Let's Talk About... Bloating

We all know the feeling. Whether it’s that time of the month, or you ate something you’re intolerant to, or you had a big meal. We don’t all know how to deal with it. Being bloated can be quite uncomfortable and make us feel not our best. At times, it can even diminish our self-esteem. Do I need to workout more? Why won’t my jeans button up today? Will these pants be able to hide a food baby?

As we’ve recently seen across social media platforms, even the fittest of models/influencers get bloated. The movement to normalize bloating has begun but if you’re like me and still wonder why it happens or what you can do to prevent it, here are some things you should know.

1. The first thing you need to know is that bloating is normal.

It can happen to anyone, even men. It is not something to be ashamed of and it does not mean that you have gained weight overnight. However, if you’re consistently bloated for more than a few days, you may want to analyze if any of the foods/drinks you regularly have are causing you constant bloat. If in doubt, consider seeing a dietician or gastroenterologist. Constant bloating can be controllable if you understand the cause and how to manage it.

2. Bloating can happen if you ate something you are intolerant to.

If you’re constantly bloated, altering your diet might let you know if you’re intolerant to a certain food. Common foods that can cause bloating include:

  • lactose if you’re lactose intolerant
  • fried foods
  • beans
  • fiber-rich foods
  • carbonated beverages
  • wheat/gluten
  • Onions/garlic
  • Alcoholic beverages, especially beer because it is carbonated (alcohol is an inflammatory substance)
  • Fermentable carbohydrates (include obvious sugary foods like cookies, cakes, candy, and soft drinks; can also include bread, crackers, bananas, and breakfast cereals)

3. You might become bloated if you recently started drinking more water than your body is used to.

If you’ve been dehydrated and suddenly begin to drink a significant amount of more water, your body might retain the water. As if it is saving it for when it doesn’t get enough water again, leading to bloating. However, don’t worry, once your body receives enough water, it will begin to release the water weight.

4. If you ate a heavy meal before bed, you might wake up bloated.

Your metabolism slows down during the night, so if you eat a big meal right before going to sleep it might’ve not completely digested yet by the time you wake up.

5. Birth control can cause bloating.

The hormone changes your body goes through when you’re on the pill can lead to water retention and bloating. If you have IBS or any other gastrointestinal disorder/diseases, the side effect might be stronger. Nevertheless, most women notice a decrease in bloating about 6 months into being on a new birth control pill.

Tips to reduce/deal with bloating:

  1. Drink green tea at least once a day. It’s great for overall health but also helps release toxins, reduce bloat, and burn fat.
  2. Try drinking a gallon of water a day to reduce water weight bloat.
  3. Big T-shirt dresses are great for hiding food babies.
  4. Become familiar with any food you might be intolerant to. Suggestion: keep a food diary.
  5. Try to eat smaller portions.
  6. Make sure you’re having bowel movements daily. Constipation can cause bloating.
  7. Go for a walk. Physical activity can help bowels move more regularly.
  8. Increase the fiber in your diet, gradually.
  9. Have peppermints or ginger mints instead of gum, the sugar alcohols and swallowing of air while chewing gum can lead to bloating.
  10. Try a daily probiotic.