|By Dr. Joey Shulman D.C., RNCP|
A flatter tummy. A six pack. Abs
of steel. Do you think these phrases only apply to the perfect looking
model you just saw on the latest infomercial? If so, you will be happy
to find out that with proper dietary steps and exercise, a flatter and
leaner tummy can be yours in no time.
Step 1: Skip the white!
Although many weight loss seekers shed a
considerable amount of weight, they are often dismayed by the lower
belly bulge that never seems to go away. There are several causes for
this bulge, such as food sensitivities, water retention and lack of
stomach musculature. However, one of the most common reasons for the
bulge is what I refer to as “carbohydrate belly”. In today’s processed
world, filled with refined grains in the form of cookies, cakes,
muffins, cereals, bread and pasta, it is easy to consume too many
unhealthy high glycemic index carbohydrates. Higher glycemic index food
items, such as white flours, will eventually over stimulate the body’s
insulin response, resulting in storage of fat and weight gain.
Although certain outdated health pyramids recommend 6 to 11 servings
of grain products, these recommendations are far too high and do not
differentiate between good and bad carbohydrates. To avoid excess weight
gain most of your carbohydrates should be derived from low glycemic
index carbohydrates such as vegetables, beans, most fruits and whole
grains. Try stocking your cupboards with healthier, high fiber and
higher protein breads and pastas such as kamut, spelt, multigrain and
It is important to remember that carbohydrates are not the enemy. The
enemy is refined carbohydrates such as white floury product. In fact,
carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient that provides the brain,
muscles and liver with energy called glucose, which is needed for all
systems in the body to run smoothly. To learn more about eating in a
proper ratio, visit the 40:30:30 Method of Eating.
Step 2: Know your biochemistry
Everyone’s biochemistry differs slightly in terms of digestion,
absorption and excretion. For example, person A may be able to eat wheat
over and over again with no symptoms, while person B may experience
bloating, fatigue or constipation. Although symptoms may be quite subtle
at first, it is important to pay attention to them, as they are the
body’s way of communicating potential problems.
While there is no question that food plays a major role in many
cultures, festivities and celebrations, its fundamental purpose is to
provide the body with adequate nourishment and energy. Symptoms
associated with eating are not normal and should be investigated.
As a rule of thumb, if you have eaten a food and it creates a
bloating feeling in your lower belly you have either:
- Eaten the wrong food for your body, or
- Eaten too much food.
Bloating is commonly experienced after a meal of too many refined
wheat products; eating high fiber foods that are lower on the glycemic
index can help. Drinking room temperature water with fresh squeezed
lemon two or three times per day can also help lessen feelings of
fullness and bloating.
Step 3: Follow an ab-blaster workout!
Often, people who have lost weight or are in the process of losing
weight have excess skin folds in the abdominal region. It is critical to
include a hearty abdominal workout as part of your regular exercise
Step 4 : Avoid gas-producing foods
Certain foods produce more gas than others and can create a bloated,
swollen feeling in your belly. If, after following the three steps
above, you still feel bloated and have a difficult time achieving a
flatter tummy, eliminate the following gas-forming foods from your diet
one at a time to determine the culprits:
- Spicy foods
- Alcoholic beverages
- Carbonated beverages