If you feel like you've been kicking some fat loss goals lately, dealing with a sudden food baby can throw you off track. Is it fat? Is it bloating? If you've ballooned overnight or during the course of the day, then you're probably dealing with a case of trapped gas and water retention. Nevertheless, its no fun when you're feeling puffy. Bloating can look and feel like fat gain, but you can take a breather, knowing that it's (usually) temporary. If you want to live it up this summer whilst minimising the bloat, make sure you're using these tips!
Stop eating the common triggers
Do you know you’re sensitive to dairy and keep eating it anyway? If you want to get rid of the food baby, time to stop! Dairy and gluten seem to be some of the biggest culprits. So unfair, because they taste so good! If you're a pizza and ice-cream fan, then know there's plenty of gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives that taste just as yummy (some better!) than the real thing.
Think you have a food intolerance? Though there are food intolerance tests you can take, the jury is still out on how effective they are. Something you can do at home is an elimination diet. Simply take out the suspecting foods for 2-3 weeks, then slowly reintroduce each food (not all at once!). Take note of how you feel - if there's no symptoms, great! Move on to the next food until you are able to confidently pin point which one is giving you grief, or you're able to enjoy all of them without discomfort.
Other common food intolerances are:
- Fish and shellfish
Kickstart your digestion
Start your day with lemon squeezed in warm water - you’ll feel great, your skin will glow, and you’re priming your body’s digestion for the day. You can also use apple cider vinegar (ACV) - if you have a sensitive tummy, start slow. Make sure to choose one which has ‘the mother’!
Next, if you know that your digestion is all-round struggling, taking digestive enzymes with or before a meal can help your body to break down the nutrients that your body needs to thrive. For products that'll support your digestion, check out some of our top picks below!
If you feel a bit stuffy after a meal, simple peppermint tea can do wonders to soothe the belly. Feeling a bit gassy? Try fennel tea, it's a well-known carminative and 'wind-relieving' ingredient! If you hate the taste of fennel, you can find it in the capsule blend Detox + Debloat by JSHealth Vitamins.
How much fibre are you having?
Fibre is a tricky one. Too little and you can end up feeling constipated. Too much, and you can make it even worse (or end up on the other side of the spectrum!). The average Australian isn’t taking in the recommended 25-30g of fibre a day, so if this is you, you can afford to up the ante. The key is to start slow, and make sure you have enough water to allow smooth bowel transitions!
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or a similar digestive concern, more fibre can be troublesome. In this case, it’s wise to work with a physician to determine the best treatment for you and get the help of a dietician to make sure that you’re getting the nutrition that you need.
If you’re trying to debloat quickly for an upcoming event, ease off on the fibre. Dropping the fibre is one of the things competitors do before show day to make sure that they’re looking as shredded as possible! Of course, fibre is a beneficial aspect of your diet, and you shouldn’t go about every day having little or no fibre. For a short-term fix, it can debloat you, so you can feel that little bit leaner.
If you want to increase your fibre but you’re worried about the gas and bloating, start by eating a few grams extra and notice how your body responds. Give your body time to adjust! Remember too, to have both types of fibre - soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre adds bulk to the stool, while insoluble fibre helps move things along!
On that note: Choose your fruits and veggies wisely!
This is quite individual - depending on how your gut microbiome is, you’ll be able to tolerate some fruits and veggies better than others.
Beans - we all know what they do! Aside from fibre, they also contain a trisaccharide called raffinose which can ramp up gas production. Unfortunately, whole grains also fall in this category - so if you know beans give you strife, you might struggle with them too!
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are fantastic for your health, with some unwanted side effects, thanks to their fibre and sulfur-rich nature.
If you struggle with raw vegetables, you can blame cellulose, a type of fibre. Lightly cooking your veg should help you digest them easier!
High fructose foods can cause issues in some people (such as onions or grapes). Pairing them with other foods can make it even worse, so opt for lower-sugar fruits if this is you.
If nuts and legumes are a bloating issue for you, the phytic acid may be the culprit. Some people find that soaking them overnight can solve this issue and lead to less gas production.
If you’re sensitive to sugar alcohols that you find in standard dieting products, then you may also be susceptible to those found in fruits and veggies. Sugar alcohols (polyols) such as sorbitol, mannitol and erythritol are found in many plant-based foods! If you’ve got a big event coming up, stick to what you know is ‘safe’ for you. Over the long term, by keeping a food diary, you can see which ones seem to flare up the food baby.
Get your sweat on
Doing a workout that gets your heart rate up and gets you sweating is an excellent way to debloat! If you feel a bit 'heavy' from the bloating and you can't muster up the energy for a more intense workout, try a simple walk. The act of movement can help your body to deflate and assist your digestive processes along the way.
There are specific yoga poses that can also help calm your belly down too. Google some of these:
- Apanasana ('wind relieving pose')
- Supine twist
- Twisting child's pose
- Burrito pose
Hydrate your cells
Hydration doesn't just mean drinking more water! In fact, if you try and chug it all down at once, you'll look even more bloated and full. Take smaller sips throughout the day to make sure that you're getting enough water without overloading the system.
Here are other ways to make sure that your body is feeling hydrated:
Reduce caffeine: if you can't give up your daily coffee, try dandelion coffee or tea, which can have a positive effect on your bloating. It's also an excellent way to stimulate digestion! If you need a caffeine fix, green tea and matcha are great options that assist your detoxification without the negative effects of too much coffee.
Enjoy hydrating and de-bloating foods like cucumber, celery, pineapple, and avocado! The bromelain in pineapple can also help you break down your protein-rich meals.
Focus on electrolytes: Water without supporting your electrolyte balance can worsen dehydration. Eat fruit and veg (that you tolerate!) to ensure that you're supporting your electrolyte levels. A banana, for example, has potassium that can help you to debloat. If you do lots of endurance training, it's worthwhile investing in some electrolyte supplements.
Bloating is a fact of life - if you're suffering from it, you're not alone! We all get bloated from time to time, whether it's from eating too much, undiagnosed food intolerances, stress and even drinking too much water at once! There are many potential triggers to bloating, if it's a constant concern for you, then make sure to see your health professional that can help you diagnose the cause and give you a plan of action. By taking note of these tips, you'll be better able to manage your bloating and go out there to enjoy your best summer yet!