Losing weight can change your whole self-image, helping you feel better about yourself and your appearance. But even when you stick to your weight loss plan and steadily shed excess pounds, belly bloat can spoil your results. How can you get the flat belly you want? Battle the bloat and shrink that belly by avoiding these common causes:
1. Eating Fast
When you’re feeling very hungry, you may be so eager to satisfy your appetite that you wolf down your food. But when you eat fast, you tend to swallow a lot of air along with the food. Air in your stomach can noticeably bloat your belly. The excess air will pass or dissipate eventually, but for a few hours it can leave you with a swollen gut.
Bonus: Taking time to chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly lets you enjoy the food more and, studies show, discourages overeating.
2. Chewing Gum
There are lots of reasons for chewing gum. It can refresh your breath, relieve dry mouth and even help stave off hunger. But when you chew gum—or suck on hard candy—you swallow more often than you would otherwise. And because there is no food to swallow, you take in even more air than when you eat.
3. Drinking Soda
Carbonation makes fizzy drinks fun, but the bubbles can cause belly bloating. Even diet soda or low-calorie flavored seltzer can produce a paunch. Try drinking peppermint tea—hot or cold—because it aids digestion, further reducing the risk of bloat. Want some help cutting back on soda? We can help!
4. Consuming Artificial Sweeteners
Sorbitol, xylitol and other sweeteners found in sugar-free foods are carbohydrates that some complain can generate gas in your digestive tract, leaving you with a bloated belly. If sweets are what you’re after but you want to lose weight, opt for foods that are naturally sweet, like fruit. If you’re looking to add a little sweetness to your morning cup of joe, sprinkle in some Stevia, a natural sweetener with no calories.
5. Eating Wheat and Dairy
Even people who don’t have allergies or food intolerances can experience excess gas and belly bloat from consuming common foods containing flour or milk. As your body ages, its capacity to digest wheat and dairy products can change significantly, so food you have enjoyed in the past may cause you discomfort now. If you find that your belly blows up a bit after consuming either of these foods, try minimizing their role in your diet to see if doing so has a positive impact on your midsection.
Salt is essential to your health, but too much can cause your body to retain water and make your belly look bigger. The salt shaker on your table isn’t the only source of sodium in your diet—processed foods can contribute lots of sodium to your diet as well. When grocery shopping, check product labels to be sure that they are, like the Nutrisystem program, aligned with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) recommendation for the general adult population—2,300 milligrams or less of sodium daily. Get the skinny on the sodium content in Nutrisystem diet foods right here.
Craving more belly-blasting tips? Read this article to find out six foods that will help you battle belly fat, get some belly-friendly recipes here, or try these five yoga moves for a whittled middle. Still not enough? Enter the word “belly” into the search bar in the top right-hand corner of this page, and get a full arsenal of flat belly and weight loss tips!