As a coach I’m always sharing before and after pics….I’ve shared lots of my own over the last 3 years and I’ve shared many transformations of my clients. They usually are the result of at least 3 weeks of consistent work with an exercise program and a nutrition plan.
This before and after picture is a little different!
The before was taken after a night out with friends. We went out to a local Italian restaurant, we had a late dinner, and I consumed things that I normally wouldn’t eat on a regular basis such as pizza, bread, drinks and desserts. It was a fun night and I don’t regret what I ate and drank….but I did pay for it later that evening.
I was SO bloated! My stomach looked like I was 6 months pregnant and it felt so yucky. I couldn’t wait to get home and change out of my jeans!
That night made me really think about bloating, what causes it in my body, and how to prevent it.
I’m going to share a bit about how my body reacts to certain things. I’ve discovered this over trial and error over the last few years. Everyone is different, of course, so if you deal with bloating I think it is extremely important to listen to your body. Our bodies tell us so much if we take the time to pay attention and listen. Most of the time we ignore the signals our bodies give us, and then we pay for that by feeling lousy. I know my body gives me signals that are loud and clear and I’m going to share some of them in this blog post.
Methods I use to prevent bloating:
- Avoid foods that cause bloating – For me personally, grains, dairy and sugar all contribute to bloating. I feel better when I avoid all three of these things. I have discovered that my body handles grains better when they are sprouted – such as in sprouted grain bread. My body also does better with spelt rather than traditional wheat, as spelt is easier to digest. My body also prefers grains without gluten, such as oats. I do better when I have grains in very small amounts. My body also does not love dairy. Again, I can have it in small amounts every now and then, but in large amounts it bloats me. I prefer goat or sheep’s milk cheese to cow’s milk cheese. I also prefer to consume dairy in the form of yogurt or cheese rather than straight up milk, as I find it easier to digest. Sugar is another one…it’s ok in small amounts but when I have too much – it leads to severe bloating and gas! I’m not going to fully give up these things forever, but I am mindful as to how they make me feel and I try to minimize the amounts of each that I have.
- Avoid clothing that cause bloating – I have noticed that when I wear tight jeans and sit a lot, especially after a meal, I become quite bloated. Upon doing some research on Google, I’ve discovered that this is a real thing! When we wear tight clothing around our abdomen, it can make it more difficult for gas to pass along normally and this can lead to bloating. This can also happen with Spanx, which is kind of ironic. We wear Spanx to hold things in, but they can cause a lot of bloating! I discovered this first hand when I wore Spanx a few weeks ago under a tight dress. I could not wait to get home and take them off!
- Avoid stress – Yes, I know this is easier said than done! However, stress seriously affects our body’s ability to digest food. When we eat on the run or when we feel anxious, our bodies product the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and these both inhibit the working of our digestive system. This can definitely cause bloating. I’ve noticed that when I am stressed or eating quickly, I feel more bloated, no matter what I am eating. I make an effort to sit down when I am eating, slow down, and chew well.
- Drink more water, but not too much at once – Did you know that dehydration can cause bloating? When we don’t drink enough water, our bodies start to fear that there is a shortage, and we retain water. I feel best when I drink small amounts of water throughout the day. If I drink too much at once that also can lead to bloating, since our bodies cannot absorb large amounts of water all at once.
- Stop eating after dinner and eat dinner early – We usually eat dinner in our house at around 5:30 pm, and I usually do not eat after 7pm. Why? Because my body needs time to properly digest everything before I go to sleep! When I stop eating early, I feel so much less bloated and my food is digested better. When I eat after dinner, it pretty much always leads to bloating and feeling yucky the next morning.
- Replace after dinner eating with tea – If you are used to eating after dinner, it can be hard to stop this habit. For me, I have replaced the habit of eating with the habit of drinking tea! I love making my own teas with ginger, turmeric and lemon. I find that these three things greatly reduce bloating as they all have an anti-inflammatory effect. Having tea after the kids go to sleep is a very relaxing habit and something that I have grown to love!
If you suffer from bloating, I hope that these tips can help you. Remember to pay attention to your own body. If you feel bloated, write down what you have eaten, how you felt and what you were wearing. Over time you will start to recognize patterns and trends, and you will learn to discover how your body reacts to different foods, to different clothing and to stress.
If you need some helping tweaking your nutrition and finding what foods work for you, join our next 21 day health and wellness challenge group starting on April 10th! In this group we will work out daily at home for 30 mins, create customized meal plans that work for our bodies, and focus on ways to de-stress and relax. For more info, please send me a message via Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.