geeze I’m sexy!”


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