[By Tricia Chang]

With the passing of Memorial Day and summer fast approaching, are you almost at wits end, racing against time trying to flatten a mid-section that simply won’t go down? I can totally relate to your frustration especially when apart from the mandatory bikini by the beach, there seems to be a conspiracy amongst top designers to refuse to let on the cropped tops trend that has dominated the fashion scene for a REALLY long time. A girl gotta do what a girl gotta do. Instead of getting all flustered or cop out as a social recluse, confront your most feared body issue of a bloated stomach and get to the root of why you’re unable to lose the bulge. Once the mystery is unraveled, adopting the appropriate changes in the nick of time will help turn your flat tummy dream into a reality just in time for your summertime rendezvous.

There’s too much salt in your diet

Even if you follow an exercise regime religiously and watch your calories, too much salt in your diet can make your stomach to appear larger. An excess of sodium causes water retention, leading to bloating especially around your stomach and thighs. Reduce your daily sodium intake to no more than 2,500mg if you want to flaunt a flat midriff. Beat the bloat by increasing your water intake to about 8 glasses a day and clock in a cuppa or two of Twining’s Lemon or Ginger tea. This revitalizing tea is great for the morning because the light amount of caffeine will wake you up without wreaking havoc on your stomach. Additional health benefits of ginger include reducing inflammation and controlling blood sugar, so you can feel good drinking this soothing tea as it detoxifies your system in a guilt-free way to help alleviate bloating and “Victoria’s Secret-fied” your tummy in double quick time!

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You’re over eating dairy

Dairy or milk products are no doubt healthy natural foods providing a good source of protein and calcium. However, unknown to many, one may be suffering from varying degree of lactose intolerance, and consuming too much dairy such as milk, yogurt and cheese can lead to bloating and a drummer tummy.If you’re unable to flatten a stomach bulge despite a healthy diet and regular workouts, try cutting off dairy for a few days to a week and see if it makes a difference!

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You’re not doing enough cardio

If you don’t have time to exercise and unless you’re the lucky few blessed with a naturally high metabolic rate, simply limiting your calorie intake will not make the cut to flatten your pudgy stomach. To put it simply, “Sweat Is Fat Crying” and cardiovascular exercises cannot be omitted from the equation to trim down your mid-section to mimic that on Kendall Jenner and Taylor Swift. Doing 500 sit-ups a day is not going to reward you with a flat tummy either unless you combine that with cardio to burn and strip away the layer of blubber that prevent your abs from showing through. Try to squeeze in a good cardio workout 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes per session. If you’re still unable to see any appreciable result, it is perhaps time and probably wise to step up the intensity and introduce variety to your mundane routine!

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There’s loose skin hanging

Young mothers who remain socially active after their deliveries are often hindered and embarrassed by post-pregnancy loose skin around their abdomens. Despite the best of fat loss measures, the skin on their abdomens may not contract fully no matter how many sit-ups they do. These drapes of overhanging excess skin stand in the way of an attractively taut mid-section, and the severity depends on how damaged the skin is from the stretching that occurred, how much weight was gained and how your genetics work.

“Surgical Abdominoplasty otherwise commonly known as a tummy tuck remains the treatment of choice for moderate to severely affected tummies.” Says Dr. Tan Ying Chien, consultant plastic surgeon from the SW1 Clinic (formerly from The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre @ Novena). “However, non-surgical options such as the FDA approved skin-tightening Thermage Abdomen has been gaining momentum as a safe and effective procedure engaged to tackle milder cases or for those not keen or unsuitable for surgical intervention.”

Thermage utilizes energy harvested from patented mono-polar radio frequency waves for deep volumetric heating of the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, while simultaneously cooling the skin surface for protection and comfort. Deep tissue heating leads to the tightening of existing collagen as well as neo-collagenesis, with natural renewal of new collagen stores. Besides the rejuvenation of over-stretched skin, improvement to the appearance of any accompanying cellulite is often a bonus benefit seen!

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Stress is getting to you

Most people tend to associate stress with poor appetite and weight loss, so it might come as a surprise that it too can contribute to extra weight around your waistline. Stress induces the release of cortisol and this hormone changes the way fat is being distributed in our body, with the unfavorable consequence of abdominal fat storage. Binge eating of junk food is another stress-related action that pulls one further away from the ideal body shape. Don’t let the stress of daily living get to you and adopt useful stress relieving habits such as adequate sleep, deep breathing exercises or simply cutting back on your commitments by prioritizing them.

It is definitely not an easy task but if you are ready to defy, between a combination of an improved diet, exercise perseverance and the aid of medical technology, you can certainly take on the stomach bulge with gusto and work towards a firm, toned physique that’s going to look fab even when dressed in rags.

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