There are times when that daily schedule can get out of whack and the best laid plans come to naught. No matter how hard you juggle, there are only 24 hours in a day and displacing one activity with another doesn’t leave time for much else. Add the sitting, the messy routine and the rush to catch up with everything lead to unusual eating patterns. Before you know it, there’s an uncomfortable sense of bloat – that feeling of being filled with air. And not in a good way. Quite gross.
Bloating can happen from a number of reasons, and medication is one of them. Temporary bloat is normal. Unless the cause is a health condition (heart, liver disease) the usual culprit is intestinal gas. The common misconception that bloat is due to fluid collection is a myth. Fluid does not collect in the abdomen. Swelling from fluid collection happens first in the feet and ankles.
As a diabetic, I have to worry about extra pounds on a daily basis and simply cannot afford to be overweight. Here’s a quick break down on why bloat happens (and makes life miserable) and solutions to avoid it easily, and say…
Bye Bye Bloating
Or a case of shit doesn’t happen! You’re probably not getting enough fiber or fluid in your diet. Add inadequate activity. This can lead to constipation, inviting bloat. Yes, that hurts.
What can you do? Why, up your intake of fiber. For women, the recommended dose is 25 grams a day and for men, 38 grams a day. Sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leguminous vegetables. Remember to drink enough fluids and at least 8 glass of water a day. Make sure you include physical activity – ideally 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Yes, better make that a habit. The benefits are worth it.
A food allergy is when you cannot tolerate certain foods. Examples are wheat and lactose intolerance. This can cause gas. Don’t panic yet – keep track of what you eat and drink to figure out what could be causing the bloat – and leave the diagnosis to your doctor. Your doctor is likely to prescribe to identify allergens so that she can give you advice on which foods to avoid or minimize or even combine with others to get the best benefit.
Eating too quickly
I call it digital age eating. Grab on the go, eat in a hurry. Mom was right, you know, about eating slowly. When you eat too fast, you skip chewing and swallow too much air. The next thing you know – you’re full of it. Bloat.
What can you do? Make it a habit to eat slowly. Relish each mouthful. Digestion begins in the mouth. Chew your food well. Eat mindfully. Besides enjoying your food, you’ll also find you snack less. Cutting down on snacking means – yep – weight loss!
Fizzy drink overdose
Soft drinks, especially the fizzy type, trap gas in the body. This includes the diet version too! Switch to water instead. Want flavor? Add lemon or cucumber slices. Cut down on those fizzies. Enjoy a cup of tea! And you know what? Those soft drinks are loaded with sugar. Sugar you don’t need.
I used to be a big gum chewer. I quit. Chewing gum is a cause for bloat – because we swallow air when we chew gum. So ditch that gum. If you have to chew something, how about fruit, veggies or low-fat popcorn? I know it takes effort to say goodbye to gum, but oh, so worth it!
They seem like God’s gift to those cutting down on sugar, right? Sadly, artificial sweeteners are not angelic. They cause bloat. If you can’t do without, restrict yourself to two servings of “sugar-free” foods and drinks per day. Of course, chucking them altogether is the best thing to do.
That should read processed foods. To keep them fresh, processed foods are high in salt and low in fiber. The result? Bloat. Here is what you do – read food labels carefully. If your shopping list is full of processed / canned / frozen items, check its label. If you see more than 500 mg of sodium per serving, drop it. Look for “low or very low sodium” alternatives.
And by the way, did you know we can live without salt? Salt is an acquired taste. Dieticians suggest that we use table salt, rather than cook with salt as this cuts down our salt intake significantly. We get the salt our body needs from the fruits and vegetables in our diet.
Some veggies get a bad rap because of bloat. Examples are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots…more so if you are not accustomed to eating them. So don’t stop eating these high-fiber veggies. Add them to their diet gradually. Check with your doctor to find out how you can eliminate gas as a result of this – antacids, perhaps, depending on your constitution and health condition.
Three large meals a day
Most of us habitually eat three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of us – maybe most of us – skip one. Or two. Outcome? Gas. The long gaps between meals not only causes bloat, but blood sugar spikes. Make it a habit to eat five or six smaller meals through the day. Consult your doctor / dietician about your calorie needs – you don’t want to end up overeating, right? And we’re talking healthy meals here. Not just eating six times a day.
Remember, if you want flat, not flatulent,
- Not to skip meals.
- Laxatives and fasting are not the solution to get rid of bloat. And no, they don’t help with weight loss!
- You have to lose pounds to achieve that flat belly.
- When you lose weight, belly fat goes first.
- Overdoing those ab exercises won’t zap your belly fat
- Toning and strengthening your ab muscles will help flatten your belly, improve your posture and keep back pain at bay.
*If your stomach bloating is because of a medical condition, please talk to your doctor*
Have you experienced bloating?
How do you overcome it? Share your tips in the comments!