Pilates

Bloated? This Is What Is Happening to Your Body – and How to Fix It

Hey Guys!

Let’s talk about food babies, shall we?

You know… that dreaded food baby that happens thanks to BLOATING. We’ve all had it, right?! And we laugh and call it a food baby when really, it’s uncomfortable to even laugh because let’s be real, bloating hurts!

IDK about you, but when I’m bloated I just don’t feel my best. My clothes feel like they fit really weird and I feel sluggish. It can be really frustrating and hard to ignore. I just want to get rid of it ASAP.

Turns out, there’s actually more to bloating than you might think! Maybe I’m a little nerdy, but it’s actually a really interesting process! I did some digging for us so we can learn what’s up with bloating, and how we can push past the food baby and get back to feeling our best!

You ready?! Let’s deep dive!

First things first…what is bloat?

Ok so you know what bloat feels like…but do you ever wonder what’s going on in there? 

I want you to touch your stomach right now. Nope, that’s not your stomach. Move your hand up to your diaphragm/rib cage area. THAT’s your stomach. Your stomach actually rests right below your chest and sternum! So if you’re imagining your stomach is full of too much food when you’re bloated, that’s not necessarily true! It doesn’t really have anything to do with your stomach! 🤯

The area we usually think of as our “stomach” is actually where our intestines are. They absorb a ton of nutrients from our food before they get rid of the waste. When they’re working to digest food, they can actually expand! Then, when they pull in water to help push out the waste… Bam. Bloat.

Pretty much what that means is that some bloating is normal and EVERYONE deals with it. But what about the uncomfortable, gotta lay down kind of bloat? Keep on reading!

What is making me bloat?

So water and air in the intestines = bloat. But there are some things that just make our intestines go a little extra when they digest food. 

  • Swallowing air from drinking through a straw or chewing gum
  • Eating too fast – Because you swallow air!
  • Eating too much – We’ve all felt this one.
  • Eating fatty foods – Hiii pizza. 
  • Eating foods that create gas in the intestines (🎶beans, beans 🎶 … you know the rest!)
  • Constipation

Some medical conditions like lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) are known to cause bloating too. These conditions just make it harder for the body to digest certain foods.

Ok…but why do I bloat sometimes even when I’m eating healthy foods?! 

Isn’t that THE WORST? 

You can totally feel a little bloated after a healthy meal. But no worries! If you know ahead of time what these foods are, there are some things you can do to keep things from getting out of control. And just like everything else, everyone is different! The foods that make me bloat like crazy might not affect you at all.

The more “obvious” bloat foods:

  • Greasy, fatty foods
  • Artificial sweeteners (look for sorbitol on the food label)
  • Carbonated beverages (air!) 
  • Dairy
  • Salty foods and processed foods high in sodium (canned soup, frozen foods, etc)

Annnnd the not so obvious, sneaky bloat foods:

  • Raw, cruciferous veggies – like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and onions
  • Some fruits like apricots, apples, peaches, pears and prunes
  • Beans and lentils
  • Whole grains

So why do these foods cause bloat? Well, they’re crazy high in fiber which is GREAT for your body, but takes a little more effort for your intestines to digest. These foods produce more gas and usually draw in more water. So they make you bloat. Also keep in mind that eating too fast can make you feel bloated, no matter what you’re eating!

Let’s talk about belly fat for a sec…

Belly fat is a different (and more permanent) story. First of all, you don’t need to stress about putting on belly fat after one indulgent meal. Belly fat shows up when you’re eating more calories than you’re burning over time. In other words, you’re not gonna put on 5lb of belly fat overnight.

Unhealthy habits like eating a ton of sugar, not exercising, lack of sleep and genetics can cause excess belly fat too. Although it’s suuuper rare to put on weight in your belly alone (you’ll probably notice weight gain all over), having that excess fat around your belly is actually dangerous for your organs.

How do I know if it’s bloat or belly fat?

Ok so let’s say your jeans suddenly don’t fit. Is it bloat or belly fat?! There are some easy ways to figure out the difference.

  • Is my belly suddenly bigger than it was a day or two ago? Probably bloat.
  • Did I just eat? Bloat.
  • Does my tummy slim back down the next morning? Bloat
  • When did I last go to the bathroom? If it’s been a day or two… it’s probably bloat.
  • Is it that time of the month? Bloat.
  • Am I dehydrated? Bloat.

Basically, it’s probably just bloat unless you’ve noticed some changes all over your body. If your lifestyle has changed and your diet is off, or you’re not exercising as much, it could be belly fat.

Getting rid of bloat

Well now that we know what causes bloat, how do we get rid of it?!

First, try to prevent it!  The best way to do this is to just avoid or eat less of the foods that make you bloat. Like I said before, everyone is different so it might take some trial and error to figure out what foods give you trouble. This is where my love for food journaling comes in!

You can also try…

  • Eating more slowly, chewing more, or eating smaller more frequent meals.
  • Deep breathing to stimulate the digestive tract and relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Sipping on a warm beverage if you’re constipated. Caffeine may help too!
  • Strengthen your core

Of course, if you’re dealing with chronic bloating or other issues, ask your doctor for more help.

Getting rid of belly fat

Getting rid of belly fat is doable with the right amount of work and time.

  • Exercise – aerobic (think cardio) is the best for fat burning! You can start by going on a walk every day, or check out some of the Blogilates cardio videos. When you’re ready to ramp it up, doing some high intensity interval training (HIIT) or PIIT28 will REALLY burn fat.
  • Adjust your diet –  It’s most important to avoid eating more calories than you’re burning. Try to eat more fiber, fewer carbs, and drink lots of water! Avoid the sugary and processed stuff.
  • Sleep matters too! Getting 7 or 8 hours might sound impossible, but it really does make a huge difference for your body! This is something I can definitely work on too.

Above all else, remember this 

Love your body on all days, whether your abs are looking FIRE or your tummy is a little puffy from bloat. If you need to make some changes to feel better, go for it! But know that nobody’s body looks perfect every day.

What are your “problem foods” when it comes to bloating?! Tell me in the comments!

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