The stomach is one of the most commonly complained about body part for both men and women. Even with a healthy diet and fitness routine, a flat stomach may seem elusive as people often find it remains round even after substantial weight loss. This is because there are many additional factors that can affect the way the stomach looks. The main culprit of a round belly even after weight loss and a good fitness routine is gas and bloating. Lets look at a few things you can do to help get the flat stomach look you’re after, Foolproof Ways to Keep Your Tummy Flat.
Whether you want to call it gut health, intestinal health, or digestive health, we know this topic sounds gross! However, it’s an important topic to know about and can make a huge difference in the quality of your life when you get it right. When your digestive system isn’t happy, you’ll suffer the consequences.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help your body break down food so it can be absorbed and utilised by the body. When you don’t have enough good bacteria, the bad bacterias take over and the results can range from mild bloating and discomfort to full blown stomach upset such as constipation or loose stools. Processed foods and antibiotics are two of the main culprits that throw off proper bacteria balance.
You can get probiotics by eating foods that contain them, such as yogurt, or by taking supplements.
If you’re really on a mission to get a flat stomach, doing a cleanse may be a good option. Cleanses help the body get rid of built up waste and toxins that may be sitting in the digestive track, specifically the intestines. In addition to helping with your journey to a slender mid-section, doing a cleanse can also help increase your energy level and improve the look of your skin. Consider a cleanse spring cleaning for your body!
There are many types of cleanses that are beneficial ranging from juice fasts to specially prepared cleansing kits. I personally use cleanses from blessedherbs.com, once a year. The most extreme form of cleansing is a colonic, which flushes the bowels directly. However, there are many options available that help rid the body of excess waste without a colonic.
These cleanses also provide healthy bacteria to help rebalance your body, setting you up for digestive success after the cleanse—you may even experience fewer digestive problems such as acid reflux and heart burn!
Make sure you plan your cleanse during a period of time you won’t have much going on, as you may initially find yourself feeling a bit poorly as your body expels all the built up toxins—this is temporary and you’ll feel much better once the process is complete. You’ll feel lighter, more energetic, and your tummy will be flatter.
Carbonated Beverages: These drinks may seem refreshing, but the same bubbles that we enjoy, create air and gas buildup in our bellies. Eliminating these from your diet may be all you need to get a flatter tummy!
Dairy Products: Many people are lactose intolerant without even realising it. The sugars found in most dairy products are difficult for the body to process, resulting in gas and bloating. Fortunately there are a growing number of dairy and lactose free products on the market, and enzymes available that can help you digest lactose properly if you do decide to eat it with a mild intolerance to it. Yogurt is the exception, as it contains probiotics that your tummy will thank you for, if you’re not lactose intolerant (if you are, supplements can provide the same probiotics).
Any Salty Food: Salt encourages the body to absorb water—a common cause of feeling bloated!
The following foods are nutrient dense and very good for you, but are likely to promote gas and bloating, so you may want to avoid them just before a special event or visiting the beach. Just remember to eat them other times to get all the health benefits they offer! You’re less likely to experience bloating if you eat them in small quantities at well, so spread out your servings rather than eating large helpings of these foods.
Any food that contains a high concentration of water can be considered a good way to fight bloating, both in the stomach and in your entire body. When you allow yourself to become dehydrated, your body begins to cling to the water it does have. This water gets stored in your body, rather than released and utilised to help flush away toxins as it should be. By consuming adequate amounts of water, and eating foods that contain lots of water, vitamins, and antioxidants, you help your body understand that it will get what it needs and it can use what you provide it.
Melons such as watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe
Cucumber: This vegetable contains lots of water and a special antioxidant known as quercetin, which helps reduce water retention and swelling.
Bananas: Foods that are high in potassium, like bananas, help fight water retention that results from consuming too much salt.
Papayas contain an enzyme that assists in the breakdown of proteins, giving your tummy much appreciated assistance and reducing the likely hood of excess gas from the digestion process.
Fennel Seed & Ginger: both of these are great ways to sooth an upset stomach. They can be incorporated into recipes or even chewed on directly to help alleviate digestive woes.
Peppermint Tea: A great way to unwind, this tea can also help soothe your stomach while hydrating you at the same time.
Build a Strong Core
Watching what you eat and making sure you have good digestive health will be your biggest assets in achieving a flat stomach, but if you really want to see a flat, toned tum, you’ll need to work on your core muscles.
By focusing on strengthening and building your abdominal muscles, you help hem become tight and pull them in-ward, giving your stomach definition and rounding off (ok, flattening off really!) your hard work as you eat healthy foods and avoid things that cause stomach bloating.
If you have excess body fat, that can also contribute to a flabby stomach, even if you have strong muscles hidden underneath. If you want a slender, flat, or even the ultimate sculpted six pack ab look—you’ll need to reduce your overall body fat percentage. Most men will find their body fat needs to be between 10-15% and women around 10-12%, but this will also vary depending on your unique body structure and the amount of muscle and body fat you have in your mid section. Women may see ab definition with as much as 22% body fat and men who are after competition level definition will likely need to get well below 10% body fat (although this isn’t sustainable for most people).
Pilates and the TVA
If you’re not already doing so, consider doing pilates to help define and strengthen your waist. Pilates is especially good for the TVA muscle, which gives shape to the stomach and waist area. As you inhale and exhale, this muscle contracts and relaxes out.
The transverses abdomens (TVA) is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and helps connect the ribcage and spine, supporting your entire body in the process. Even though it offers most of the support for your spine and balance, is one of the least used muscles with today’s sedentary lifestyles.
Since we don’t work this muscle as part of our day to day lives, it’s important to build and strengthen this muscle through a proper fitness routine—particularly pilates which focuses on building strength and muscle control. As you improve your TVA fitness, you’ll likely find you have less lower back pain and a flatter looking stomach!
Try lying flat on your back on the floor with your head and neck in a relaxed, neutral position (use a small pillow if needed), place your hands on your stomach and take a deep, slow breath in, then slowly exhale out. Repeat this about 10 times, then when you exhale, try holding the muscle contraction for 15-30 seconds. It’s harder than you think! Repeat this muscle hold several times and try to increase how long you hold it and the number of times you repeat the hold over the next several weeks. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to start strengthening the TVA.
If you’re looking for a fun way to refresh yourself, your health, and your fitness, consider our fitness resort! We can help you establish healthy habits that will last a lifetime—and help flatten your tummy! Check out our before and after tummy transformations on our success page.