You've seen them, those commercials on TV that promise a flat belly if you work out for just three minutes a day, a blender that whizzes up fruit to become superfoods, or a particular piece of equipment that vibrates your fat into oblivion.

Have you ever considered that if it was that easy to lose weight and look fantastic the world would not have an obesity problem?

According to the latest research for the first time ever overeating is a larger problem than starvation among the world's overall population!

Many people believe that they can actually lose weight, gain a six pack and live fit and healthy lives if they give over their hard earned money to an 0800 number.
The appeal for most people is that it looks easy and effortless, minimal time is spent and fantastic results are instant.

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Before you reach for your credit card, think again. Your money would be better spent on a good pair of walking shoes or a personal trainer.
I have worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 35 years. During this time I have never heard of or seen anyone experience the miraculous transformations as seen on TV — nor will I.

Do you really crave that flat belly look, is a six pack a realistic option, and should you keep tormenting yourself with these expectations? There is a difference between what is real and what is attainable. To start with let's sort fact from fiction.

■ Myth: Eating certain food combinations produces a flat stomach.
■ Fact: There is no particular food that will reduce your belly fat. Some foods can cause bloating, but generally your excess belly fat is there because you are eating too much.

■ Myth: Exercising the abdominal region will burn bodyfat from that area.
■ Fact: No amount of abdominal exercises or vibration machines will burn bodyfat from that area. You can strengthen your core with specific exercises, however if your diet is poor you will keep the belly fat.

■ Myth: Cutting out a particular food will help lose belly fat.
■ Fact: If you are eating a highly processed diet then changing to a diet with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat will help with overall weight loss.

■ Myth: If I stop eating for a few days then my stomach looks flat, is this fat loss?
■ Fact: No, it's not fat loss. Reducing calories the extreme way has the opposite effect on your body. Your body will think you are in starvation mode and it will hold on to any fat for survival.

■ Myth: Whizzing up certain fruits turns them into superfoods.
■ Fact: Fruit of any description is still a fruit, blending it will not change what nature intended it to be.

The diet industry continues to focus on foods we should eat and doesn't educate people about the negative effect of consuming large quantities of food and sugary drinks. The infomercials promise rapid, effortless weight loss on costly pieces of equipment when we all know these claims are untrue. Changing your lifestyle habits is a slow and gradual process, and not something you can do overnight.

If you want to lose weight and improve your fitness then come in and see us. We have the expertise to guide you in the right direction and help you get the results you want for your body.

Angela Hewson is director of Her Fitness and a qualified personal trainer. P: 3489121 E:results@herfitness.co.nz