In the Zone - September 2011

In This Issue

Featured Article

The Truth About Belly Bulge

Many women want to lose belly fat and as a result, end up spending hundreds of dollars on those “miracle” fat-burning pills or the fanciest new ab gadget they saw on TV. Can you lose that belly fat? The answer is YES! But there is no magic pill, diet plan, specific food, or type of exercise that specifically targets belly fat. However, the good news is belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose when you lose weight.

Whether you're an "apple" shape with excess belly fat, or a "pear" with wide hips and thighs, when you lose weight, you will most likely lose proportionately more from the abdominal region than anywhere else. Ninety-nine percent of people who lose weight will lose it in the abdominal region before anywhere else - and will lose proportionately more weight from the upper body. Why is that? Visceral fat, the kind tucked deep inside your waistline, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin, especially if you have plenty of it! And the more weight you have to lose, the more likely you are to quickly start losing your belly fat. People who are significantly overweight may see quicker results in their belly than someone who has less to lose in that area, such as someone with a postmenopausal pouch.

Can Whole Grains Help You Lose Belly Fat?

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains trimmed extra fat from the waistline of obese subjects. Study participants who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry) lost more weight from the abdominal area than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains.

"Eating a diet rich in whole grains while reducing refined carbohydrates changes the glucose and insulin response and makes it easier to mobilize fat stores," says study researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, a distinguished professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University.

Visceral fat is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat, especially if you have plenty of it and the right conditions are met. When you eat refined foods like white bread, it triggers a series of events, starting with elevated blood sugar levels followed by an increased insulin response, which can cause fat to be deposited more readily. However, eating a diet rich in whole grains (which also tend to be higher in fiber) helps improve insulin sensitivity. This, in turn, helps the body more efficiently use blood glucose, lowers blood glucose levels, and reduces fat deposition.

Can Monounsaturated Fats Banish Belly Fat?

A recent diet book called The Flat Belly Diet reinforces the idea that you can lose belly fat by eating a 1,600-calorie diet rich in monounsaturated fats. Most people will lose weight on a 1,600-calorie diet. And there is little question that when it comes to choosing fats, the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS) found in avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, soybeans, chocolate, olive and canola oils are among the best choices, with proven health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease. But, experts note, these are not magic foods capable of targeting belly fat. While the MUFAS are healthy fats, they are still fats, with nine calories per gram - more than twice that of carbohydrates and proteins, which have four calories per gram. Fats have to be controlled, because it is easy to over eat nuts or guacamole - which can undo the health benefits by packing on the pounds.

Can Exercise Flatten Your Abs?

Praying and doing hundreds of crunches each day won't flatten your belly if you need to lose weight people! Strength training is meant to tighten and cannot spot reduce! Only overall loss of excess body fat will do the job.

If your abdominal muscles aren't covered with excess fat, strengthening them can help you look tighter and thinner. But spot exercises won't banish belly fat. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must eat a healthy, controlled-calorie diet and get regular exercise - around 60 minutes per day of moderate activity. And the harder you exercise, the more belly fat you may lose! People who engage in high-intensity aerobic exercise tend to be leaner around the abdomen.

The Bottom Line About Belly Fat

I’m not here to deliver bad news or depress you. My job is to be real with you and give you the facts. Scientific evidence suggests that a calorie-controlled diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, eggs and poultry is the foundation for a diet that provides all the nutrients you need while helping to trim your waistline.

The real secret to losing belly fat is to lose overall body fat on a balanced, controlled diet and exercise at least an hour a day.

Much love,
Dede Barbanti

Recipe of the Month

Chicken and Barley Soup


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large bone-in chicken breast, (10-12 ounces), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup trimmed and diagonally sliced asparagus, (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 strip orange zest, (1/2 by 2 inches)


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Grate or finely chop 1 clove garlic; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone.

When the barley is done, add the chicken, tomatoes and juice, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more. Coarsely chop the remaining garlic clove. Gather basil, orange zest and the garlic and finely chop together. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat the soup, thin with broth if desired and finish with Step 4 just before serving.

Nutrition Per serving

265 calories; 6 g fat ( 2 g sat , 3 g mono ); 39 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 7 g fiber; 745 mg sodium; 405 mg potassium.

Success Story

Nicole R.

For most of my life I have been overweight. When I was out with friends I'd be happy but deep down I hated being the size that I was. I hated that all my friends could share clothes but I was too big to fit into their clothes. I was almost at 200 pounds, so I decided start going to the gym and eat a little healthier. I had dropped around 15 pounds and eventually stopped because I had no support team or help. Then, ? I met Dede and she told me about Boogie Box. I told her that it sounded really cool and that I would consider going, and of course I never did. Then I went to the doctors and he advised me that I should lose some weight. As a result, I finally started Boogie Box. At first I just looked at it like an ordinary workout class. The class coach as well as Dede talked to me pretty seriously about the need to eat healthy and workout 3-4 times a week. I took their advice and 4 months later I have gone down ten pant sizes, two shirt sizes, lost 27 pounds and 31.5 inches. I never thought it would be possible to lose weight, but Boogie Box gives you real results, if you are truly serious about seeing the results. The coaches are also really helpful and are a good support team. A huge thank you to Dede and Paco.

Read my full story

Ask Dede

Q: Once you reach your weight loss goal, how shoud you use the BBX Hardcore program to maintain your weight?

Jennifer Ward

This is actually a really great question because upon finishing the program most people might make the mistake of putting Hardcore on the shelf and never looking back...NO BUENO! I have specifically designed this program so that you can continually work towards more advanced levels and constantly progress! To keep it simple I wrote brief bullet points based on your level of fitness.

Beginner/Low Impact: If you started off at the beginner/low impact level then the next step is simple; begin the program from day one learning and perfecting the Intermediate options that you will find in "The Moves" section.

Intermediate/Moderate: If you began the program at an Intermediate level, I recommend you re-start the system from the beginning and learn and perfect all of the advanced options.

Advanced/High: If you started my program already at an advanced level I suggest you alternate between the full 1 hour Hardcore workouts levels 1, 2 and 3 (4-6x a week.)

Results will only come through proper execution, slow controlled movements and progression. I am a firm believer that if you aren't doing it right, not only can you injure yourself but you cannot and WILL NOT achieve results. Learn to execute each move correctly for your specific level and then keep pushing yourself to the next level!

Dede Barbanti