Summer is fast approaching, and if you’re feeling a little residual belly bloat from your winter hibernation, you’re not alone. Beach season can certainly creep up on us and leave us feeling like we could have worked just a little harder to feel confident in our skin. Believe me, it happens to the best of us.
Here are a few simple slim-down hacks to combat the dreaded belly bloat and maintain a flat tummy all summer (and year) long.
1. Get twisty
Yoga twists and bends can assist in the digestion process. Bending and twisting your body into different positions can help to stimulate your circulatory and digestive systems and will wake up your body to help you feel refreshed and alert. Simple poses such as downward dog, cobra and warrior are extremely effective in assisting the flow of excess air in your body so you can ultimately eliminate it.
2. Cardio is king
Go for a run outdoors or on a treadmill, engage in an elliptical or stair workout at the gym, or just do some jumping jacks in place to increase the circulation of oxygen in your body, which gets everything moving!
3. “HIIT” bloating where it hurts
Along with the circulatory benefits of cardiovascular work, getting your sweat on is a great way to shed that feeling of “heaviness” you experience when you’re a little bloated. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, workouts get your blood pumping, reduce body fat and encourage sweat, which will rid your body of toxins.
4. Stroll to de-bloat
If you’re really feeling gross and the thought of a run or a high-intensity workout is just not in the cards for you, simply go for a brisk walk. The act of walking swiftly and pumping your arms will increase oxygen and blood flow throughout the body, which can reduce bloat. Or, hold a “walking meeting” with your colleagues if you can swing it. You will find that the simple act of peeling yourself away from your desk will make you feel better overall, giving you a natural energy boost.
Getting the proper six to eight hours of sleep is absolutely essential for good health, body repair and proper toxin elimination. Do not deprive yourself of the sleep you need. If a workout or other commitment have to take a backseat to your sleep, that’s okay. Rest is the most important factor to your slim-down success, as lack of sleep can lead to poor health decisions throughout the day and will slow down the function of your metabolism.
6. Drink more water
This is the simplest way to achieve a healthier you, all around. If you’re bouncing around from meetings to workouts to commitments with friends, you’re not going to want to stop to find a restroom every 20 minutes. Instead, up your water consumption by increasing your daily intake of natural diuretics. Foods such as cucumbers, asparagus, lemon and green tea can increase the speed at which fluids pass through your body to help you de-bloat.
7. Let go of food and weight obsession
Harboring negative thoughts by obsessing over what you ate that day or the fact that you couldn’t make it to your workout can seriously affect your overall attitude. Let go of these thoughts — don't allow yourself to obsess about food, your weight, what you are “missing” or how you will “indulge” later. Stay in the present moment; it’s the only one you have.
Physical activity is the glue that holds all of the typical “de-bloating” tricks together, but it also goes along with loving yourself. When you feel confident in your body, you’ll look it as well. We all have the right to look and feel our best, no matter our size. So, I encourage all of you to drink your water, eat your fiber-rich foods (but don’t over do it) and get moving!
Nikki Warren, is the co-founder of Kaia FIT, a holistic fitness and nutrition program designed for women, by women.