Being bloated f****** sucks. I’m writing this because I know how frustrating it is. It’s the most uncomfortable feeling that makes us look like we're having a baby, but also makes us feel lazy, discouraged, uncomfortable and sometimes, in pain! Keep in mind, bloating doesn't have anything to do with your progress, it doesn't mean you've gained weight, it doesn't mean you're eating unhealthy it just means your body isn't doing it's thing…and it could be caused by so many reasons.
Through experience, trial & error and research, I’ve put together some of my favourite ways to prevent the bloat, get rid of the bloat and treat the bloat. I’m giving you effective ways that work for me that are proven to help others too!
Before I dive into this, I want to start off by saying that we are all human. Being bloated all the time isn’t normal BUT having a perfectly flat stomach all the time isn't normal either. Next time you feel bloated, don’t automatically call yourself fat, say that you need to cut carbs because that’s just unhealthy behaviour. Instead, try out some of my remedies and relax.
Reasons you might be bloated:
1. Sorry but you’re not bloated. If you’ve been over eating and indulging more than you normally do, then then chances are, you may have gained weight. This is because you are in a calorie surplus (you’re eating more calories then you burn… basically your body has extra energy and can either build more muscle or fat (most likely fat in your case). My next blog post will be called “Why you’re not losing weight when you’re doing all the right things” so stay tuned for that!
2. You’re 3 meals are not custom to your needs. Maybe 5 small meals is better than 3 big ones for you? Maybe even 6? Listen to your body and its own rhythms. People need to recognize the fact that the rule of “there square meals a day” has become a kind of straightjacket… For example, I like to have light dinners because I know that if its heavy one then I feel I full and bloated when going to sleep and the next morning have no appetite for breakfast.
3. You’re eating too fast. When you don’t eat slowly, then you are likely to overeat. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate to the brain that it has received enough food Another consequence would be that you’re food isn’t being properly chewed. When food doesn’t go through the proper mechanical process in your mouth, it makes digestion harder for your body.
4. You have gas. Stay away from foods that give you gas. Some common gas causing foods include:
-Carbonated water/soft drinks/ kombucha (anything fizzy!)
-Legumes like chickpeas and beans
-Cruciferous vegetables. They contain a sugar called raffinose, which is known to produce gas in your gut so be careful with raw broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower (especially raw… so be sure to steam, bake or sauté them!)
-Drinking from a straw or chewing gum. Doing this lets in air which which becomes trapped in your stomach and small intestines!
5. You’re body doesn’t agree with dairy. Just because you’re not lactose intolerant, doesn’t mean the dairy won’t bloat you! Everyone is different, but dairy products are very common cause of bloating. Your body might be able to digest it the lactose but you can still be intolerant and it is harder to digest than other foods. Pay attention how your body reacts to dairy. If you feel bloated after them, you might have to reduce your intake or remove them completely if you want a flat stomach!
6. Your Meals are voluminous. If you’re bloated after something like a nourish bowl or a huge salad. then you don’t suffer from bloating! You’re food has volume so it’s obviously going to fill your up stomach. Be patient and let the food be digested before jumping to conclusions.
7. You’re eating too much salt. If you’re feeling bloated all over and not just your stomach area, chances are you’re retaining water weight. When you overdo it on the sodium, your body WILL retain water which creates fluid weight gain. Why? Your body tries to maintain a certain ratio of sodium/water. When you consume more sodium, your body retains more water. Stay away from fast foods, soup mixes, processed meats which have the highest sodium contents.
8. You’re constipated. That’s a whole other topic! If you’d like me to write about it, let me know! Quick tips: drink more water, eat probiotic rich foods, eat more fiber, take herbal or over the counter laxatives, drink prune juice!
9. Give your body a rest. If you’re eating late at night (especially unhealthy foods) and waking up early to eat again, your body will never have the chance to digest all that food. So if you wake up bloated, maybe consider trying to fast for 10-12 hours even once to reset your stomach!
10. Artificial sweeteners tend to cause bloating for many people! Just because you’re not adding Splenda to your coffee doesn’t mean they aren’t found in other food you eat. Artificial sweeteners are mostly found in foods that are reduced in calories, processed products, and diet drinks. Some include: Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue, Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame K (Sweet One, Sweet 'n Safe) and Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low, Sweet Twin),and sugar alcohol’s such as: sorbitol or mannitol. Keep in mind that anything labeled “sugar free” has a high chance of containing these (ex. Starbucks sugar free pumps)
My favourite remedies that actually work:
1. If you’re feeling gassy, then stretch: Lie down on the floor and try these positions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_F4Vdd6lsE
2. Drink water regularly throughout the day. When you don’t drink enough water (or any fluids) your body retains it to prevent dehydration. So, drinking more water will reduce water retention and prevent you from being constipated which causes you to have a bloated belly.
3. Have 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar before going to bed. (the label needs to say "with the mother). The vinegar helps with bloating because it kick starts digestion so your stomach can better manage your meal.The taste is unbearable for me so I like to mix it with 1/4C of either 100% pure grape, prune or regular apple cider juice.
4. Say yes to coffee in the morning if it helps you go to the bathroom, just don’t overdo it. (too much can bloat)
5. Fennel seeds. Fennel seeds help relieve bloating by relaxing muscle spasms in the digestive tract. Chew on a tsp OR add a tsp in boiling water and let sit for 10 min then drink up!
6. Drink tea. I love chai or mint, but when I’m feeling bloated, I go for Peppermint, camomile or anise.
7. Warm water + lemon juice. Lemon juice helps your liver to produce more bile, which aids in the digestion process.
8. Instead of lounging around after meals, head outside for a 15-minute walk. This really helps your food get digested before going to bed. Ever since I started doing this I’ve notice that I feel way lighter and less full going to bed.
9. Take a digestive enzyme if you have to. If you’re “sensitive” to dairy and are going to a restaurant (it can have traces of dairy) take a lactase enzyme such as Lactaid or Dairy Ease and make sure you ask them to not cook any of your food in butter!
10. Spice it up. Instead of cooking with sugar, pre made sauces and more oil, use digestion stimulating spices when making your food. I love black pepper, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric.
I hope these tips helped.