Beat the Belly Bloat!

Do you feel like you have a little belly pooch often? Stomach looking a bit swollen after you eat or by the end of the day you look like you have a small fetus growing inside you?

Bloating can be painful, uncomfortable and darn right not attractive!

Most people equate bloat with eating a particular food that doesn’t agree with them.  Bread, gluten, dairy or soda usually get a bad rap.

But in truth, bloating isn’t caused by one particular thing.  In fact, bloating can be caused by a number of reasons.  So before you never eat a delicious piece of bread again or a protein packed yogurt, read on for some very solid reasons why you may be bloated.

Eating too much causes bloat – You eat “good” all week and then you go out on a Saturday night, eat what’s not your “norm” – you enjoy bread, pasta, dessert or anything that has been taboo all week, and then feel disgustingly full.  You come home swollen and possibly even wake up bloated like a beast the next morning.

Eating too little  On the flip side, you think you are a rabbit eating a diet consisting of a lot of eat vegetables,  trying desperately all day to eat low calorie food.  Higher volume food is well,  larger in volume than calorie dense food.  This in turn,  stretches the stomach and causes bloating .

So – try to keep your meals consistent and satisfying. That way there is no reason to binge or starve yourself.

Not eating enough fiber causes bloat – Fiber comes from foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

Fiber keeps you full and keeps your bathroom trips regular by pushing food through your digestive track.  A good amount of fiber to consume is about 25 grams a day.  This number will go up or down depending on the amount of calories you consume daily, but a good rule of thumb is around 25 for most.  If you don’t eat enough fiber, it will cause constipation.

Eating too much fiber causes bloat – Fiber is essential to good health and a successful diet. But there can always be too much of a good thing.  As I explained fiber keeps you full.   It also absorbs water. If you eat too much of it without drinking enough it’s going to stuff you up, prevent you from going to the bathroom, give you abdominal pain and yup, bloat you right up.

Being dehydrated causes bloat – There are 2 types of fiber – soluble fiber, which become like a “gel” and therefore keep you full and insoluble fiber which retains water which adds bulk and moisture to waste and prevents constipation.

Both types of these fiber depend on water.  When you don’t drink enough water you become bloated.  While the amount of water is different for each individual, a good rule of thumb is to drink at least 1/2 gallon a day.  If you can get the gallon in, even better!  Water keeps things running smoothly.  No pun intended.

If you are adhering to all of the above and you are still bloated, a particular food “could” be the culprit. Some foods simply don’t agree with people.  Taking one thing out of your diet at a time is a good way to see if something is truly bothering you.

While belly bloat is very commonly related to foods, sometimes a bit of additional exercise can help. Here can also be some simple exercises you can adopt which can help you beat the belly bloat.

Go for a walk – Even just a 15-minute walk around the block, on the treadmill, or around your house can help diminish bloat, especially after eating. It doesn’t have to be brisk to get the job done! Even a leisurely stroll with friends or a walk with your dog can make a huge difference. A low-intensity workout like walking helps reduce bloating by moving excess gas that may be trapped along the digestive tract. The result is a flatter and fitter looking stomach!  

Cycle it out – Not a fan of walking? Take it to the bike! Whether you’re a Peloton fanatic or you prefer to cycle outside, you can pedal away your belly bloat with just a 20-minute ride. Want to really see results? Take the intensity up a notch and try cycling for a full 30-minutes!

Yoga, baby – Yoga doesn’t have to be hard or done in long sessions to be effective. You also don’t have to be a total guru and bend and twist your way into a pretzel to get the job done. Just a handful of poses like knees to chest, cat/cow stretch, child pose, and boat pose can relieve bloating. Try holding each pose for 30 – 45 seconds and repeating the sequence 3-4 times for great strength training, balance, and honest sweat!

Hit the weights – Doing some light to moderate weight training , especially a quick full-body routine could be all you need to say bye-bye to your belly bloat. Try using 8-12 lb. weights and performing a series of exercises to help get your entire body moving, your blood pumping, and your tummy totally deflated! Check out my Sloanesquad app for more great workouts!

A few last tips to beat bloat:

  • Don’t starve yourself or go too long without eating.  Eat meals throughout the day.
  • Take your time eating.
  • Don’t overload on vegetables and beans.  Yes they are good for you but everything in moderation.
  • Go easy on soda.
  • Get moving.

Everyone experiences bloat at some time or another.  And as you can see there are things to help you along the way to relieve it.

I can honestly tell you that when I got my diet in order, stopped starving myself, stopped eating vegetables like they were the only food on the planet,  drank more water than I was used to and incorporated ALL foods in to my diet my bloating and gastrointestinal issues disappeared.

I hope that these tips are able to help you banish the belly bloat and make you feel better all around!

If you could use a little help fine tuning your fitness and nutrition program, I’ve got you covered with the Sloane Squad! Want additional tips and blogs about how to stay fit and healthy? Click here to read more!