Oh the dreaded bloat! Never fun, especially surrounding major events like a vacation, a wedding, birthdays, etc. If I'm lounging in my home, bored, feet kicked up, wearing an over sized t-shirt, I could care less. But you just found this really cute tight fitting dress on sale at H&M and have to look great in it! So, what do you do? Well, I had that issue not to long ago and here are just a few suggestions that could save you ....
Yup, that's me! I chopped my head off in these photos because when I took them I didn't think I'd be posting them on a website. So, how did I go from the photo on the left to the photo on the right in ONE MONTH (before my birthday)? and then eventually the photo below? Find out how now!
Wait ... before we jump right in, lets find out why we bloat. Abdominal bloating is a condition in which the abdomen feels uncomfortably full and tight and may be visibly swollen. Bloating is a common complaint, and can affect both men and women of any age. While we are on this subject let me point out that I am not a doctor, I repeat ... I am not a doctor, but according to Dr. Oz "After you eat, acids begin the digestive process, but the bulk of the work is handled by the small intestine. There, enzymes process the sugars, protein, and fat and help your body absorb them. If large molecules of food survive that step, they arrive in the large intestine (colon) where bacteria finish the job. As they work, those bacteria release gas, and, voila, your intestines become distended, you feel overly full and crampy and your pants don’t fit as well (credit)."
Now, for the fun part. Here are some things you can do on your own to reduce bloating ...
WATER WITH LEMON
I have to be honest, I'm not a HUGE fan of water! Even when I eat a meal, I usually don't drink anything in the process. Weird, I've always done that since I was little. It takes a lot of effort for me to make sure I stay hydrated. I have to make a conscious effort to plan out my water intake. A lot of people skip water when they feel bloated, fearing it will make them even more bloated! Retaining water is actually your body's way of holding on to fluid so you don't dehydrate. If you're having a bloating problem, you should want to push out fluids, not restrict them. Lemons are a natural diuretic and can work as a laxative when combined with water, consuming water and lemon can help reduce the amount of salt retained in the body. Remember H20 is your friend! In order to make sure I drink enough water each day I make an effort not to have any other options around. So my home is usually juice free and definitely soda free.
I never learned this until I did some research online. Celery has a high water content and helps to relieve fluid retention because it is a diuretic. This vegetable is high in fiber and very low in calories, and is an excellent snack choice when you are trying to reduce belly fat. Celery also has vitamin C, which can boost your immune system and brighten your complexion.
REDUCE THE BUBBLY:
They don't call it beer belly for nothing! Limit your alcohol intake. When you drink a lot of alcohol you can get dehydrated, which will result in your body pulling in fluid. Ever wake up after a night of drinking and you are insanely thirsty? This is why. Go for the bottled water!
BEANS AND LENTILS
Lentils have a high amount of fiber and are a good choice for aiding with digestion. Beans are naturally high in both estrogen and protein and can relieve bloating. Potassium-rich foods include white beans, soybeans, and lima beans. My family is part Portuguese and growing up my Mother would make jagacida aka jag (which I hear is a Cape Verdean dish as well) and it consists of rice, sausage and beans. I never liked beans until I was an adult and I use to take the lima beans and eat everything else surrounding them. My mom would always remind me to eat them because they are good for me, turns out she was right.
REDUCE SODIUM & SUGAR:
I think everyone is aware that SALT & SUGAR have a huge impact on your digestion and can cause belly fat! It's very simple, keep your sodium and sugar intake to a minimum and choose organic over processed foods. Many people have issues with frozen meals provided by companies such as Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones, because they tend to be high in sodium. I believe over the years these companies have tried to reduce the amount of sodium in their products, but eating organic is always the way to go. Fresh turkey breast will have always less sodium than processed, packaged turkey. I try to eat as fresh as possible but it's hard because organic foods tend to be a lot more expensive. It's a big problem! Consult with a nutritionist to find out how much sugar and salt is acceptable based on your body.
Dandelion tea is my favorite! It doesn't taste half bad and it's a mild diuretic that will also help get rid of the water your body is holding onto. It help break down fatty meals that also make you bloated. Try drinking one cup per day but my suggestion is to do it at home especially the first time around so if it back fires on you, your not stuck at work dealing with it.
Physical fitness and getting into shape is an excellent way of toning down that tummy. Doing some form of physical activity can give your digestive system a boost. I especially love cardiovascular exercises, like aerobics and plyometrics. I really want to take up boxing but I'm just not sure when I'd have the time to do it. That is on my bucket list.
I was able to reduce my bloat and tone my tummy by doing the items above and combining it with the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred which is a 20 minute work out you can do 5 days a week from your own home. Yes, your own home! I am not a gym person. I get easily distracted (and even intimidated) so I prefer to work out in my home. Many people look down upon people who do at home work outs believing that they can't see great progress without being at a gym. I have seen great results from other people which inspired me to even try it. Also, this isn't the first time I've done an at home work out, in the past I've done P90X and Insanity.
In conclusion, just remember, when your stomach feels like it’s about to burst, drinking water may be the best quick fix. Water in your body will restore the sodium balance in the body and normalizes your digestive tract. Be sure to stay hydrated, by drinking the daily recommended amount of 8 (8-oz) glasses of water a day. Good Luck!
How do you deal with bloating? Comment below.