Grab Your Stomach....
Do you have a handful of skin? That's subcutaneous fat. But, if you lift the skin off the stomach, is your belly tight and bloated? If yes, it's probably accompanied by the occasional, burps, farts, gurgles and distension? That, my friends, is your body's inability to digest whatever you are putting in there.
Maybe you eat too much? Maybe you eat too often? Maybe you eat foods that are hard to digest? Maybe you dink too much alcohol? Or, maybe it's all of these?!
If it's the first - "I fill my plate in abundance, then go back for more." This is an easy one to work on -
- When your serve yourself, make sure you can still see the actual plate.
- Use the palm of your hand to help determine the serving size of each Macro (protein, carbs, fat).
- Eat slowly, chew fully (I count to 30), giving your digestion an opportunity to kick in. Digestion starts in the mouth. If you eat too fast, talk while eating, and try to breath and swallow too quickly, you are knocking out the first stage of digestion.
- Be mindful while you eat, chew and swallow.
- As soon as you are done, sit there for a moment and observe how you are feeling.
- Then, get up, wash your plate and head out for a walk
The second - "Do you eat too often?" Most people do. A common excuse - "Well, I am eating healthy food," "it can't hurt." News flash: it does!!
Unless you have a medical issue, you do not need to eat more than 3 times per day. When you eat in between meals, out of habit and emotional necessity, you are disrupting the digestive process. You are creating a burden on your digestion by adding more work, when it's not finished with the previous meal. Consequently, digestion slows down, and, in some cases, it stops. This leaves undigested food in your system for hours, days, weeks - no joke. Over time, gas, bloating and a bulging belly occurs.
Thirdly, "Are you eating foods that are hard to digest in large quantities and too often?" These foods include dairy products, proteins (such as red meat and chicken, nuts, nut butters and seeds), and - brace yourself - raw veggies.
What??? (I can hear you screaming), I love big salads, they're so healthy!!! They are - That's why I was perplexed at how bloated I had felt for so long. Some people, granted not many, can digest raw veggies with ease. Most of us, cannot. It's better to lightly steam or saute your veggies for better digestion or cut down your serving size substantially. Most importantly, with each food, be sure to chew well.
The fourth reason you may be bloated is from drinking alcohol. Gone are the days when we watched our parents come home to a drink to "relax." We know too much about the long term negative effects of this behavior. Breast cancer for women, due to excess drinking (no more than 7 per week), is on the rise. Liver and kidney function diminishes over time putting a strain on the entire body and reducing the strength of our immune system. Finally, (the reason you are reading this) it puts a nice "tire" around the waist that becomes more and more difficult to get rid of as we age. This topic is so plentiful, I will address it soon in another blog.
What, how and when you put food in your mouth directly effects your health. If you have any of the symptoms I described above, stop blaming it on genetics. You have the freedom to make changes.
How to start? Take one idea from the above list and begin working on it for 7 - 21 days. As soon as it fits comfortably into your eating style, take on another. NEVER focus on what to stop doing, focus on what to start - the old habits will slowly fall away as you make room for the new ones!
If you want to learn more, spend a week with me in Nicaragua on my "Adventure Retreat" next February. The healthy lifestyle schedule we will follow includes amazing, healthy food, meditation, beach/run walks, strength training by the pool, yoga at the beach and a new adventure each day! Sign up now to reserve your room! Space is limited!