health and wellness tips

From Flatulence to Flat

I am aiming for this! Yeah!
Do you wish you had a flat belly? Me too! I bring you good news:  looking good and feeling better doesn’t have to be the Holy Grail.  For some weeks now, I know I have been sitting a lot (and probably shaving years off my life). Besides the fact that sitting more than three hours a day can kill you (very slowly), it is also not at all fun to be stationary. Although my work involves using the computer, I try and make it a point to get up every half hour and walk around. There’s always a list of things to do and I tackle the 5 or 10 minute chores. I am a big one for maintaining lists – they help me manage my time efficiently.

But.
In the last few weeks my schedule has gone a little out of whack. The best laid plans were shuffled, with a lot of emergency things to attend to. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day and when we displace one activity with another, where to find the time for it magically? Life, I tell ya!
However, absolutely no regrets about how things are going because I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  What I am trying to say is this: the sitting, the tumbled routine and the running around quickly led to unusual eating patterns (yes, I am glaring at YOU, chips, Pepsi and fruit biscuits!). And before I knew it, I felt an alien sense of bloated-ness. Gross.
Stomach bloating is common and can make you feel fat. Truth.
Two tummies will never be better than one (Old jungle saying). Ok I just made that up.
I am kind of paranoid about being overweight and always manage to step off that precipice. But it is becoming a thin line. Yeah, the line is thin even as I feel just the opposite. Fat. There. I said it. (Note I said “feel” not “am”) So I only need to shed a few pounds and depending on what angle I am standing in, and my posture, I can easily convince you I am fit.
But.
Back to feeling bloated. It feels bad. And ignored, can look worse. Nobody likes an extra tummy, right?
So I’ve researched, chatted up my doc (I had to take Vidur to see him as he is sick with a throat infection, cold and fever) and I am about to share what I’ve learned.
And as I said earlier, I’ve got good news for you. You can avoid the bloat easily.
(No. I am not referring to losing pounds here, folks. Come on. Get real!)
The temporary tummy discomfort that feels like the end of life hits all of us occasionally. Unless it is due to a health condition (heart, liver disease can do that) the usual cause is intestinal gas. Some people assume it is because of fluid collection. Fluid does not collect in the abdomen. It is the feet and ankles that swell first.
*If your stomach bloating is because of a medical condition, please talk to your doctor.
So, question: Why does gas accumulate and make your life miserable?
There are many reasons. Here’s a breakup of the “whys” along with a solution.  Yeah, I am nice like that. I chose these because it is easy to add them to our daily routine, one/two/three at a time.
 
Let’s start with constipation
 
Why: Not enough fiber and fluid intake. Inadequate activity. These lead to constipation, followed by bloating. And oh, it hurts.
Solution: You can avoid this by adding fiber to your diet. The recommended allowance for women is 25 grams per day and for men, 38 grams per day. Fiber means whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leguminous veg. With this, drink enough fluids, at least 6-8 glasses per day. Add physical activity at least thirty minutes, five days a week. And feel the difference. 
Wheat and lactose allergy
 
Why:  If you have a food allergy or cannot tolerate certain foods, this is likely to cause gas. But don’t self-diagnose to find out. It does help to maintain a food diary to see what you consume but the diagnosis is best left to your doctor..
Solution:  Your doc may recommend tests to check for certain allergies based on a Q & A with you. Once the allergens are identified, you’ll know which foods to cut down or combine with others to benefit from them.
 
Racing through meal times
 
Why: Momma was right when she said to eat slowly. Eating too fast may result in not chewing your food  well. This makes you swallow air and the next thing you know is you’re suffering from bloating.
Solution: Relax and eat slowly. Take your time. You probably remember your high school biology lesson which said  that digestion begins in the mouth. So chew your food well.  Eating slowly also lets you enjoy your food and cuts down snacking. That’s a “yay!” for losing weight.
 
Too many fizzy drinks 
 
Why: The fizzy soft drinks including the diet versions trap gas in your belly.
Solution: Switch to water. Flavor it with lemon / cucumber / lime. For a start cut down on the fizzies.  Drink tea instead.
 
Chew, chew, chewing Gum
 
Why: Chewing gum makes you swallow air which >> bloating. I was shocked when I heard this and packed my gum off right away. Yes – I love chewing gum from the time they were called “chiclets” (peppermint gum). Then I switched to Orbit.  Then nothing.
Solution: Ditch the gum. Switch to fruit, veg or low-fat popcorn. Yeah, easier said than done. But when the alternative is bloat….you decide.
 
“Sugar-Free” 
 
Why: Artificial sweeteners are known to cause bloating.
Solution: Cut down to under two or max three daily servings of artificially sweetened food and drinks.  If you want to chuck it, that’s perfect.
 
Salt
 
Why: Processed foods are high in sodium and low in fiber. Do the math. The answer is bloat.
Solution: Pay attention to food labels especially if your grocery list has processed/canned/frozen foods. Anything that mentions more than 500 mg of sodium per serving is a no-no. Choose “low or very low sodium” alternatives.
Did you know that we can actually survive without salt? We get enough from the fruits and veg we eat. Salt is just an acquired taste. Dieticians recommend using table salt rather than cooking with salt because that cuts down our salt intake drastically. 
 
Beans et al
 
Why: Some veg are known culprits for causing bloating – examples are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots especially if you are not used to them.
Solution: You don’t have to give up eating them. Ironically, they are also high-fiber nutritious veg. So add them to your diet slowly and incrementally. Your doc may advise an anti-gas med to help you eliminate gas because of this. Or I could give you kitchen remedies. You choose!
 
Three big meals a day
 
Why: Many of us eat three large meals a day. Or even skip one. That is all there’s time to do anyway. But three large meals can cause gas because of the long gaps between the meals. This also causes spikes in blood sugar.
Solution: Dieticians advise eating smaller meals more often. This keeps off that feeling of bloat, while also helping you maintain your blood sugar and manage your hunger better. Ideally, this should be five or six small meals through the day, keeping in mind your health condition and your food/calorie needs.
Resource: Refer  the  U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate web site to know the recommended nutrient intakes
And – Remember:
  • Skipping meals, Laxatives and Fasting do not take away the bloat or help you lose weight.
  • The only way to achieve a flat belly that lasts is by losing pounds
  • When you shed body fat, belly fat is the first to go – meaning, more is lost from around the abs than elsewhere
  • Don’t overdo your ab exercises hoping to vanquish your extra belly
  • Tone and strengthen your ab muscles and watch your belly become flatter even as your posture improves. This will also benefit your back.
Whether your goal is weight loss, eating for better health or  boosting energy levels – taking action is key. After all, health is wealth, no matter how clichéd that sounds. Life will only get busier. So take good care of you!Do you suffer from that bloated feeling?
How do you overcome it?

Stay healthy!

P.S. Just one more thing. I am over at Erin’s blog today. Erin L Margolin is an amazing writer and I love her blog. I’ve been following her writing for a while now and I was delighted when she invited me to guest post. If you have a moment, please do drop by:   

Of Superstitions…and Lizards: A Guest Post by Vidya Sury
Thank you!
Thank you for subscribing to my blog! Do consider leaving a comment – or just reply to this email! I’d love to know what you think.Cheers!

Vidya

You Might Also Like

40 Comments

  • Reply
    Terri Sonoda
    July 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Good advice, Vidya! Look forward to reading you over at Erin’s place. Have a wonderful day! XOXOs

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 14, 2012 at 4:11 am

      Thank you, dear Terri! Hugs! You have a great day too!

  • Reply
    Hajra
    July 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Loved your suggestions. Though I am still struggling at the gym for that flat tummy, I loved the methods to avoid discomfort of any kind!

    Off to check our guest post!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you, Hajra! 😀 It takes hard work eh?

  • Reply
    Harleena Singh
    July 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Informative post Vidya!

    I loved your why’s and solution’s shared 🙂

    Yes indeed, belly fat is known to occur more so with people like us who lead a sedentary lifestyle or need to keep sitting while working. And it often leads to other health problems later in life too.

    I am lucky that ways that I hardly indulge in fast foods, fizzy drinks, or any of the unhealthy stuff. Guess I do follow a controlled and balanced diet, and often resort to a few days when I switch over to a complete fruit and vegetable diet – letting go of the tea, milk, grains, carbohydrates, which brings the weight back on line. You don’t actually remain hungry, instead, just eat selective nutritious food – conscious eating as they call it. 🙂

    Guess I’ve never really had gas problem as eating something healthy every 3 hours is a rule at home, so things work well there. But yes, to know that even chewing gum, salt, and sugar free can cause this is alarming indeed!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Harleena!

      Interestingly, my son does not indulge in any snacking. I find it odd. He’s cool with fruits as snacks. What can i say? I am blessed.

      Mindful eating is best. And being conscious, especially after 40. We practice a fruit/salad diet one day of the week. And the eating 4-5 smaller meals really helps plan things out nicely – as I found out some years ago. Suits me – as I am not a big quantity eater.

      🙂 Hugs!

  • Reply
    Carolyn Hughes
    July 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Some great suggestions here Vidya!I find I am spending increasingly more time sitting at my computer and I have noticed quite a difference in my shape – it’s not a good shape!
    Must follow some of your tips and take action 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      I’ve begun to stand for every hour I sit, Carolyn. I have a table set up to match my height that way. Which means I alternate between my laptop and desktop computer. 😀 Cutting down on sitting alone helps quite a bit!

      Love, Vidya

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    July 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    So I’m just sitting here chewing some gum…hee hee.
    These are great tips!
    I have chronic back pain and take medications that ummm…well hold things in so I do make sure to drink lots of water and bulk up on high fiber foods.
    But then I had the gallbladder of torture and I no longer have that ummm…bloat.
    Who knew.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      I love gum too…but I avoid it these days 😀 Okay, once in a while I cheat with sugar-free. Just as bad. Thank God Mr Gall Bladder is gone Hugs!

  • Reply
    Cathy | Treatment Talk
    July 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Good information VIdya. Belly fat is no one’s friend. For many women, including myself, the extra pounds seem to land in the middle. Great tips!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you, Cathy. Belly fat – so easy to gain. So hard to lose, usually. I am only just keeping in check 😀

  • Reply
    Just A Normal Mom
    July 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I recently read on another blog that chewing up and eating a spoonful of fennel seeds can offer very fast relief for those times where we don’t follow your very wise suggestions and find ourselves miserable with gas pain. Haven’t tried it but if I experience it ever again, I’m going to give it a go! Of course prevention is best 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Ally! Lovely to see you here. You’re right about the fennel seeds. Same goes for fenugreek seeds.

      Alternately, boiling a couple of spoons of fennel seeds in about 500 ml of water and drinking the water in 150 ml doses helps in a big way. 🙂

      Gosh, we get the sugar-coated mint-flavored fennel seeds…heavenly!

  • Reply
    Victor
    July 13, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Vidya,

    Awesome article and wonderful (and helpful) recommendations! I loved the picture you placed within this post too. It made me laugh! Thanks for the great advice! 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks, Victor! 😀 If only it were as easy as using dish washing liquid!

  • Reply
    Vetrimagal
    July 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    A good topic with useful tips, Vidya!

  • Reply
    Bill Dorman
    July 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    My ass is fat….and so is my gut…..not really, but kinda…

    I am not a disciplined eater; I don’t eat bad, but I don’t have a quit meter if it tastes good. I used to be a runner but have had some foot problems so I haven’t been as active. Whoops……man those pants are getting tight…….:).

    Yes, just get up and move….

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Gosh, Bill – I don’t have a quit meter either for certain things. My latest craze is fruit biscuits – I call this my disease can’t stop until it is over. Finito. Weirdly – my son can stop the moment he thinks he’s had enough. I am going to hate going shopping next month for jeans. 😀 I compensate by walking a lot.

  • Reply
    Kimbundance
    July 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Well done post Vidya!

    I have found that daily excersice is what usually helps me out personally with getting in shape. =)

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Kim! Great to have you here. You’re right of course. I have an easy exercise regimen – housework, walking. One thing is for sure – it definitely makes me feel great. Never mind the little extra padding here and there. 😀 yes, I need a new pair of jeans too!

  • Reply
    Unknown Mami
    July 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I need to work on my good habits because I’ve gotten really great at my bad habits.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Let’s shake hands on that, Claudya. 😀 ‘cuz you got company!

  • Reply
    Nikky44
    July 14, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Thank you Vidya!! Great advice that I really need to start following. I can spend days with no food, then spend others eating constantly. Eating is related to my mood which is very bad.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Ah, emotional eating is a tough one to overcome, Nikky. You are not alone though. I think we all do it once in a while. Hugs. Baby steps is the way to go.

  • Reply
    Fran Sorin
    July 14, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Vidya…Great information. I do a lot of exercise. 2 years ago I started rowing and I must say that it works more muscles than any other aerobic exercise I’ve done. STILL…once menopause hits, well…what can I say? A larger waist, love handles and back fat (OMG!!) are some of the biggies….even if you’ve always been fit or even skinny. Very few women escape it. And those that look too good, unless their body fat is like Madonna’s, chances are that they’ve had some work done on their bodies. xxoo-Fran

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      I used to be very fit, Fran. Max 5 pounds extra that never showed – visually. But you’re right about menopause – I suspect I could be approaching the pre- … well…that is my story! I really must work it off! Hugs!

  • Reply
    vanita
    July 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    OMG I absolutely love the way you just lay it out sis! Awesome tips here. i pinned that piggy shot too! i see you got the big blogger butt blues too sis. 😉 occupational hazard i tell ya.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Not so much big blogger butt blues as an all-round extra padding around the midriff. Yuck. I’ll never wear a saree for as long as I sport that. 😀 I am blaming it on menopause. 😀 Not yet there…but still!

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    July 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Vidya,
    I have LOTS to work on!!!! Xxxxx

    Have a great weekend, dearest.

  • Reply
    Jack
    July 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    One of the best things I did to help my diet was to stop eating at the computer. I used to do it because I thought it was making me more productive and then I realized I had no idea how much food I was actually consuming so…

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      Jack – you’re spot on! I realized it was all to easy to munch at the PC – while browsing or catching up on reading. Oh yeah, that big bowl of whatever disappears so fast. I’ve quit eating at the PC too! 😀

  • Reply
    Aileen
    July 15, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Vidya, I wish that when I shed body fat, belly fat is the first to go – but that’s not no for me 🙁 it’s the first area to gain and the last to trim. Perhaps that’s just a short torso body type thing.
    🙂
    Love the fun and humor that flavors this post 🙂

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Quite possible, Aileen. I find it easy to lose it….and equally easy to get it right back on. One slip up leads to another…and before I know it, I am eating chips like I am going to die tomorrow! 😀 Hugs!

  • Reply
    Evelyn Lim
    July 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I know one of my biggest problems: snacking unhealthily while working! It is ironical because I would be having a juice or salad for lunch and then potato chips for breaks when I step away from my desk…urgh! I have healthy snacks in my kitchen but I just cannot get away from the unhealthy ones.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      July 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      I understand, Evelyn. I have succeed in tackling this by not stocking any of the yummies I love. Not having them around makes it easier to manage 😀 Once in a while i do become weak though! 😀

  • Reply
    thoughtstomull.com
    July 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Great post, Vidya, with lots of excellent information!

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    %d bloggers like this: