How To Beat Belly Bloat

Belly bloat is not a good look, is it?

Chronic belly bloat can be pretty darn uncomfortable and no fun when it puts a damper on your social life. In this guide, find 13 preventative ideas to flatten your stomach and keep it that way.

The 13 lifestyle tips here addresses the most common causes of bloating (see #1), such as unhealthy gut bacteria and not enough exercise.

Please don’t rely on the information here for all your answers. See your doctor if your bloating is chronic. They may want to run tests to rule out medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease or a stomach infection. Tests can also help to identify contributing illnesses such as diabetes and hypothyroidism.

1. Learn what triggers your symptoms

Start paying attention to how you feel 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, and 24 hours after eating certain foods. Apps like Cara, as well as Food Allergy Journal and notebooks can help you track what you eat to identify your food triggers. These are some common reasons you might experience digestive complaints and bloating:

  1. unhealthy bacteria in the stomach,

  2. not enough exercise and movement,

  3. gluten intolerance and other food sensitivities,

  4. poor diet, too-fast eating, and

  5. age-related changes.

2. Get up and move

Lack of exercise and poor diet are the two top causes of belly bloat so get up and move. Going for a walk after dinner is something I learned from my British friends, and I’m not sure why everyone doesn’t do it. It’s such a great habit to help beat belly bloat.


3. Don’t eat too fast

Chewing your food well and eating slowly can lead to less bloating. Do this by giving yourself at least 20 minutes to eat an average-sized meal.


4. Wait at least 15 minutes to drink liquids.

Drinking water and other liquids with food disrupts the digestive process, which can lead to gas and bloating. Wait at least 15 minutes before and after meals to drink liquids.

5. Eat smaller portions

Instead of eating three meals a day, have five snack-sized meals. This will give your digestive system less work to do each time, which will minimize food reactions.

6. Up your fiber intake

Our GI tract needs fiber to sweep away gut debris but if you consume a mostly-western diet, you’re probably not getting enough. Easy fix. Sources of fiber such flax flakes and grains are versatile. They are great on salads, in smoothies, and with cream of coconut, make a tasty hot cereal. You can also get your fiber from delicious fiber foods such as blueberries and avocados.

7. Have the self-talk

If you find yourself making excuses to eat what you shouldn’t, don’t kick yourself. Outsmart your subconscious. Each time you make the easy choice, ask yourself: was it really worth it?

Here’s another self-reflection method to help you work through your resistance in a more gently, yet effective way. If you were having a stressful day and just grabbed whatever was laying around, fine. Do better next time by…

  1. Asking yourself what you could have done ahead of time to make yourself less vulnerable to the cookie. Your lesson might be to have healthy snacks on hand.

  2. Asking yourself if there was anything you could have done differently in your moment of weakness, knowing full well that you may be weak again.

  3. Acknowledge how crappy you feel and answer honestly if it was worth it.

  4. Repeat this self-talk each and every time something you eat causes you discomfort.

All our actions take place long before we actually do them. With regular self-regulate, you reprogram your mind and become less emotionally vulnerable to your harmful foods. You will begin to remember the pain and discomfort before you remember the pleasure of eating them. Eventually, you will outsmart the donut!

8. Drink hot water after meals and more water in general

Hot water aids the digestive process and reduces constipation and belly bloat. Try to limit your use of laxatives and focus on regulating your digestive system. Drink more water in general. Dehydration will cause your body to hold on to water and gift you with a round belly.

9. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed

If you’re hungry and need a snack, have a sodium-free soup broth, seaweed crisps, a slice of avocado, or caffeine-free tea. The less work your digestive system has to do while you sleep, the flatter your stomach will be.

10. Take probiotics

Probiotics help the gut promote good bacteria so eat probiotic foods like yogurt and take a probiotic supplement if you have gluten sensitivity, suffer from IBS or other digestive complaints. Results show probiotics also help other health problems. I highly recommend seeing your doctor and working with a nutritionist if you have a chronic digestive problem. The goal should always be long-term health, not popping pills that can mask more serious problems. Probiotics shouldn’t be taken if you have a weakened immune system and under certain conditions. Even when taking fairly safe supplements like probiotics, it pays to work with a pro. And definitely see one if you don’t experience any change doing things on your own.

11. Use natural digestive support

Apple Cider Vinegar provides great digestive support and will help more than just belly bloat. Enzymes like Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra taken before meals will prevent flare-ups. Ginger, fennel, peppermint, and dandelion root are other great herbs to have alone or in any combination. Make a tea or use the herbs in dishes. Betaine HCL has been shown to help some age-related digestive issues. Again, see a professional if you don’t get relief. And if you do get relief, for god’s sake that’s not a sign to keep doing the offending behavior!

12. Do digestive yoga poses

A 10-minute practice as often as possible (you know I’m really thinking, daily, right) will not only help to keep the bloat away, the practice promotes other mindful habits like healthy eating.

13. Do Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a daily eating pattern that’s become very popular, but what I’ proposing doesn’t need to be daily, but it should be done on a regular schedule. Once every two weeks — or at some set schedule — do a nutritious liquid diet for 2 days. A nutritious liquid diet is having green smoothies, juices, pureed soups, and other soft foods. Ideally, you should stay away from fruits! Soft foods pass through the intestine quickly and give other undigested foods lingering in your stomach, time to pass through. Eating this way regularly is another great flat tummy trick.

Good luck getting that flat stomach and becoming the type of person you want to be.

 

Recommended books

Healthy Gut, Flat Stomach by Danielle Capalino

The Bloated Belly Whisperer by Tamara Duker Freuman

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