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Bloat Be Gone

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Reduce your fluid retention and get bikini ready in no timeSpring has sprung, an indication that swimsuit season is just around the sand dune. Many are wondering how to look great in a bathing suit again—and fast—particularly after a long winter of festivities and overindulging. So, how do you get bikini-ready, quickly but healthfully?

If you are in a panic because you’re headed to the beach by the weekend, you can feel better quickly be reducing fluid retention.

Follow these steps to banish the bloat:

  • Avoid excessive salt. Even if you don’t add salt to dishes, it hides in many of our favorite foods. Steer clear of processed foods, canned goods, marinades, frozen dinners, salty crackers and chips. Keep in mind, your daily sodium intake should be limited to approximately 2,400 milligrams. When in doubt, shop the periphery of the grocery store. Salty foods are mostly found in boxes, jars and cans on the shelving aisles of the supermarket. Stick to the perimeter where you will find fresh produce, lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products.
  • Limit refined, simple carbohydrates (ones that do not contain fiber). Excessive amounts are converted to glycogen stores, which are surrounded by water, contributing to that bloated feeling. Beware of typical “diet” foods such as pretzels and crackers that are high in salt and carbohydrates. Include lean proteins and plenty of vegetables with every meal, which leave you feeling fuller for longer and will prevent overeating.
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of water to rid the body of excessive fluid and toxins. Aim for at least half of your body weight in ounces. For example, a 150-pound person should consume 75 ounces of fluid daily. Increase when exercising.

Keep a food log to encourage mindful eating. This may be done online, which provides immediate feedback. If you are wondering what calorie level is appropriate for you, a very general guideline is to multiply your goal weight by ten. For example, if your goal weight is 120 pounds, you should consume approximately 1,200 calories per day.

Include plenty of fiber-rich foods in your daily diet. They will keep you feeling full and increase digestive motility. Look for traditional fiber sources found in whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Select whole-grain products that contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. The ingredients should contain whole wheat or whole grain; avoid “enriched” flour. Several products are sold as “wheat,” when they contain enriched flour. This is simply white flour with a small amount of wheat added to the flour mixture (no better than white bread).

Exercise is an important part of looking fit as well. To get muscles to plump up for definition, Ben Elder, a triathlon coach at Elmwood Fitness Center, says to incorporate heavier weight lifting. When increasing weight, increase the number of sets; do fewer repetitions; have longer rest periods between sets. All are effective strategies for increased definition. Ben also encourages plenty of cardio to blast fat cells, especially interval training. In addition, he suggests pilates exercises, which teach you how to tone your stomach by properly engaging your core muscles. Elder’s motto is “nutrition will reveal you, weights are going to shape you, cardio shapes up the inside.” Of course, for the best results, he says three months of consistent training is the way to go when you have the time to devote to your health and weight management.