|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.
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.
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
: Not enough fiber and fluid intake. Inadequate activity. These lead to constipation, followed by bloating. And oh, it hurts.
: 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
: The fizzy soft drinks including the diet versions trap gas in your belly.
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.
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.
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?
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