Beat the Bloat
Feeling bloated, or like ya have a 'food baby', may be one of the most uncomfortable feelings that can make us feel super self-conscious. At least, that's how it always leaves me feeling.
It's THE WORST when you feel so bloated after eating that you don't even want to leave your house, let alone go out with friends. If I'm being honest, when my stomach feels like a balloon, I don't have any interest in wearing anything but over-sized sweats or stretchy pants (ya know, nothing tight around the tum), and I wanna lay on my stomach (preferably on a pillow—because for whatever reason that feels like it helps flatten it back out). There's a picture for ya.
And it really sucks when you feel that way after eating a really healthy meal. It doesn't seem fair that you're rewarded with gas/bloat because you ate allllll the veggies—especially Brussels sprouts & the other cruciferous veggies. THOSE can cause bloat because they're tougher to digest.
...& that's super tough to come to terms with when you LOVE those veggies.
So, the best solution to avoid the unpleasant side affects that come with eating those super nutritious foods is to eat them cooked versus raw (to make them more easily digestible), or eat less amounts at a time (aka, portion control). How unfair that we have to monitor our veggie portions, BUT, it is what it is.
If you can relate to feeling bloated...if it's an everyday thing for you or just once in a while...and you want to reduce or beat the bloat, here's some small tweaks you can make that can have a big impact on your bloat meter.
Take whichever tweaks work best for your lifestyle & get that tum-tum feeling under control & tight in the right way.
#1. Go for a walk or do some stretches after a meal.
Starting out with a somewhat strange one...but this has been big for me.
Going for a walk can help increase bowel movement & helps relieve any gas buildup way faster than sitting around after eating. Whenever I feel uncomfortably full (happens most often for me after dinner), going for a walks makes me feel SO much better.
It helps me digest & moves everything down & out, if ya know what I mean.
The same goes for stretching. If I'm feeling overly full, I love a good cobra pose to stretch it out. This stretch for your stomach area can help relieve that gas buildup pretty quickly.
Don't knock it 'til ya try it!
#2. Drink water with lemon when you wake up.
Lemons work as two things: a diuretic, and subtle laxative.
A diuretic because they help flush out the kidneys (when kidneys retain water, it causes bloat). So drink your lemon water & get rid of water retention in the kidneys.
A slight laxative because they're said to help with movement in the colon (aka, can help ya poo).
SO, drinking that glass or big bottle of lemon water can help with preventing constipation & water retention—both big-time causes of bloating.
#3. Get enough fiber, drink enough fluids, & get active for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes per day.
All three will help keep your system flourishing & moving.
#4. Eat foods rich in probiotics.
Though there are probiotic supplements available, be careful of those because some of them can actually cause bloating. Eating real foods with tons of probiotics can be more helpful. Yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc. are foods that are filled with probiotics, but read the labels first because these could include a lot of sugar, so be mindful of avoiding the sugar-stacked ones.
#5. Eliminate possible allergies or sensitivities.
For example, wheat or lactose—two super common allergies/intolerances that can cause bloating. But, see a doctor to test if you actually do have an allergy or sensitivity...a lot of people self-diagnose themselves now days and eliminate foods that they might not have to be eliminating from their diet, especially wheat or gluten because being GF is trendy right now.
#6. Keep your sodium intake in check.
A good frame of reference for most people is not to exceed 2,000mg per day.
Highly processed foods are generally high in sodium and low in fiber...and both scenarios can cause bloating, so try to avoid those whenever possible.
#7. Slowly incorporate beans & cruciferous veggies into your diet.
If you're aiming to eat healthier and adding these foods into your diet, be careful not to overdo it and start eating a ton of these right away.
I'm by NO means saying to not eat these super healthy, nutritious foods, but to slowly work them into your diet. That way, you allow your body to adjust to the compounds they contain that can initially cause gas/bloat.
#8. Don't eat a ton of food at one time.
Feelin' like a stuffed turkey can make you believe you're bloated, when the problem really is that you just ate too much. If you're in the routine of eating big meals but are always feeling uncomfortably full right after, try eating smaller portions or smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Life is all about experimenting & finding what works best for us. So give it a try & see what works best for YOU.
Hope these little tweaks can help you fine-tune your tum, feel more comfortable & confident, swap out the stretchy pants for jeans, get ya off the couch & out with friends, & just all around THRIVE.