Feel yourself pouring out of that skin-tight top or unbuttoning your trousers after eating? Feel bloated and look as if you’re 5 months pregnant? Here's how to get a flat tum without resorting to surgery or spending a fortune!
Review your diet
Enlightened food choices and a healthier way of eating help prevent fat storage and bloating.
- Good: animal protein (lean meat, poultry and fish, preferably grilled or steamed, eggs), small quantities of wholegrains, green vegetables, root vegetables (carrots, radishes etc), flowered vegetables such as cabbage, and stemmed vegetables such as leeks, fresh or dried fruit, black chocolate, water, tea and herbal tea.
- Bad: saucy dishes, fried food, dairy products with lactose (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese), white bread, especially fresh, fizzy drinks and juice, floury fruit, dried vegetables, chewing gum, sweets, cakes, pastry, refined pasta, rice and semolina.
- Eatat regular hours sitting down, where it's quiet. Take your time (put your cutlery down from time to time) and chew each mouthful10 to 15 times to make it easier to digest. Go for cooked (with little or no oil) over raw food, use salt moderately, banish takeaways and meal deals eaten on the go (sandwich/dessert/fizzy drink) and snacks (every time you eat, your body has to work to digest it).
Exercise is essential if you want a flat stomach. It burns calories, breaks down fat locally, improves your posture and naturally massages digestive organs, assisting absorption and elimination.
- Endurance sports: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or roller blading are excellent aerobic sports. After around 40 minutes' moderate exercise, the body starts to draw its energy from fat reserves. 2 or 3 hour-long sessions a week are your best weapon against stomach flab.
- Abdominal exercises: a flat stomach means toned and firm abs. To get these, you need to do exercises that engage your abdominal muscles. 10 minutes every morning is all you need to achieve a guaranteed six pack and slimmer figure.
- Work on your posture, either by doing Pilates, yoga, aqua aerobics or dance, or simply by holding yourself straight (if you have bad posture, standing or sitting causes abdominal slackness).
The stomach is the central receptor of our mental state - some call it our second brain. Blocked energy on many different levels caused by malaise, emotional shock, depression and stress can result in pain, bloating and problems with bowel movements. Take care of your insides by:
- Breathing deeply.Standing or lying on your back, practice abdominal breathing. Put one hand flat on your stomach and hold your stomach in. Inhale, first opening your thoracic cage, then your abdomen, hold your breath for a few moments then breathe out in the same order.
- Massaging your tummy. To untie those knots, relieve pain and assist bowel movements, gently massage your stomach in a clockwise direction, paying special attention to sensitive spots.
A number of different supplements with plant extracts, available in various forms, can help get that washboard stomach you dream of. Certain plants and herbs target specific problems and relieve:
- Bloating: white clay, cumin and fennel.
- Digestion trouble: artichokes, black radishes, boldo leaves and fumitory.
- Mild constipation: linseed and wrack algae.
There are many more plant and other herbal complexes out there too that can help you on your way to a flatter stomach.