Peace Out, Bloat - Part 1
Let's talk about something that is just an absolute buzzkill: BLOATING.
Sometimes I look in the mirror without a shirt and I'm like 'damn girl, what u been up to?' (typically post spray-tan and after a day that I haven't eaten a lot of carbs and when I've been drinking a ton of water and usually at some point after I've been to the gym....it has to be a perfect storm).
Other times I'm like 'WTF? What are you doing??? Is that a muffin top??!' (all other times)
Muffin top, anyone?
And clients? Emails or DMs I get from you guys? Text messages I get from family friends? "Why am I bloated?"
It's something we all deal with on some level - for some, it's a chronic issue, for others, it's just an occasional thing that happens when we eat or drink something that our bodies are not into. For some of us, it's not a huge deal - just a part of life to retain some water here and there. For others, it's a chronic issue that really needs to be addressed.
So, let's talk about it.
Today I'm going to give you the list of alllll the different things that might be causing your bloating and my next post will be alllll the things you can do to fix it.
Before we get into this, though, it's important to know that there are really two types of bloating:
- PUFFY BLOATING. You know, where you're just puffy. All over. Your face, your stomach, your arms, even? Blah. This is pretty much caused by holding onto excess water all over.
- STOMACH BLOATING. If your main issue is that you always look pregs, then the issue may not be water. It could be excessive gas in your digestive tract.
Let's start with some of the less serious issues that may be causing the bloat, that you can nip in the bud pretty quickly. Some of these will cause simple water retention, others will cause more of that "pregnant feeling" from gas.
Why am I bloated?
- CARBS. Too many carbs. Carbs actually hold onto water, so when you're stuffing your face with bread and pasta all day, you're going to hold on to a lot of it.
- NOT ENOUGH CARBS. Weird, right? But if you're eating a really low carb diet, and then you 'slip' and have a sandwich or even just some fruit that you wouldn't normally eat, your body goes haywire and starts holding onto water like CRAZY. Balance, guys.
- ALCOHOL.Ugh. I know. Too much alcohol, especially wine/beer/champagne, causes bloating. And if you overdo it? Even worse. You'll first become dehydrated (from peeing a lot), then you'll start holding onto water like crazy to "prevent" the dehydration situation from happening again.
- ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. So. Many. Chronic. Dieters. Have bloating issues and I find that THIS is a major culprit. Guess what? Your body hates fake food and it'll react to it. Diet drinks are just nasty, and they are not making you skinny, trust me.
- PROTEIN POWDER: It's SO common to get bloated from these. Why? Artificial sweeteners and chemicals. Sort of defeats the purpose, right? Get yourself a good, clean protein powder to prevent this.
- PROCESSED FOODS, NOT SALT. "Salt" is not your problem. Yeah, salt holds onto water, but you can sprinkle it on your food all day and it won't really affect you. It's the packaged garbage you're eating that puts you over the sodium edge and causes the bloat.
- GUM = gas in digestive tract = bloating.
- NOT ENOUGH FIBER. Fiber is not only key for blood sugar control (which is why it's a major PHFF! key), it also 'keeps it moving'. For sure shoot for at least 25 g/day.
- TOO MUCH FIBER. Always too much of a good thing - too much fiber causes digestive stress. This is difficult to do if you're just eating real food, but it's easy if you're eating foods that are fortified with fiber (FiberOne bars, anyone? Metamucil?).
- PMS. UGH. Why??? Some women can experience bloating for up to two weeks before their period.
BUT, ALSO -
You can probably take a look at this list and pinpoint your problem pretty easily. I mean, if you eat a Lean Cuisine for lunch every day and you're constantly chewing gum to curb your appetite.....yeah, you're gonna be bloated. Duh. But if you're looking at this list and nothing is really standing out to you, then your bloating may actually be a symptom of a larger problem. And that needs to be addressed.
This list is going to really address stomach bloating more than anything. So, if you're "doing everything right", but you still feel like you're bloated allll time, listen up.
- AN UNHEALTHY GUT. Your gut runs from your mouth to your anus. It's the whole enchilada. When it's in bad shape, you're in bad shape, and a really common 'symptom' is bloating.
I want to stop here for a minute. If you are experiencing chronic bloating and you're in this section and you're like "YAS this is speaking to me!" Then 9.9/10, your gut is in bad shape. But there's a reason for it, and that's what I'm going to get into next. Keep reading.
- A FOOD SENSITIVITY. Gluten and dairy are biggies, but it could be something else, too. I had a client once who we tried a few different elimination diets with to figure out her issue and it ended up being...........green peppers. Weird, right? But solved ALL of her problems.
- STRESS. Do not ignore the power of stress and anxiety when it comes to weight loss and digestive problems. Stress has a huge effect on gut health, which has a huge effect on your entire body - including digestive health.
- TOO MANY VEGGIES. Some people don't digest insoluble fiber well, which means they don't digest non-starchy veggies well. If you're loading up on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and peppers every day and you have a bloating problem, your healthy veggie habit may actually be your problem.
- MEDS. Antibiotics, especially, will wipe out healthy bacteria and cause gut damage, which can cause bloating.
Now, this list will help most people pinpoint what their problem might be, but if you are having major digestive distress or super serious chronic bloating or you feel puffy all the time, there could be a more serious underlying issue and you should for sure talk to your doctor about it. Like, ASAP.
It's not really helpful to know what your problem is without the solution. Next up, we'll talk about ways to reduce the bloat. I've got lots of tips of tricks up my sleave (ones I use on myself all the time) and I'll also address those more serious issues for you as well!