That's a hard question, and the only real feedback I can give you is to be patient and keep up what you are doing. If you've lost 27 lb. since December, that is really fast weight loss for someone who is only 5'2" tall. Your BMI is now well within the normal range, so I don't recommend you lose more weight. But the fact that you lost the weight so fast means that your body's homeostatic mechanisms probably have not really fully caught up and adjusted to your new weight. I think you need to give it some time for your metabolic intelligence (I just made that phrase up, but it fits) to understand that you are not in starvation mode and that there is no need to store a pocket of fat to help you survive during a famine.
I know that if you are like most people, you would like to look perfect in a bathing suit by this summer, but it is more important to maintain your weight loss and be healthy. I would focus on maintaining appropriate weight, eating very healthy, and continuing to exercise for fitness, and see what happens to the belly over the next year. I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but it's what I've learned for myself.
I haven't even lost as much weight as you did -- I've lost about 30 of the 50 that I, ideally, need to lose -- and have hit a plateau. I'm not having any difficulty keeping off what I've lost, but I'm having difficulty losing more. So, I'm just taking kind of a "rest break" to relax and figure out what to do next. During this rest break, I am seeing that my belly is slowly remodeling toward normal, even though I am no longer actively losing weight.
There are a lot of metabolic processes that go on, of which we have no direct knowledge, and it would make sense that the whole system would need time to recalibrate after a big change.
I will say, I firmly believe that both trans fats and added sugar are slow poisons, and so I try to stay completely away from them. I do think that both of those things contribute to excess belly fat. But other than keeping trans fats and added sugar to an absolute minimum, I don't think there are any universal diet rules. Except for shunning trans fats and added sugar, I believe there is a lot of individual variability in what constitutes an optimal diet for any given person.
So my main advice would be to feel good about what you've already accomplished and focus primarily on maintaining it, because a lot of people backslide. In fact, most people backslide, so if you are successful at keeping the 27 lb. off longterm, you will place yourself among a select group of high achievers. And I do think that if you keep the weight off longterm, and you eat the right things, and if your lifestyle includes exercise, you are going to see some slow changes in your body profile.
Good luck. I would love to hear from you in the future, if you care to let us know how things turn out.
Thank you so much for the response. I understand what you mean.. my body needing to adjust to this new weight so it might take time to get my toned abs.
You've done an awesome job losing 27 pounds; I wish I could do that......
skydnsr had some good things to say...... of course, you need to keep your calories in check and watch the amount of fat (not just trans fat, but all fat) and of course, eliminate as many simple carbs as possible. Simple carbs are those that contain white sugar, white flour, white rice, etc. Stick with veggies, whole grains (complex carbs/fiber), lean meats and other high protein foods that will keep you feeling fuller longer.
Since you can't "spot lose", you might try something like yoga, that concentrates on core strength to help get rid of your tummy pouch. Additionally, zumba, dance, etc are also good exercise because they not only help lose weight (which you've already done), they help maintain the loss and strengthen the muscles.
Thank you so much for your response. This is good. I haven't thought of that. I'll definitely check into Zumba and Yoga. Core strength is key. It will help me lose the pouch. And yes, I'll stay away from carbs like white pastas and rice. I'll eat whole grains and veggies/fruits.
I do have one more question. I've been doing a lot of crunches, sit ups and other ab exercises at the gym. I notice I'm getting toned on my upper torso (stomach where my ribs are) but not my lower belly area. Do you always lose fat from top to bottom. I notice all my fat is settling in my lower belly but my upper half is toned. I hope this makes sense.
No, not all people lose weight from top to bottom. Some are just the opposite, others might lose from the middle first.
It's quite likely that your tummy pouch is due to inadequate exercise of that area and it hasn't become toned. Try the zumba and yoga for a while and see what happens; chances are, you'll see (and feel) a big difference in your whole body. As you said "core strength is key"......