One morning last week, I woke up feeling like I was ten pounds heavier. The idea of putting on leggings or anything tight was horrific. And the last thing I wanted to do was move my body.
Yes, I did indulge the night before with take-out Thai food and red wine, and yes, I was expecting my period later on in the week. But regardless of the reasons behind this bloat, I felt horrible.
While, in general, I try to listen to my body, which would mean staying in bed with some Netflix, this bloat got me feeling pretty icky both physically and mentally as well, and I knew I needed to do something. Putting on both my personal trainer and health coach hats, I laced up my sneakers and went for a walk. With bloat, movement is key, but for me, the kind of movement was essential. I could not engage my abs; I could not pull my belly towards my back; moreover, I couldn’t even feel my core. Also, I felt so heavy and grounded that I knew a run or a HIIT workout would feel way more intense than it would on a regular day as it felt my body was holding on to a lot more weight. Walking was the perfect method of both moving my body and getting some fresh air, which gave me an emotional boost as well.
As soon as I came home, I filled up my a large cup with water and fresh lemon juice. Lemon helps with digestion, and water flushes out your system and brings fluid into your colon, allowing you to go to the bathroom a bit easier. Over the course of the day, I tried to finish three liters of water. In addition, one might benefit from adding herbs like peppermint, anise, or fennel to a hot cup of water. There are even specific teas on the market, which address bloat, which one can find online or at their local health food store.
Additionally, try to increase your fiber, whether from fruits, especially berries, whole grains, vegetables like artichokes and brussels sprouts, and beans. Fiber supports a healthy digestive tract and, therefore, can ease the bloat.
If none of these suggestions work, I would advise calling your health care professional. It might be time to avoid certain foods like dairy or gluten. Or try an elimination diet taking certain items out of your diet for around three weeks and then slowly adding them in, seeing how your body feels.
Experiment on your body, see what works and what doesn’t work. The more aware we are of how we feel post eating a specific food, the more in tune we can be towards what makes us feel but please remember each individual person reacts differently to the same foods, so what might work for a friend of yours might not work for you.
Other tactics to deal with extended bloat can be acupuncture or even stomach massages. A lymphatic drainage massage targets your digestive system as well, where the masseuse will press and massage your belly in a clockwise motion from your belly button to your pelvic region, thereby assisting digestion.
Bloating also can be a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If symptoms persist, it might be a good time to get an extensive stool workup, where doctors can take a look at your microbiome, the makeup of the microorganisms in the gut, which can tell you a lot about what is going on in your digestive tract.
Bloating is uncomfortable; it is not a condition to sit in; please know that while everybody is different, there are treatments to ease discomfort.