If you're like most people heavily involved in their training, you keep close tabs on exactly how your body is looking. You've become finely attuned to the muscle definition you're usually showing and know exactly where your primary trouble spots are.
Likewise, if you happen to gain a pound or two, you can immediately notice the effects on your body, even while it may fall on blind eyes to others. You know your body inside out and can see minute changes as they take place. Because of this, when bloating hits, it's not something that gets by you.
Unfortunately, you can work extremely hard day after day towards getting a flat and defined stomach, yet that look can be completely erased when a small amount of bloating takes place. Learning what causes you to bloat and then taking steps to control this is one of the best ways to battle bloating and ensure that you reap all the rewards of your hard work.
Here are some of the biggest culprits and cures to know about.
Sudden Influx Of High Fiber Foods
You know that adding fiber rich foods to your diet will not only calm your appetite but also help keep you regular and ward off many different diseases. Problems often occur though when someone decides to take their fiber intake from ground zero to thirty or forty grams per day. This is too much for the body to handle at once as it's used to no fiber whatsoever. Not only do you experience bloating, but you may have other unpleasant side effects as well such as stomach cramps or diarrhea.
To avoid this be sure you increase the fiber content of your diet slowly. Add no more than five grams per day every two to three days until you are at your desired calorie intake.
Ever turn to a diet soda to get you through the afternoon and prevent a vending machine raid halfway through your work day? Diet soda is something that many people watching their weight do allow themselves to indulge in because it's sweet and virtually calorie free.
Unfortunately though, just because it contains no calories does not mean it will have no impact on how your physique looks. The carbonation in diet soda often causes bloating in many people almost immediately upon drinking it. Trying to kick your diet soda habit to the curb is a good idea if you're really looking to get as lean as you possibly can.
If it's not diet soda you're drinking but regular soda, then this is a habit you definitely do want to kick because it's not only making you bloated but also contributing needless sugar calories to your diet as well.
As much as you may love to douse your oatmeal in sweeteners or mix in a few packets of Splenda with your morning cup of coffee, it may be worth your while to try removing these from your diet for a few weeks and see if this makes a difference in how bloated you are.
Remember to consider any products that may have additional added sweeteners as well such as chewing gum, hard candies, flavored water beverages, and any sweet tasting products that are referred to as being 'low carb'. The chances are high that they've had sweeteners added to them. If after a few weeks you notice no change whatsoever then the chances are good that these aren't causing you bloating and you can return back to using them if you wish.
Eat Plenty of Potassium Rich Foods
One of the things that maintains the water balance in the body is your levels of sodium in comparison to the levels of potassium present. When either one of these gets shifted, it's far more likely that you'll experience bloating as a result.
Sodium can creep into your diet extremely easy, so make sure you keep close tabs on this to maintain a slim stomach. Another good way to help manage the sodium-potassium balance is to be sure you're including plenty of potassium rich foods in your diet regularly.
This includes bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, yogurt, beans, and fish. Try and include these regularly in your diet, especially if you know that you already have a higher salt intake.
Reduced Carb Diet
While you don't necessarily have to go on a full-on, very low carbohydrate diet to reduce bloating, it can help to reduce your intake of carbohydrates slightly as these will cause the body to increase the water balance, leading to bloating.
Carb-dense foods such as pasta, bread, and rice tend to be the worst offenders, or those that are laden with salt such as popcorn or crackers, so those are the choices to really be careful of. Try and have your carbohydrate rich foods in the period just before you go to sleep to avoid waking up feeling bloated.
Check Your Calcium Intake
Calcium is another nutrient that can help to ward off bloating, especially in women who are getting close to their periods. An extra little bit of calcium each day before you know you will be battling PMS can go a long way towards reducing your symptoms and allowing you to keep up the pace of your usual life. Aim to take in about 1200 mg per day, which is the equivalent to four glasses of milk.
Add Parsley To Your Meals
Parsley is a natural diuretic that will help you to reduce the amount of bloating you are experiencing, so is a good addition to your meals for both flavor and to help keep your stomach looking leaner. Parsley is actually also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, Folate, and contains a small amount of iron, so it's has many other health benefits that you should be aware of.
Finally, the last way to help beat the bloat is to add more activity to your day. Those who are exercising on a regular basis will help reduce the amount of water retention they experience and salt will be lost through the process of sweating.
Obviously you can go too far with this and if extreme exercise is taking place water and salt must also be replenished or other problems can occur, but for most people participating in an average exercise program, a thirty to sixty minute session of exercise can be a great remedy to help cure bloat.
Bloating can be a very frustrating thing if you are experiencing it and don't know the cause. In a matter of an hour it can seem to undo all the hard work you've put in at the gym and soon your pants aren't even fitting right. Take some time and try to identify what causes issues with your own body. It's the single best step you can take to get over this problem for good.