The appearance of your stomach can play a big role in how confident you feel in a bikini or a pair of skinny jeans, not to mention it being an indicator of your overall health.
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However, many people spend hours per week trying to tone their tummies, with few results. What they don’t realize is that there are certain approaches to take, depending on their belly types. Keep reading to learn more about the different types plus the best way to tone down in relevant ways.
The Post-Pregnancy Belly
Just after giving birth, it makes sense why your tummy area would weigh more than usual. After all, you just carried a little human in there for nine months! Some women are surprised to find out that their uterus is about 15 times heavier than it was before they got pregnant.
As a result, it can take about six weeks to return to a pre-baby weight. Besides, remember everyone is different, and it may take you a longer or shorter amount of time than that, depending on the specific factors you’re personally dealing with. Fortunately, fitness experts say you don’t have to necessarily go on a strict diet or endure hundreds of crunches and sit-ups per day to get your belly back.
Try doing exercises that target your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles naturally pull the stomach muscles in and make your belly look flatter. The pelvic floor muscles are those you clench when trying to stop a stream of urine.
Consciously do that in sets of 15 or 20, up to five times per day. However, don’t do these pelvic floor exercises immediately after you’ve urinated, or during urination, because that could cause infections. One of the best things about pelvic floor exercises is you can do them almost anywhere, and no one will even realize it.
If you are interested in adding something to your diet to help with the tummy toning efforts after you’ve given birth, try fish oil supplements. They affect hormones so the ones that deal with fat burning get turned on, and the ones that make your body store fat are turned off.
You can get fish oil supplements at any health food store, but they are becoming so popular you may also be able to find them at your local supermarket.
A Belly That’s Frequently Bloated
It’s very common for people to have bloated stomachs, and contrary to what you may think, this problem is not necessarily related to your weight. Even if you are very slim elsewhere on your body, you may still deal with stomach bloat issues.
They’re usually caused when the digestive organs become inflamed. The swelling is usually most common in the lower part of the stomach, such as below the belly button, and unfortunately, it can’t be fixed through diet or exercise.
Instead, you may need to see a doctor and should at least start by figuring out whether you have an allergy or intolerance to any of the foods you normally eat. Keep a food diary where you write down what you eat and also note the severity of your bloating.
That consistent documentation should help you pinpoint the foods that may be causing you to have a bad reaction. Once you have discovered those, cut them out, one at a time, for two weeks and see if your stomach bloating gets better.
Keep in mind, the progress you see may not just be restricted to how your belly looks, but you could also see an improvement in things like gas and indigestion.
No two people are the same in terms of their food intolerance. However, some of the most common culprits that cause bloating are yeast, processed dairy products and gluten. A nutritionist can help you find good substitutes if it turns out you’re allergic to a common food or ingredient that’s contributing to bloating.
Bloated stomachs can also occur when people have bowels that are sluggish or inflamed, due to eating the wrong types of food incorrectly. For example, if you eat too fast and don’t chew what you eat, that can cause bowel irritation and mean that undigested food starts fermenting in your gut.
To compensate, strive to eat in a calm environment and consciously pace yourself to chew food slowly and thoroughly.
Finally, bloating can also be related to fluid retention that happens when you aren’t hydrated enough. Stick with still, filtered water, and try to drink up to 100 ounces per day, but not too close to your meal times.
Drinking a lot too close to when you eat can disrupt digestion and make bloating work. Aim to create a 15-minute window before and after eating in which you do not drink anything. Also, when you do consume water, do so by taking small sips and not gulping the liquid.
A Belly That’s Overweight
People who are overweight tend to store more fat in their midsections than in other areas of the body, such as the arms and legs. Therefore, they often appear to have flabby tummies. Because this type of fat is generally soft, it’s easier to get rid of than other types.
To get started, it’s a good idea to eliminate things from your diet that may encourage your body to store fat. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol are a few examples. Starchy carbohydrates are also problematic.
Replace these troublesome foods with healthier options such as fish, eggs and vegetables. This type of tummy is also often caused, at least partially, by a lack of adequate exercise, so do what you can to stay more active each day.
Decide to go on a walk for some of your lunch breaks, start biking rather than driving and consider accompanying a friend to the gym.
A Stressed Tummy
Unlike an overweight belly, the stressed tummy is characterized by fat that’s very hard. People with this type of belly usually have comparatively less fat on the back, arms and legs. Similar to the guidance above, making improvements means cutting things out from the diet.
Stop drinking so much coffee and soda, and switch to herbal teas and filtered water with lemon juice instead. Also, rather than reaching for processed foods, stick to fresh, lean and unprocessed foods.
Fish oil supplements can also be helpful, just like they usually are for women who are trying to get rid of their pregnancy tummies.
Now that you’ve been given a brief overview of common tummy types and how to improve them, hopefully you have a better outlook and have realized you don’t just have to cope with an unflattering tummy.
Dedication and the correct approach are necessary, but you can anticipate noticeable results. If you try things on your own and don’t get the outcome you’d like, consider working with a team of people that are experts in helping clients get tummies they can be proud of.