Being overweight not only takes its toll on self-esteem, it also impacts your well-being. If you have too much fat -- especially around your waist -- you're at higher risk for health problems, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Find out if losing weight can help shrink the organ known as the stomach.
Infomercials promote tools, machines and gadgets that can help reduce the fat in your abdominal area. If they were in fact able to do this, it would be called spot reduction. Unfortunately, this is a myth. When you want to lose weight in one area, you need to lose it throughout your whole body. That being said, general weight loss causes stomach fat to disappear, but it does not have any effect on the actual size of the stomach.
The human stomach is about the size of a fist when it is in a regular state. This all changes once you eat a meal. Being that the stomach is actually a muscle, it has the ability to expand and contract when food is consumed. When you eat a big meal, for example, you will often notice your pants will fit tighter. After the digestive process takes place, your stomach goes back down to its normal size, but this has nothing to do with weight loss.
Grazing is an eating strategy that can in fact help shrink the stomach while you lose weight. The key is eating regularly timed, moderate-size meals, according to Good Housekeeping magazine. This in turn causes you to feel satisfied and you are less likely to overeat. Space your meals two to three hours apart and make sure to start eating as soon as you get up.
When you prepare your meals, include dietary fiber. This substance not only helps fill you up on less food, but it also helps keep you feeling full for hours after you are done eating. Dietary fiber may also help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Include foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans in your meals. Drink water with your meals to further help fill yourself up.
Gastric bypass is a surgery specifically designed for shrinking the stomach. The stomach is actually divided into two sections by a surgeon. The top section, which is called a pouch, can hold very little food. A bypass is created from a small hole in the pouch to the jejunum, which is a lower part of the small intestine. When food then travels through here, it bypasses the lower part of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine, causing you to absorb fewer calories, according to MedlinePlus. In this case, a shrunken stomach actually causes you to lose weight.
- American Heart Association: Obesity Information
- American Council on Exercise: Why Is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Anne Collins: Can I Reduce My Stomach Size?
- "Good Housekeeping": Shrink Your Stomach!
- FamilyDoctor.org: How to Increase the Amount in Your Diet
- MedlinePlus: Gastric Bypass Surgery