If you're having one of those days when it just feels like your pants won't button, but you usually eat right and exercise, it could be due to bloating. What you eat, your emotional state, hormones and, in some cases, medical conditions could be behind your swollen tum. By eating strategically and adopting some body care strategies, you may be able to reduce bloat and flatten your stomach in just a couple of days. When you know that your expanded belly is a result of years of poor dieting and sedentary behavior, it'll take much longer than two days to slim down.
The Causes of Bloating
A bloated stomach may result from consuming food or beverages too quickly, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, drinking carbonated drinks or choosing foods such as beans, cruciferous vegetables and some fruits and whole grains. If you've recently upped your fiber intake significantly, you may experience temporary bloating as you body adjusts. A meal high in sodium can cause bloating -- as can excess lactose from dairy or gluten from wheat, if you have a sensitivity to either.
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Bloating is also most prominent at certain times of a women's menstrual cycle. In rare cases, bloating indicates a medical condition -- such as rapid gastric emptying -- that should be addressed by a doctor. Eating too quickly, being stressed and smoking also cause the digestive distresses of gas and bloating.
Flattening a Bloated Belly Quickly
Minimize the behaviors that contribute to bloating. Stop chewing gum and sucking on hard candy, especially those with sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol -- all are known gas-inducers. Skip diet soda or sparkling water and slow down when you do eat. Fructose, a sugar found in fruit, can also cause bloating. While fruit is inherently healthy, if you want as flat a belly as possible in two days, steer clear of pears, apples and peaches, in particular, for the short term. Also avoid the sweetener high-fructose corn syrup.
Not all people have a sensitivity to dairy or certain vegetables, but skipping milk, broccoli, onions, bran, prunes and beans, such as lentils or black beans, can help reduce bloating in two days. After you've met your goal, slowly introduce the foods back in to test how they affect your system. Many of them may be tolerated well by you, and it's only one or two certain foods that promote gas production. You may also find that the more you eat of these bloat-causing foods, the more efficient your body becomes at digesting them over time. You shouldn't ban them permanently as they provide essential nutrients.
Additional Strategies Flatten Your Stomach
Although you can't crunch away your tummy in two days -- or even two years -- gentle movement can help reduce bloating caused by hormones or a big meal. Try a 30-minute bike ride, brisk walk or session on an elliptical trainer. If your swollen belly is due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, exercise is likely to help it flatten. A review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2014 noted that physical activity reduces IBS symptoms, including bloating and gas.
Some over-the-counter medications, such as simethicone, or digestive enzymes can help flatten a belly bloated with gas, too. Discuss the best options for you with your healthcare provider. Extreme stress can also cause digestive distress, such as gas and bloating. Daily deep-breathing or meditation helps calm you down; you might need longer than two days for these methods to have significant effects, however.
Belly Fat Loss
Flattening your stomach by reducing notable amounts of belly fat in two days isn't possible. A safe rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week -- not dozens of pounds in two days. Use two days to jump start a healthy belly-fat loss program that involves reducing portion sizes, avoiding sugar and refined grains and exercising more. Eat more unsaturated fats in lieu of saturated fats, too.
Rush University Medical Center notes that some of the first fat you lose when you exercise is belly fat. Aim for the minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardio activity as well as two total-body strength-training regimens per week. Increase cardio exercise to as much as 60 minutes on most days to lose greater amounts of weight as you progress.
If all of this seems like too much work to rid yourself of belly fat, consider the implications of doing nothing. Belly fat, also called visceral fat, is some of the most dangerous fat you can harbor on your body. It increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Belly fat cells secrete hormones and other substances that have negative effects on your overall well-being.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- Fitness: How to Banish Belly Bloat
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- World Journal of Gastroenterology: Complementary and Alternative Medicines in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: An Integrative View
- Rush University Medical Center: Is There 'One Trick' to Losing Belly Fat?