Have you ever noticed your stomach sticking out a little (or a lot) more at the end of the day than it was when you got dressed?
Maybe you wake up each morning and your stomach is pretty flat, or at least flatter. Then you're getting ready for bed, you catch a glimpse and you're like, "If I didn't know any better I'd say there's a baby in there!"
It's a totally common thing.
That doesn't make it normal though.
It's one thing to have a little bloat in sweater weather. It's another entirely when expected to wear a swimsuit....
Pool season is here, my friend. It's crunch time.
And I don't mean ab crunch time. This isn't 1998.
I'm talking time to de-bloat before the real pool floats come out.
That's why I wanted to give you these 10 quick fixes and flat stomach foods so you can start working them into your routine now, with plenty of time before it's swimsuit not optional.
Then, if you're up for something with a little more staying power, my [RE]NEW program starts May 7. Get all the details here.
[RE]NEW is my no diets. no restrictions. learn to love the foods that love you back program.
The group that just didi it had such amazing results...
- lost weight
- flatter stomach
- less bloated and puffy
- improved digestion
- increased energy
- better skin/hair/nails
- fewer cravings
- confidence in the kitchen
- overall just feeling and looking darn good
Seeing all of this happen in a span of 1-4 weeks got me so excited, I decided to offer the program one more time this Spring.... just in time for swimsuit season.
OK, now let's dive right in and de-bloat...
Here are my quick flat stomach foods and fixes....
Drink lemon water.
There's nothing like starting your day off with a warm mug of lemon water. Water on it's own first thing in the morning rehydrates your body after a long dry stretch while you slept.
Overnight your body goes into cleaning and repair mode and a lot of toxins get stirred up (think of it like dust). Drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning helps to wash it all away and get things moving (if you know what I mean....).
A warm drink first thing in the morning is soothing and gentle on your system. And the lemon with it's natural enzymes and vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, brings it's own punch to help your system out even more. Keep adding lemon to your glass of water throughout the day for some flavor and see if you end up drinking more. More water = less bloat.
Adding hot lemon water to your morning routine can also help you cut down on the coffee. You may find you don't even need it, or if you do, you'll likely drink a little less. Coffee can deplete stomach acid which can in turn weaken digestion (read: food baby).
Eat the fruit.
Speaking of getting more water, you can eat your water too. Fruit's high water content, plus fiber makes it super cleansing to your system and great for getting rid of a bloated belly.
The one exception to this is eating fruit after a big meal or late at night. Fruit moves through the digestive system fast and breaks down quickly so if a long line has already formed (ie. big burger lunch) fruit can sorta get stuck and stalled and then breaks down in the wrong place causing, you guessed it, gas and bloating.
For this reason, it's best to enjoy your fruit first thing in the morning or on an empty stomach, between meals or right at the beginning of a meal.
This little detail feels a bit like splitting hairs though. I'm a big believer that we should all be eating more fruit in general. This whole low/no carb trend has us seriously confused about fruit and it's done us a major disservice. Find out why I say "just eat the darn fruit" here.
One more thing I'll add is fruit can dramatically reduce your reliance on sugary snacks. Add in more fruit in place of sweetened and sugar-free (sugar alcohols cause major bloating and gas on their own!) treats and see if it helps tame your sweet tooth.
Fast 12 hours daily.
Maybe you've heard of intermittent fasting. It's the idea of giving your digestive system some much needed time off to catch up and rest, while allowing your body to devote that energy to other things (ie. cell repair, healing, etc.).
There are all sorts of levels and ways to do it, but the easiest way and what I think most all of us can benefit from is a simple 12 hour fast between dinner and breakfast. So if you're done eating dinner by 8 p.m. you'd have breakfast the next morning around 8 a.m. or later the next day.
Gas and that bloated "food baby" feeling is really a build of air in your intestines. This can happen if you eat your food too fast. You get going and before you know it, you're swallowing as much air as you are food. Then that air needs out...
It almost sounds too simple to make much of a difference. I've found though most of the time it's the simple things that make the biggest difference when it comes to your health.
Slow way down at meal and snack times to keep from swallowing air. Take a few deep breathes before you eat to help you relax, sit down, pay attention to your food, really taste it, and.... this brings us to the next on the list....
Have you ever heard the saying "your stomach doesn't have teeth." Pay attention at your next meal and see how many times you naturally chew a bite of food. I'm willing to bet you'll be surprised how small the number of chews is. And I bet even more how surprised you'll be to hear how many times we all should be chewing our food. It's more like 30! Your food should pretty much be liquid before it leaves your mouth.
Think about it. Digestion technically starts in the mouth. We chew and our salivary glands release enzymes that help break down the food to make it easier to digest. The more we chew and get that break down step done before the food reaches our stomach, the less work our stomach has to do to prepare for digestion.
Every step requires energy. So the more energy your stomach needs to break down food and digest it, less energy will be left for you (hello, post lunch "I need a nap.").
Try paying close attention to each bite and really chewing your food and see if it makes a difference in your silhouette and post-lunch energy level.
Cook your food.
Sometimes raw foods can be harder to digest, especially cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Cooking breaks down certain protein and fibers making them easier on your tum. Try adding in more cooked vegetables over raw. If you enjoy salads, toss it in a skillet and heat it even if only a couple minutes. Just a little heat can do the trick.
Add some ginger.
Ginger is a natural digestive aid. It stimulates digestive enzymes and can help relieve gas and bloating. Try sipping on some hot ginger tea if you have an upset stomach and see if that helps. Ginger is one of the spices I use in my chili recipe for this reason too.
Nosh on fermented foods.
These natural probiotic foods feed and support the good bacteria in our guts (ie. small intestine) that help us digest our food. We have 10x as many microorganisms (ie. healthy bacteria) as we do cells in our bodies and their health determines our health. When the good guys are thriving digestion works better, it's easier to maintain a healthy weight, we even get sick less often, and we're happier too (95% of serotonin is made in the gut!).
Trouble starts when bad bacteria get a leg up on the good guys which can happen when they're overfed with their favorite food: sugar. Eventually they can take over and cause problems with digestion, your immune system, mood, brain, even your skin.
Key is giving the good bacteria plenty of food and fortification with prebiotics (food for probiotics) and probiotics so they can maintain their strong foot hold in the gut and keep those bad guys in their place.
The best sources are real raw sauerkraut (the kind made with only veggies like cabbage, water and salt) and other fermented vegetables (also made with only veggies, water and salt).
Opt for the whole grain.
Mostly what I I mean here is not processed grains. Refined grain food products like white sugar, white flour, breads, cakes, pastries, pastas.... all that deliciously addictive bread-y, sweet stuff is not good for your gut health and in turn is not good for your digestion (read: belly bloat).
What to eat instead? The whole stuff. The brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, etc. Even pastas made with these whole food ingredients are better for you. Heck, there's even pastas now that are made out of chickpeas and lentils. It's a great time to be alive, isn't it?
Bread is tough, I'll admit. Better ones are out there though. Here's exactly what to look for.
It all comes down to fiber. When grains are processed, the fiber (and usually most of the nutrition) gets stripped away. That's what gives it that soft, fluffy, mostly like air (and yes, I'll admit delicious) consistency.
Whole grains can be delicious though too. And with the fiber in tact you're not getting a shot of sugar to the blood stream. The fiber works sorta like the breaks in a car. It slows down the absorption so it have less of an effect on blood sugar.
And fiber helps keep things moving right along in the digestive tract ultimately helping to keep your belly from bulging.
Flatten Further with [RE]NEW
These are the quick fixes that will have your tummy looking flatter fast. To help you keep it that way and make this something that sticks, check out [RE]NEW - my Spring group program starting May 7
[RE]NEW is my no diets. no restrictions. Learn to love the foods that love you back program.
When you sign up you'll get an email TODAY with everything to get you started right away, including your [RE]NEW recipe book with my fav flat stomach recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You'll also join our [RE]NEW Facebook group for some serious social inspiration and accountability. There's nothing like a little peer pressure to get you going. 😉
Peer pressure a friend to join and you'll both get $50 off. Learn more and join with a friend here.
Have a question? I'd love to hear from you. Shoot me an email and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.