Your body weight naturally fluctuates over days or weeks, and sometimes these changes are most apparent in the midsection. Although fat gain may be one cause for a bigger belly, there are several other reasons your waistline might expand over the course of two weeks, and most of them are no reason for concern. If you experience severe bloating or unexplainable weight gain, however, consult your doctor to rule out any serious illnesses.
If you've significantly increased food intake lately, you may have added some extra fat to your belly. You gain about 1 pound of fat for every 3,500 calories you eat and don't burn with physical activity. By creating a surplus of 1,000 calories per day you'd gain about 4 pounds in two weeks, which may be enough to widen your abdominal area slightly. If you suspect fat gain, you can lose the padding by eating fewer calories than you burn until you reach a healthy weight. If you're not sure how many calories you burn, Harvard Medical School recommends multiplying your weight times the number 15. For example, a 140-pound, moderately active person burns about 2,100 calories per day.
Another likely culprit for rapid weight gain is water retention, which can add several pounds to your frame in days or less. Sodium is a common cause -- the recommended daily limit for sodium is about 2,300 milligrams per day, and an extra 400 milligrams can lead to 2 pounds of water weight. You may also retain fluids when you're dehydrated, as your body works to conserve water in this condition. A carbohydrate-rich diet may also contribute to fluid weight because carbs stored in your body carry liquid.
Gas buildup in your stomach can create a stomach pouch. More than half of the gas in your digestive system is swallowed air, according to WebMD, and your habits help determine how much air goes down. To curb gas bloating, the site recommends drinking straight from your glass rather than using a straw, consuming flat beverages instead of carbonated versions and avoiding chewing gum and hard candy. Foods that are difficult to digest, such as cauliflower and beans, can also contribute to gas bloating.
If you aren't regularly passing stool, waste matter may be building up in your colon, causing abdominal bloating. The root of this constipation may be lack of fiber in your diet, lack of physical activity, "holding it in" or using certain medications, according to MedlinePlus. You may find relief by choosing whole-grain products as well as fruits and vegetables instead of white bread, white pasta and fast food. MedlinePlus also recommends exercising at least three to four days per week and drinking eight to 10 cups of water each day.
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