As bikini season approaches, the desire for a flat belly to accompany your new swimsuit grows. While it might seem impossible to shed the flab around your mid-section, just know that there are a few quick tricks that you can implement right away to make your belly look trimmer and thinner (without doing 10,000 sit ups!).
Tip #1 – Ban Bloat
A lot of times we feel “big” in the middle not because of fat (thankfully!) but what’s going on in our stomach. Keeping our digestive system happy, especially by avoiding bloating, can go a long way in helping us look and feel slimmer.
Here are a few tips to ban the bloat:
– Use herbs such as basil, dill, ginger, fennel, and mint – all of these herbs have gas-relieving properties. There are some great herbal teas that include these herbs which can be an easy way to get more of them into your system and start reducing the bloat instantly.
– Introduce fiber-rich food gradually – fiber is great, but if you are not used to a fiber-rich diet and suddenly eat a lot of fiber-rich food, your GI tract will act up.
– Cook beans and legumes properly – soak dried beans and legumes for at least 4 hours, and use spices or kombu to improve digestibility.
– Notice how your body reacts to vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potato and cabbage, and moderate your intake if necessary. These vegetables, while super healthy, can cause excess gas in some people.
– Look for potential food intolerance (e.g. lactose or gluten) – if your body cannot digest and assimilate these properly, they can cause gas.
– Yoga Poses like sun salutation can help in weight loss – these poses stimulate the movement of the smooth muscles of the intestinal walls and help “move things along”.
Tip #2 – Reduce Fluid Retention
You can easily gain 2-3 kilograms, or even a dress size, if you are experiencing water retention. For most women, hormonal fluctuation is the main cause of fluid retention. Food allergies and intolerance can also be a cause for water retention. Although you may not be able to get rid of all the fluids that Mother Nature imposes on you, there are a few things you can do to reduce the “impact”:
– Stay hydrated
– Reduce salt intake
– Reduce sugar intake
– Reduce toxic load and detox regularly
– Use herbs with diuretic properties such as dandelion greens, uva ursi, corn silk, alfalfa, stinging nettle, celery seeds and parsley (again find these in herbal teas or make into a tincture)
– Go to a sauna and sweat out excess water
– Discover if you may have any food allergies or intolerance by doing an elimination diet
Tip #3 – Facilitate Elimination
Facilitating elimination can help get rid of “dead weight” that is bogging you down. Here are a few things you can do to help “move things along”:
– Drink fresh juice of carrot and apple to aid colon detox
– Drink a cup of warm water with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, first thing in the morning – it is very alkalinizing and cleansing
– Ensure adequate intake of dietary fiber – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, flaxseed, wheat bran, psyllium husk
– Eat foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics
– Exercise regularly – movement helps peristalsis
– Do yoga poses such as twisting and cat-cow to massage the digestive organs
These three simple strategies really can cause instant relief from bloating and gas that can cause us to feel less-than-trim across the mid-section. Just know that by a few easy tweaks you are one step closer to the flat belly you so desire!