Tag Archives: beating bloat

Beat the Bloat: How to Get a Flat Tummy

Bloating can affect anyone of any size. Even if you don’t have weight to lose, you may experience bloating in the tummy that leaves you with a rounded abdomen instead of a flat one. This is a common problem and one that could have several different causes (which we discussed last week). Because bloating can be a result of several different factors – and often a combination of more than one factor, you’ll have to do a little detective work to figure out what works for you. How do you do this detective work? You try different things until you find what your body likes.

We can’t tell you exactly why you’re bloated and exactly what to do to stop it, but we can give you this list of tried and true tricks. Incorporate a few of these tips at a time until you find the perfect solution for you.

  1. Avoid gas-causing foods. Although any foods can cause bloating, there are some foods that are known offenders. These foods include soy, gluten, dairy, beans, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. While we’re not suggesting that you avoid broccoli forever, it can be helpful to reduce your intake or only eat it when you can throw on those sweatpants and lounge around for a few hours after your meal. Sugar alcohols, like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol, are also gas-causing offenders. These sugar alcohols became popular during the low-carb movement because they don’t contain any carbohydrates. However, if you overdo it, you may be left with bloating and diarrhea. Avoid them as much as possible.
  2. Figure out if you have food intolerances. Unfortunately, there is no magical way to figure out what foods you may be intolerant to. There is a type of food sensitivity testing available, called IgG testing, but these types of tests aren’t always reliable. The best way to figure out your own food intolerances is to follow an elimination diet. An elimination diet involves removing the most common food intolerances from your diet for at least 30 days, and then reintroducing them slowly to figure out if you have a reaction (like bloating) to a specific food. If you do, you know that your body cannot tolerate it well. The only drawback to this is that sometimes you may have an intolerance to food that is not typical. In that case, it can take a little more detective work.
  3. Chew slowly and deliberately. It’s not just what you eat that can cause bloating, it’s how you eat. Digestion officially starts in your mouth, so make sure that you’re chewing your food thoroughly and taking some of the burden off of the rest of your digestive system. Eat only enough food to make you feel satisfied, not so much that your stomach is overstuffed and you’re left feeling bloated and lethargic.
  4. Take digestive supplements. There are two types of supplements that are very helpful for digestion and reducing bloating: probiotics and digestive enzymes. Probiotics replenish the bacteria in your gut and digestive enzymes provide you with the substances you need to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  5. Drink water. Dehydration is a leading cause of bloating, so if you’re not drinking enough water, increase your intake. The current recommendation is to consume at least half of your body weight in ounces every day. This means if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be taking in 100 ounces of water per day. If you have a hard time keeping track of your water intake, there are free apps you can download to your phone to track your intake for you. Plant Nanny is one of our favorites.
  6. Get enough sleep. You probably don’t realize how much sleep affects your digestion. Proper digestion uses up a lot of energy, and if your body doesn’t have enough energy due to lack of sleep, your digestion will suffer. Make sleep a priority and make an effort to ensure that you’re getting at least 8 hours per night.
  7. Movement is excellent for digestion, so if you’re bloated, especially if your bloating is a result of constipation, move your body! Exercise helps move gas around the digestive tract and helps reduce constipation.
  8. Relieve your stress. Chronic stress can do a number on your digestive system and can lead to bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. If you’re always stressed out, it would be highly beneficial for you to engage in some stress-reduction activities. Some of our favorites are meditation, yoga, and journaling.
cup of tea

Easy Tips for Beating That Post-Holiday Bloat

Thanksgiving has come and gone. You spent time with your family, had some laughs with your friends, and now you’re left still feeling bloated and full. If you overindulged (and seem to keep overindulging), you’re not alone – and it’s okay. It happens to the best of us and unfortunately, we can’t turn back time. What we can do is get back on track right away and use the following tips to help reduce the post-holiday bloat.

Eat Your Greens

Skip the leftovers and the post-holiday everything-but-the-kitchen-sink turkey sandwiches and reach for greens instead. Green vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and asparagus contain phytonutrients that act as natural diuretics. They help flush out excess water, reducing bloat in the process. If you have a juicer, consider making yourself a green juice. Juicing removes the fiber – which isn’t recommended in many cases – but it’s a great way to help reduce bloat in a pinch.

Sip Some Tea

Sipping on tea with some key ingredients – namely ginger and peppermint – can flush out excess water and toxins from your body and help reduce bloat. Ginger soothes stomach discomfort, while peppermint reduces bloating and helps soothe a churning stomach. You can buy over-the-counter tea varieties that contain both ginger and peppermint or you can easily make your own ginger tea at home.

Peel some ginger root and slice it into thin slices – enough to cover the bottom of a small sauce pan. Fill the pan with two cups of water and allow the ginger to boil in the water for about a half hour. Pour the tea through a strainer into your mug and add a drop of honey, if want some added sweetness. Just a drop though – the calories in honey can quickly add up if you’re not careful.

Chug That Water

Water is essential to reducing bloating. It may seem counterintuitive to drink more water when you’re holding on to water weight, but staying hydrated will help flush out your system and make those jeans a little bit easier to sip. Try to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. If you don’t normally drink water as soon as you wake up, it can take some getting used to, but once you make it a routine, you may find that you actually crave it. If the thought of plain water in the morning just doesn’t sound appealing, squeeze in some fresh juice from a lemon or lime wedge.

Let It Out

Okay, let’s be honest. Gas is an embarrassing subject. It’s not a usual topic of conversation, even though we’ve all had it and we’ll all have it again. You may have gained a pound or two, but most post-holiday bloating is from gas; and one of the most efficient ways to get rid of the bloating is by simply letting that gas out. Of course, we’re not condoning just letting loose where you stand, but when you feel the urge to expel some gas – whether it be through belching or flatulence – excuse yourself and give your body that release. Holding onto the gas will not only make bloating worse, it’s uncomfortable too.