By Nicolette M. Pace MS, RD, CDE,CDN, CFCS
Want to look extra-fabulous for that special occasion and feel great?
Slimming down in a hurry can be a simple matter of just watching what you eat for a few days.
When you follow these quick slim down tips you will see that these techniques not only lead to a svelte midsection but that they help to retone the body and mind, increase energy and focus and help to correct habits that lead to weight gain.
For example, if you have indulged too much over a period of time, it’s a good idea to short-circuit those behaviors with a cooling off period. In other words, a diet clean-up phase can help you to counteract the overeating.
The sooner you treat diet lapses and relapses, the more likely they don’t escalate into collapses with weight gain and ill health.
There are a few premises for you to consider to slim down in a hurry which can lead to good habits and food choices.
One of these relates to stomach bloating. It not only makes you uncomfortable but makes it hard to fit into that special outfit. This is certainly true for celebrities who are fine-tuning their look for the Oscars or for others who are prepping for that special occasion to look and feel great.
You can have mid-section bloating due to digestive sluggishness, large meals or water weight. You can feel rotten.
This can happen from eating too much of certain foods and not enough of others, stretching the stomach with too much food or having poor fluid or electrolyte balance.
Tips to slim down involve including as well as avoiding certain foods so you can keep that mid section top notch.
A practical word of advice, real toning, conditioning and body shape comes from a long term health eating and lifestyle plan. These interventions can be the icing on the cake for some and for others the beginning phase to looking great.
Look to Fiber for Digestive Fitness:
Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet is the key to staying regular. There are basically two types. One will stimulate your digestive system to move and the other is gel-like and attracts water to it. Both are great and provide your body with natural, healthy cleansing. You will find that most foods are a combination of fibers. Adding a cereal to your daily menu that has at least 5 g of fiber in it is a great way to get started. Don’t overdo fiber especially if your system is not used to it. In excess, (60g or so daily) fiber has been shown to block some nutrient absorption.
Introduce Probiotics: Feed them with Prebiotics
Yogurt and other fermented dairy products contain friendly bacteria (probiotics) to help with our system equilibrium. They also help improve nutrient absorption and boost the immune system. Prebiotics are the foods the bacteria thrive on. Fruits are generally their favorite meal and help to support a healthy colony. Strawberries and creamy yogurt anyone?
What About Fat? What About Sugar?
Both can contribute to mid-section bulging. Outside of the usual churning and mixing that occurs in the stomach, fats are not really digested there so they contribute to bloated feelings and distend the stomach. A high fat meal will lead to stomach swelling and reflux which increases discomfort, bloating, burping and is dangerous to your health if stomach contents leak into your throat. High sugar diets have been also shown in research to lead to greater mid-section fat than calories from other foods.
I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!
Common sense will tell us that if you don’t want to feel bloated keep portion size reasonable. But what is reasonable, given your hunger, appetite and desire? A human stomach is a muscle and it is approximately four cups in size. The stomach contains receptors which upon realizing the presence of food will release these sensations to our brain to help recognize fullness and stop eating. We can continually stretch our stomachs with large meals in doing so contribute to signal silence. It is a bad loop to be in and it should be reversed. Use lower calorie high volume foods like fruits and vegetables as a way to gradually bring down calories while keeping portion size appropriate. Don’t overfill the stomach no matter what you eat.
A Ship at Sea: Don’t Rock the Boat
Fluid balance in our bodies is regulated very carefully and relates to not only water but the minerals associated with it. As far as diet goes, sodium and potassium are two minerals that complement our fluid balance. When we eat a high salt diet, it attracts water and will lead to puffiness and bloating. A large amount of people are especially sensitive to sodium and retain it for longer in their system which will lead to or contribute to very serious health complications. Potassium in our diet is generally very low due to low fruit and vegetable intake. Potassium will help to balance out the sodium load. As you try to reduce salty prepared foods, add servings of fruits and vegetables for your body to right itself.
Go for the Royal Flush:
Don’t just look to any fluid but carefully select water-based naturally flavored liquids without sugar or sweetneners. These are absolutely the best for hydration, contain no calories, are needed for digestion and absorption of foods and help us to metabolize fat. Flavor water with citrus. A plant chemical in the skin can stimulate the digestive system. Brewed teas also release plant chemicals for health benefits. Ginger, mint, and chamomille are herbs that help with indigestion, gas, a sluggish bowel and help to calm the stomach.
Better yet, tie all of the above together and eat vegetable soup and low fat yogurt and protein-fruit smoothies. They can help fill you up without bloating, help you to tone up quickly and give you great nutrition!