Don't be mistaken for Santa this year, made your jeans fit better

 Don't be mistaken for Santa this year

Santa is know for a few things -- his white beard, his red suit, his sack full of toys. But there's something that he's particularly known for -- his belly, like a bowl full of jelly. After all, like Mrs. Claus says, "who ever heard of a skinny Santa?"

Ok, so Santa looks best with an extra spare tire around the middle, but that doesn't mean you do too. We're closing in on three weeks until the big day, December 25th, and instead of giving up all hope that you'll wow your extended family by shedding a few pounds, why not kick it into high gear and aim to be slim and trim by the time Christmas rolls around?You'll have to b realistic here -- three weeks isn't enough time to lose the 40 pounds you've been vowing to shed. But it is plenty of time to lose five to 10 pounds -- just enough to made your jeans fit better. Sound good? Here's the plan:

Don't be mistaken for Santa this year, made your jeans fit better

Step 1: Watch what you eat. This is key to reducing abdominal fat, or fat anywhere on your body. Try your best to eliminate sugar from your diet for the time being, and cut down on the amount of carbs you're eating. Eat lots of protein and lots of veggies.

Step 2: Hit the cardio machines. Weight training is great for toning you body, but no one will ever be able to notice if your muscles are lying under a layer of fat. The key to burning fat lies in the cardio. If you're currently doing 45 minutes of cardio a day, bump it up to an hour. If you're currently running two miles a day, challenge yourself to do three. If you don't do any cardio at all, get moving.

Step 3: Work those muscles. In between cardio workouts, get strength training workouts two or three times a week. You should try to tone your overall body but if your Santa belly is the part that's bothering you the most, put an emphasis on your abs every other day. For example, if your workout is an hour long, spend 40 minutes working on your arms, legs, butt, shoulders and back, and spend 20 minutes on your abs. Crunches work well, but they get boring after a while. Mix it up with bicycle crunches, reverse crunches, exercise ball crunches, boat pose and plank, for instance. One of my favourite ways to work my abs is with pilates. I use various DVDs including Mari Windsor's 20-minute workout.

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