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Is Your Swollen Stomach Belly Fat Or Bloating? 4 Questions To Find The Answer

Is Your Swollen Stomach Belly Fat Or Bloating? 4 Questions To Find The Answer

For those of you who have ever suffered from a swollen stomach, you will be aware that this can be an uncomfortable and emotionally distressing experience. What you may not know is the root cause of this. While many believe that it occurs as the result of excess belly fat, it may actually be the manifestation of bloating.

It is important to distinguish between these two issues, as both have entirely different triggers and are indicative of potentially diverse health problems. A lack of knowledge and understanding may also cause you to use the wrong approach to deal with the problem, which could exacerbate the issue and the symptoms you are forced to manage.

How Can you Tell the Difference Between Belly Fat and Bloating?

When presented with a swollen stomach, the first step is to monitor your symptoms to determine what is the most likely cause. This can enable you to make an informed decision on how you deal with the problem, ensuring that you pursue suitable courses of treatment that deliver the desired result.

With this in mind, here are four important considerations when attempting to distinguish between belly fat and bloating:

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1. Is the Swelling Localized or Widespread?

To begin with, examine your stomach visually. Is the swelling localised, or can you identify bulges in other places on your body? If you answer yes to the former, you are most likely suffering from bloating that has targeted the stomach and the abdominal regions. If you notice additional bulges elsewhere and particularly on the thighs, hips and buttocks, however, you are probably carrying excess fat.

2. Is Your Swollen Stomach Firm or Spongy?

At this point, take the time to press your stomach and focus specifically on the most pronounced areas of swelling. As a general rule, stomach fat will feel spongy and malleable when pressure is applied, whereas bloating usually makes your abdomen appear tight and noticeably firm. As a result of this, anyone who can grasp more than an inch of your stomach, it is probably carrying excess fat.

3. Is the Swelling Constant or Intermittent?

The duration of your swelling is also a key indicator of the root cause, as fat cells build up over time and are likely to remain constantly. In contrast, bloating occurs in intermittent periods, meaning that the shape of your stomach may fluctuate throughout the course of each day.

4. Is the Swelling Painful?

On a final note, it is important to check whether or not the swelling is accompanied by pain. After all, bloating is almost always a painful experience to some degree or another, whereas excess fat is not known to cause any physical discomfort. The presence of excess gas is also a symptom of bloating, particularly if it coincides with the expansion of your stomach.

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How Can you Deal with a Bloated Stomach?

Establishing your precise symptoms should offer a clear indication into the root cause of your swollen stomach, and at this stage, you can begin to plot a clear course of action. This is crucial, as the failure to distinguish between fat and a bloated stomach causes many to categorise swelling as a trivial and unimportant problem that only impacts on their physical appearance.

This is a significant oversight, as a bloated stomach may also be indicative of a serious health concern known as dysbiosis. This refers to an imbalance that exists between good and bad bacteria within your stomach, where unhealthy and unnatural organisms such as yeast and protozoa become prominent in the intestines and alter the bodies fundamental nutrition patterns.

This imbalance, which hinders the growth of the 400 organisms that are naturally found in the stomach, can cause a multitude of health complaints in addition to bloating (including indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea, iron deficiency, stomach infestations, fatigue and even skin conditions).

So if you have determined that your stomach is bloated rather than covered in excess fat, here are some initial steps you can take to manage this problem:

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1. Stay Hydrated At All Times

Let’s start with the basics, as when you are not drinking enough fluids, your body automatically retains water to prevent dehydration. So, by maximising your fluid intake and drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of liquid each day, you can remain hydrated and prevent the retention of water. Just be selective about the drinks that you consume, with the best bet being to focus on water and avoid sugary or artificially flavoured drinks.

2. Consume Largely High-Protein Meals

Similarly, high-protein meals can also reduce water retention and alleviate the symptoms of bloating. This is because such diets promote the elimination of fluids through urine, helping tissues to dry out over time. This is particularly effective for women, who are most likely to suffer from water retention and subsequent bloating.

3. Reduce your Carbohydrate Intake

In case you weren’t aware, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remains the most common digestive disorder in the world, affecting an estimated 14% of the global population (most of whom are undiagnosed). Bloating is a common symptom of this ailment, but even if you are not suffering from IBS, this conditions may offer an insight into the root cause of your problem.

More specifically, indigestible carbohydrates known as FODMAPS are known to drastically increase stomach bloating and exacerbate the symptoms of IBS, so reducing or at least modifying your carb intake can lead to a dramatic improvement in your condition over time.

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What if You are Suffering from Belly Fat?

For those of you who find that they are simply carrying excess belly fat, here are some tips and techniques that can help you to trim this and restore a healthier physical form:

1. Avoid Refined Sugar and Simple Carbs

Interestingly, those carrying excess belly fat should also look to manage their carbohydrate intake carefully. Avoiding ‘simple’ carbs that are loaded with fat is a good starting point, as it eliminating the type of refined sugar found in chocolate, sweets and so-called energy drinks.

2. Create a Protein and Fibre Rich Body

The cultivation of a protein and fibre rich body can also help to reduce stomach fat over time. Protein is known to reduce unhealthy food cravings by 60%, for example, while also boosting metabolism by between 80 and 100 calories. A diet containing soluble and viscous fibres also triggers a slower and more effective digestion process, making you feel fuller for longer and maintaining a reduced, natural appetite.

Just remember that fibres are similar to carbohydrates in terms of their complexity, so you will need to determine which ingredients are the most conducive to fat and weight loss.

3. Combine Diet with Exercise

When looking to trim body fat, exercise is a key consideration. This should be aligned with diet to achieve the optimal results, although it is important to strike the ideal balance between cardiovascular and muscle work-outs. Performing abdominal exercises alone is not enough to reduce belly fat, as you must engage in high-intensity activity to burn the fat and reduce the circumference of your weight.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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