Does your stomach always seem to stick out no matter how much dieting you do? Is your waistline not as slender as it could be? Do you blame post-partum body changes, call it a beer belly, or just figure that’s how you’re built and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it?
A larger-than-healthy abdominal area does not always point to stomach fat. If you’re someone who has trouble slimming down your midsection, there could be reasons why your stomach sticks out. Here are a few possibilities:
You could use a good cleanse. Sometimes we accumulate excess stools in the large intestine. In fact, even if you poop every single day, this can still happen because your body is not getting rid of all of your food waste in an efficient and timely manner. Perhaps you’re not getting enough exercise which might cause your body to retain waste. Or, you might not be drinking enough liquid which can make it harder to pass your stool in a timely fashion.
If backup is causing your stomach to bloat up, you can help things along by adding fiber of some form or another to your diet. There are many helpful colon cleanse formulas that you can add to a glass of water. Another option is to purchase a vegetable juicer and get into the habit of using it. Juicing is a wonderful cleanse for the body, providing missing enzymes that help your body break down food faster.
Waist-twisting exercises such as those performed with certain yoga moves also work to stimulate the digestive system and move waste out of the body. Seated and supine twists, triangle pose, rock pose and seated or standing forward fold all deliver support to the digestive system by toning the surrounding muscles and bringing warmth, oxygen and blood flow to the digestive area.
Another possible internal issue that may be causing stomach bloat is the gas produced by yeast in your digestive tract. This sounds gross, but all living beings have yeast inside of their bodies. The yeast thrives on sugar and carbohydrates – think of bread dough rising after sugar, water and yeast has been warmed and mixed with flour. In the same way that the yeast and sugar make the dough rise and expand, the yeast in your stomach produces gas when it feeds on the sweet foods that you ingest.
We can keep the natural yeast that lives in our bodies in check by limiting the amount of sugar we eat. Also, a few different foods afford us greater protection against yeast getting out of control in our bodies. You can purchase an over-the-counter probiotic that contains strains of healthy bacteria, or increase the amount of garlic that you eat. Even better if the garlic is raw, but understandable that you may not be up for the garlic breath challenge.
A third possibility that can contribute to having a bloated and protruding stomach is intestinal gas that results from poor digestion. This might mean that you must get into the habit of eating slower, chewing your food more slowly, avoiding eating when stressed or in a hurry, and taking smaller portions with each meal. Our digestive process begins in the mouth, when the masticating action of our teeth and the enzymes of our saliva take the first step in beginning to break down our food. The process continues, but it’s easy to interrupt if we give our body more work to do by gulping large mouthfuls of partially chewed foods.
For one week, be more mindful of how much, how fast and how well you chew the food that you eat. See if it makes a difference for your flatulence levels and the number of times you use the bathroom over the course of your day. You may actually find that in addition to having a flatter stomach in the absence of gas and bloating, you’re actually less hungry than you would normally be due to the fact that your body is making better use of the food you’re putting into it.