Nutrition coaching: How to recover a flat stomach?
This is the zone of all conflicts. The belly is, in my patients, the part of the body that arouses the most dissatisfaction, just in front of the thighs. I sometimes ask my patients to compare their belly to a landscape and the images are often telling: dunes, arid hills, big waves, a cold lava flow. Images of roundness, often, but also sometimes of desolation…
However, the belly is life par excellence! But nothing helps, the aesthetics of this belly can weigh down our morale.
Control your diet
“My stomach is too soft, too big, too gelatinous,” said Marion, who came to consult me with this fixed idea in mind: to flatten it.
Good news: Marion loves to cook. She therefore already consumes few industrial products, often rich in unfavorable ingredients: glucose-fructose syrup or transformed starches which are easily stored in fat, additives and sweeteners which disturb our intestinal health… She however regularly treats herself to sweet products, especially at breakfast and afternoon tea and some sweet drinks. However, excess sugars (particularly in liquid form) are transformed into triglycerides, fats that love to lodge on the abdominal belt.
Double punishment: the more our adipose tissue increases, the more it secretes inflammatory molecules which themselves promote weight gain.
How to do ?
Starting the day with a breakfast with little or no sugar, adopting a gourmet snack, but not composed only of sugars and fats (yogurt + fruit, almonds + dark chocolate for example) makes it possible to limit the risks of fat intake in the belly.
I also advise Marion, fan of pasta and rice, to choose them whole or naturally rich in fiber (red rice, wild rice for example) because the latter reduce (a little) the absorption of fats, dampen blood sugar peaks (the blood sugar level) and promote good transit. So many essential elements to relieve our belly.
I invite him to adopt small “magic seeds” such as chia seeds, satiating and stimulating transit, or flax seeds, which promote the production of intestinal bacteria useful for digestion and regulating weight (Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia in particular ). These small seeds are also sources of very specific fats, omega 3, which help reduce abdominal fat and have an anti-inflammatory action. Conversely, it will be preferable not to over-consume animal fats: red meat, butter, cream, cheese.
Marion leaves with my ebook of anti-inflammatory recipes and a bonus tip: take your time and chew! Eating small bites to avoid swallowing too much air, reducing food to a mush with your teeth and surrounding it with saliva (which contains a first digestive enzyme) facilitates digestion and therefore prevents intestinal disorders and bloating that go with it.
Lose weight or deflate?
Fat isn’t always the problem. The belly also swells due to overproduction of gas or water retention. In this case, the fibres, which are so essential to our microbiota, are sometimes to be consumed in moderation. This is what I explain to Marie, who complains of a swollen belly despite a healthy diet. She has also been suffering from transit disturbances for a few weeks and her doctor has mentioned the track of irritable bowel.
In 4 weeks, her stomach became flat again
Certain foods rich in carbohydrates which ferment in the intestine (the famous fodmaps) are then to be avoided for some time, such as cabbage, lentils, garlic, onion, leek, but also wheat, rye or milk. For Marie, the result is spectacular: in 4 weeks, her stomach has become flat again. She hasn’t lost a single pound…
She also, on my advice, monitored her salt intake (she had a passion for soy sauce) to limit the risk of water retention. And avoided carbonated drinks, especially those that contain salt or sugar. Raw vegetables are also sometimes a source of digestive discomfort and bloating. It does not necessarily mean eliminating them, but gradually adapting the quantities upwards, the time that our digestive system acclimatizes to this fiber intake.
Eat well and move
In our life as women, two periods are particularly delicate for our belly: after childbirth and menopause.
In the first case, the skin is stretched and eventually a bonus of fat remains. In the second, our hormones play against us: they promote the loss of muscle mass and the gain of fat mass, especially in the abdominal area. It is the healthy diet and physical activity combo that will be the most effective.
By taking your time, of course, after childbirth: you generally have to wait 6 to 8 weeks to resume sport. At menopause, and better still at pre-menopause, activities such as pilates, sheathing, yoga, will strengthen the abdominal muscles. It will be even more effective if they are associated with a cardio activity such as brisk walking, aquabike, skipping rope, which allow you to burn a little fat. Certain techniques of palpation-rolling or self-massage can also help, particularly in the event of water retention.
Starving yourself is never the solution! This is the best way to promote the slowing down of your metabolism, therefore to further lose your ability to burn. It is preferable to keep a sufficiently pleasant and satiating diet and to compensate by regular physical activity.
It’s also more pleasant. Let’s not forget that our belly is our second brain: our mental well-being and our mood also impact its quality…