It’s difficult to spot your six pack when there’s an unsightly belly jiggling over the edge of your Levis. Whether you have sculpted abs or not beneath, who’s going to want to push their hand through the flubber to find out?
Unlike some resistance training disciplines where excess weight can be an advantage, those people looking to develop washboard abs simply cannot afford the luxury of double-digit body fat.
With that being said, even if you have followed every aspect of an abs workout program to the letter, sometimes that spare tyre just won’t shift. And on occasions, it even seems to have even expanded.
Diet and exercise addresses non-medical water retention directly
What’s important to note here is that not everything laying between your navel and your abdominal wall is necessarily fat.
Water retention, especially for but certainly not exclusively to women, is a common issue that can become uglier to look at than fat on some people.
Belly fat, in particular, with it’s jelly-like consistency coupled with stretch marks flopping over skin-tight jeans is not the most trending look on the catwalk. Nevertheless, we see this flabby phenomenon every day on the High Street.
Its rise to prominence is unprecedented, especially during the summer months. And what is frustrating is that it really needn’t be that way, especially if you begin to eat (and drink) in a manner that helps shift excess fluid from between walls of tissue rather than encourage water retention.
Whilst there are certain medical conditions that can cause the onset of excess fluids in the body, and even some medications cite excess water as a direct side effect, much of this unsightly flab can be resolved by an appropriate diet.
What is water retention?
Without getting too technical about it, capillaries carry nutrient- and vitamin-rich fluid around our blood stream. This wholesomeness is released into the tissues where it’s needed and then the capillaries recollect any excess.
The problem is two-fold: capillaries react to pressure and their walls can become more permeable. If there’s excess pressure applied in the blood stream or to the capillary itself, its walls become ‘leaky’ and too much fluid can be released into the tissue.
Our lymphatic system can pick up some of this excess and drain it back into the blood stream, but it has limits. It’s when this imbalance occurs and our tissues become literally saturated with excess fluid, water retention kicks in.
Exercise is the absolute best way to strengthening your resolve so that when your body is put under extreme duress, your heart can cope and doesn’t suddenly send the pressure needle off the dial.
Combine regular exercise with a diet that can boost your body’s ability to drain water from where it’s not needed by caring for the critical organs and you’re well on your way to literally plumbing in a tap to shift the unsightly bulges water retention can cause.
What can we do to shift excess fluid from our belly?
Strange as it sounds, drinking water to the extent outlined in my program is one of the best things you can do to shift the excess. Hydration helps our kidneys to perform at their optimum, thus we filter back what our body can use and get rid of what it can’t.
Other practises adopted by The Definition Method also help stimulate parts of the body essential for keeping any imbalances at a bare minimum, teaching our system how to reduce the effects of water retention.
It is worth qualifying the difference between medical and non-medical water retention, here. If your body is suffering inflammation from insect bites, anti-histamines prescribed by a doctor may be the answer.
Also, diuretics may be another short-term resolution, circumstances dependent. However, diuretics – natural or synthetic – can actually aggravate the condition and are only usually prescribed if there is an underlying medical condition elsewhere.
I just want to make it clear that The Definition Method is not a miracle cure for all types of water retention. Where a lack of physical inactivity or poor diet exaggerates the condition, my program will directly address the non-medical treatments for water retention. Okay? Cool.
So, how does physical activity help with water retention?
Not all of the pressure on capillaries, causing them to have leaky walls, is applied by how fast your heart beats. If you think about it, half of your blood’s circulation is against gravity.
In your legs, it’s a long journey against gravity on the way back up. A lack of leg movement can cause congestion of your capillaries due to blood simply travelling too slowly back to your heart.
This puts extra pressure on the capillaries, causing them to develop permeable walls, thus ooze way more fluid into your tissue than your body can drain back into the blood stream. In addition, the lymphatic system is also dependent upon movement to stimulate its performance, which compounds the effect of inactivity.
You can now begin to see why no exercise is not only bad for weight loss goals, but also a massive factor in water retention.
The exercise regime in The Definition Method will nip both problems in the bud if it’s followed religiously.
Key dietary factors to help resolve water retention issues
Another key factor in keeping the balance of your internal water table just so is how much protein you eat. If there’s not enough protein in your diet, you’re putting yourself in the high-risk category.
There’s no better example of this than media clips we see of children in countries blighted by famine. Their diets leave them so undernourished that they develop ‘pot-bellies’.
These bulging abdomens are little to with being full. Rather, massive protein deficiency severely affects the capillaries’ ability to retract water from the spaces it has deposited fluid between the tissues, causing this unnatural bloating.
Another popular misconception is that salt will help ‘dry up’ the excess fluid retained during water retention. In fact, the opposite is true.
Too much salt in one’s diet can hamper the effectiveness of certain organs; critically for water retention, we’re talking about the kidneys that filter the good and bad from our blood stream.
The diet accompanying to The Definition Method’s exercise regime addresses both excess salt and protein consumption directly.
As my program aims to deliver enough protein to help scorch excess fat as well as provide a solid base for muscle, there’s no danger whatsoever of undernourishment through lack of protein.
Likewise, the abolition of all processed meals in the diet, which are usually loaded with sodium to make up for the lack of good fat and nutritious content, will ensure that you’re in no danger of dehydrating your kidneys any time soon.
The advised amounts of water in the diet also directly contribute to a perfect internal water balance to help fight water retention. Addressing these non-medical factors will have your system flushed clean in no time.
These are by no means the only factors that can help drain excess fluid. Certainly, eating fruits high in potassium helps balance sodium levels, which keeps your kidneys ticking over nicely.
So, over to you: if you’ve suffered with water retention, what effective non-prescribed remedies or dietary inclusions/exclusions have you found help to drain excess fluid?
If there’s anything else that our readers could benefit from or I could perhaps even look at including in the diet, please share your knowledge in the space for comments directly below this article.
Thanks again, until our next foray into functional food…