4 Surprising Ways to Ditch Belly Bulge

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Are you wondering how to get a flat stomach, but you’re sick of doing crunches? Here are 4 Surprising Things that Cause Belly Bulge–and how to ditch it for good!

woman holding her belly bulge that is hanging over gray sweatpants for how to ditch belly bulge

Today we’re talking about how to get a flat stomach and four really unusual ways to do it.  I’ve had some other unusual posts along these lines before here, in Lose Your Mummy Tummy and Why Crunches Are Bad for You and this post on Diastasis Recti and Back Pain.

This time, you’re going to get even more atypical advice about 4 Things that Cause Belly Bulge–aka how to get a flat stomach. Read on–I guarantee this information is life-changing!}

Belly Bulge. Not a fun thing.

If you’re like me, and like most women, you’ve spent a decent amount of your life wondering how to get a flat stomach.

The six pack is what most people fixate on when they want to trim their tummies down, but a bigger conversation among real core experts is arising about other factors that influence the shape and health of your belly.

As someone who has been in the fitness industry for almost 19 years {okay I’ll admit the first 2 years were in the Kids Klub of my local gym} I’m literally a degree-holding body nerd, and I’ve spent the past three years–solid–focusing on your center bits.

To me, everything goes back to your core, so I’d like to share four freaky things about belly bulge–stuff you may have never thought of–that I’ve learned will truly sabotage all the time and money you’ll ever invest in your abs. And it will show you how to get a flat stomach–how to really get one–without all of the gimmicky stuff that you typically see in the infomercials and more.

woman in white sports bra holding her belly bulge that is hanging over gray sweatpants for how to ditch belly bulge

4 Ways to Ditch Belly Bulge aka How to Get a Flat Stomach

Lower Your Heels

High heels.

Why do we wear them? Oh, yeah, they make us look taller and they also make our tushies look 25% bigger. {From Adrienne–I didn’t know that about my tushy.  Yikes!} But how do they do those two things?

By lifting your “heel” up which puts your body’s weight on the wrong foot bones while taking weight off the RIGHT foot bone and shortening your calf muscles. This is NOT good for your other muscles and bones, because no part of your body is an island unto itself.

Everything in your body is attached to other things, and when you take those elevated shoes off (even those sneakers with a 1″ rise) those shorter leg muscles reach up and pull your pelvis out of whack, and your abs attach to your pelvis.

A wonky-tilted pelvis makes for more belly bulges and is very much related to tight hamstrings and tight calves.

Next time you buy shoes, transition to a little lower heel. Then next time, transition again. Go barefoot as often as possible and – if you can – get a negative heel shoe one of these days. That way your calves are stretching instead of shortening.

Katy Bowman wrote Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief that has amazing information about your feet, calves, etc. If you have foot issues or want to dig more into the relationship between high heels, your feet, and more, check out this book.

Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief

{From Adrienne again–I am working on this. I am a long time Dansko addict so I am trying to figure this out. Bummer I bought several pairs of Danskos off of Ebay. Sigh. I can completely attest to the tight calf thing.}

Adjust Your Screen

Wait, let me adjust my computer screen before I write this, so I’m not a hypocrite… Okay, now I’m ready.

Picture this. You are leaning forward toward your computer, slouching back with your laptop on your knees, sticking your head out and down to check your smartphone.

Have you ever noticed how your belly sticks out more in those positions? But if you stack the bones in your torso, your belly appears flatter? Here’s how you do that:

  • head between shoulders like a ball floating on a fountain’s spray
  • shoulders over ribs, relax them down and back
  • ribs over hips like two halves of an eggshell being matched
  • pubic bone right below hips so you’re not tucked or arching but simply neutral and sitting on your boney “sits” bones.
  • If you’re a member of Fit2B, this routine “Align it Flat” goes over all of that in workout style!

There’s a MAJOR principle in fitness which is that “Form Follows Function.” Or like your mama said it: Don’t make that face or it might get stuck that way.

She was right.

How you train is how you end up looking.

If you sit slouchy, then you’ll still look a bit slouchy when you stand up. Our bodies get stuck in patterns of posture (oh there’s a whole blog post to be written right there!)

Basically, if your pot-gut is protruding for 3 hours every night while you surf the web or watch TV, don’t assume that doing 300 crunches will magically fix that…

… Speaking of crunches… They’re on my list of no-no’s, too!

Stop Doing Crunches

You are about to do the LAST crunch of your whole life. Normally I tell people to avoid them like sin, but you’re going to do one right now and you’re going to watch your belly while you do to see if your belly flattens when you lift your shoulders off the ground. Go do it. I’ll look away and tell myself that it’s for the greater good.

You didn’t do it, did you? I scared you a little didn’t I?

Well, good for you, because if you had crunched, you would have seen your belly bulge in a big way. Remember?

Form Follows Function.

When you crunch your spine, it diminishes the space in the center cylinder of your trunk, forcing your organs outward against your belly button and downward against your pelvic floor. Not good. Plus, if you sit slouched a lot, your spine has already been flexed a lot, and you need to extend it the other way more. Read all I’ve ever written about crunches here.

Stop Eating Cortisol-Increasing Foods

It’s Autumn as I write this, and my local grocer is full of fresh-baked bread and candy for the holidays. But gluten and refined sugar can really mess up your gut because they elevate your cortisol, a stress-hormone, that not only bloats your belly but helps insulin in telling your body to store fat.

Limiting or eliminating your sugar intake and gluten-based breads will go a long way to getting rid of belly bulge.

–You can do it folks. (This is Adrienne talking again.) If I can give up sugar–anyone can!

For more information on sugar, going sugar-free, and gluten-free baking tips, check out the following posts:

What is Candida – and the Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life
My Childhood and 5 Causes of Gut Dysbiosis
Great Gluten-free Baking Tips
Stevia -What It Is and How to Use It

More Belly Bulge Help


Now that you know more about how to get a flat stomach, here’s more help for you. I’ve been trying, little by little, to get my core in shape. I am amazed at how much work I have to do on this, but it’s worth it and it’s worth much more than just knowing how to get a flat stomach. This is a big problem for women and can lead to big health issues.

I really encourage you to look at Beth’s site Fit2B, and strongly encourage you to consider getting a membership.

Honestly (well, I would never lie to you, so it’s kind of odd to say “honestly”, isn’t it?), this is sooo worth it.  Gut health is crucial for overall health. I really think this is one of the best investments you could make in your overall health.

I for sure don’t want a wonky-tilted pelvis, do you?  Nope!

And of course, I am always trying to save you money on your health, so here are the savings I’ve arranged with Beth.

Here’s to all of us getting our core in good shape so it can support all the important stuff that’s inside of us–so we can be healthier and be better moms, wives, and citizens–Yippee!

Use wholenewmom and put the Savings Code in the cart at Fit2B here to get 30% off an annual membership.

Let’s get rid of our high heels, wonky-tilted pelvises, and embrace better health. I, for one, am super glad to be ditching the crunches, aren’t you?

Which Belly Bulge Causing Thing(s) Do You Do?
Now that you know how to get a flat stomach,
What’s the First Healthy Core Move You Are Going to Make?

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  1. I, too, want to comment on feet & shoes. A few years ago I began having great difficulty walking. I was diagnosed with fat pad atrophy and sesamoiditis. So, I cannot ever go barefoot; it feels like I am walking on rocks without shoes or socks. I have no cushioning on the bottoms of my feet. Also I have arthritis in my feet. I’m 10 lbs overweight. But the only shoes I wear are: Hoka One athletic shoes, Birkenstock soft footbed, and Allegria shoes. Rocker shoes work well. Hard sole shoes that do not bend are also the only shoes I can buy. And having little feet, 5.5, make it difficult to find shoes. I won’t ever be able to wear cute shoes again. Of course, when your feet hurt, it’s just nice to find shoes that help.

    1. Hello Jill!

      I’m so sorry to hear about this! I did want to mention something that you might be interested in–have you heard about Class IV laser therapy? I just found out about it and am researching it and hope to try it out soon. You can have it done in a clinic but there are some options for laser therapy in the home. We should definitely stay in touch about this. It has been shown to be helpful for arthritis and sesamoiditis. Maybe that would help you enough? For the fat pad atrophy, you could do adipose injections, but that would have to be repeated.

      Do you know if you could have an underlying condition that is causing all of this? Hugs!

  2. My husbands feet bother him a lot and was considering Protalus inserts. But there are so many gimmicks out there you don’t know what to believe. I do massage them often and use peppermint oil which helps while I’m doing the massage and for a time after. Just wondering g if you have done any research on inserts.

    Thanks for all the research you do for us … what a God send you are!

    1. Hello Val,

      I would HIGHLY recommend the book in this post and any books by the same author. I just got 2 of her books and the information is fantastic. There is testimonial after testimonial about foot, knee, hips, etc. issues getting resolution. Please let me know after you take a look what you think and I wish you the best!

  3. First of all, THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to share with us, (complete strangers), all of your research. I personally hate reading, (which I’m embarrassed to say, but true), but your site has made obtaining the information I’m seeking effortless!!

    I started researching the benefits of essential oils for my autistic son, which sound amazing, but it wasn’t until reading your posts that I considered it for myself. The amount of information you have made readily available is staggering, and the benefits associated with the oils are no short of miraculous. I can’t wait to try some of your suggestions on both my son and myself, and I look forward to the results that come with regular usage.

    Thank you again for being kind and selfless enough to share with us such powerful knowledge that we can use for the rest of our lives.

    Your new biggest fan,
    Heather B.

  4. Thanks for the insights, been literally crawling through your site for the past last hour, soaking myself in useful, healthy information available here & it’s been amazing…learnt quite a lot

  5. I think there are some excellent tips here! Beth is so very helpful :). But I have to disagree that everyone should avoid wheat and gluten. I highly recommend looking into Sue Beckers research and teaching on wheat. She refutes a lot of the falsehoods in the book Wheat Belly. Most people don’t even know what a true whole grain is, which is the biggest problem. If everyone was using freshly milled grain, we would have a fraction of the issues that are currently present. Anyway, I encourage you to look it up. Google Wheat Belly: Fact or Fiction by Sue Becker.

    1. Hi Stacey. Thanks for the comment. I did read Sue Becker’s info and I have to take issue with it. I think I responded to it in another post on gluten here. If there is something you are specifically referring to I would be happy to respond but although I think she is a great lady I don’t think science is on her side in this one. The gluten from fresh ground grains is still a huge problem. Thanks much.

      1. Thank you for your prompt response. I did some searching and read through the comments section on a other post here. While agree with you that Sue is not a Biblical scholar, and I really don’t agree with her theologically, I still think I will have to disagree with you in regards to wheat.

        I should also point out that I had blood allergy testing done about 6 years ago and it showed that I was severely sensitive to gluten and pretty much everything. I was reduced to chicken, rice, and a few veggies. I almost lost my mind, it was so stressful. And trying to eat that way made my other symptoms worse. It just wasn’t worth it. Our bodies are fallen. We live in a sinful, imperfect world. We can it be 100% healthy, no matter what we do. It just won’t happen this side of heaven. Maybe I do really have some issue with gluten, but It was more harmful to me and my family when I tried to cut it out of my diet. We can so easily make healthy living our god, and I just refuse to put my family through all that.

        1. I wonder if you read this post of mine (well, not mine). https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/wheat-autoimmune-blood-sugar-depression-lectins/ There is tons of info coming out about how gluten damages the thyroid w/o anyone even knowing it. I completely agree w/ Sue about how to look at things re: the single food group but the groups have changed and the effects of gluten on the body are totally different these days.

          I am going to ask the author of the gluten post on my blog to drop by b/c she did a whole bunch of research here and I am sure can address this in more detail than I can. I so appreciate your bringing this up.

          1. Yes, that is the post that I read. I honestly found it to sound a lot like fear mongering, but I’m sure that wasn’t the intent. I think I may even own the author’s ebook. Was it part of a huge bundle in the past few months? I think I started reading it and stopped because I just couldn’t agree with it. Who knows, maybe in the future I will agree with you and make a change, but right now I know I can’t do it and remain sane.

            1. Ok – gotcha. Well, I think years ago I would have been skeptical but after learning about TPO (thyroid antibodies) and gluten and seeing the results on tests for many many people I just can’t think about it anymore. We are all off of gluten for good. The wheat and schizophrenia link is very strong as well. I personally haven’t found GF to be very hard. Now, the gut healing diet I am on right now…wowee. Talk about hard! :).

              1. I have four kids. Number four being a huge surprise and shock. I just don’t have the mental energy to try and relearn meal planning. Never mind the huge cost to eating more meat and veggies. But I hope I will someday not feel so overwhelmed by my life. I do realize that this makes me sound like a whiner :). Just trying to learn to live with what God gave me.

                When I tried going gluten free, it was also egg free and dairy free and mostly beef free. It was the perfect recipe for failure. Maybe one thing at a time would have been easier.

                1. I hear you on that. Do what you can. Just keep an open mind. We are egg and dairy free b/c of my oldest. I am off all of it now as well. Lower expectations totally. We’ll see where I end up.

                  1. Thanks for the good conversation here. I appreciate that you were able to engage without it turning into something ugly. We are definitely all on a journey in our health, just at different places along the path, I’m always learning new things. My latest venture has been into the world of water kefir.

                  2. You are welcome. That means a lot that you would say that. WK has too much sugar for me. Sigh :). But it’s fun!

  6. Are the Kaslo shoes the best option for those of us who are on our feet all day (i.e. teachers, surgeons, etc.)? I’ve battled foot problems for years & have a custom orthodic(?) that I put in my shoes with extra arch support & a cut out for the ball of my food so it doesn’t get added pressure. Trying to find good shoes has been a major challenge for me!

    1. Christy, I haven’t heard of that brand until just now when you mentioned it. When I googled them, though, it appears they are one and the same now with Earth shoes which I am familiar with. They are a good brand, however, if you’ve been using a shoe with lots of support, you’ll need to slowly work your way into the more minimalist style. Your orthotic might help with that, since you can move it from shoe to shoe, provided it fits?

      1. So Beth, does one typically get injured if moving from high support to none too quickly? Is that the reason for the caution?

        1. Is it ok if I chime in a bit? Think of it as your orthotics basically keeping your feet in a cast continuously. You need to re strengthen your feet to do what they naturally were meant to do. I’m not sure what the best process is, but I have about 80% transitioned to minimalist shoes. I really love my Merrell barefoot shoes. They are totally flat and flexible.

          For what it’s worth, my brother is a runner and was constantly getting injured and having to rest and heal. Several years ago he discovered barefoot running, and he has never looked back! He needed to re learn his form and stride, but it didn’t take long and he was injury free!

  7. I have to say there is something that you missed that can cause bloating that is not listed on your list and that is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Over Growth) and so can Candida each of these can cause bloating even if you are eating a very healthy diet. I have Sibo and the only thing I can eat without bloating is meat and very low low carb vegetables. AND The bloating will continue until SIBO is finally healed. So, if any of your listeners are following what you say and are still bloating with meals. They may want to check into understanding SIBO better or check out Candida. At first my doctor thought Candidia was what I had but the normal treatment for Candidia did not work. Finally through other tests it was discovered that I had SIBO. I’ve been on a Gluten free diet for over 4 years and have not used sugar for over 12 years. I finally went to the SCD Diet/Paleo diet to discover what other foods I was having problems with 2 years ago. So far, I’m eating just meat and Avacados and juicing Kale. Anyway, it is not that easy to get rid of SIBO and takes alot of hard work. I just thought your listeners needed to know, especially those who are doing everything you say BUT it’s not working. 🙂

    1. That is very interesting! Thank you for sharing it. There are a LOT of internal things within the gut that certainly multiply all the possibilities for bloating. This is one I hadn’t yet heard of, though, so thanks for that insight!

  8. I’m confused. Are Danskos still considered heels if your foot is the same level? I assumed “heeled” meant that your heels were up higher than your toes. Can you please explain? Thank you!!

    1. Most danskos do put your heel a bit higher than your toes. Plus, the heel isn’t too sturdy, and the toes aren’t flexible which makes your whole foot moves mostly as one unit instead of many units. They sure are comfy though, aren’t they? I’ve had a few pairs myself 😉 #grace