It’s 1:30pm. You’ve just eaten lunch, you’re back at your desk ready to get back to work, and while no one is looking, you quickly reach under the desk to unbutton your pants. You feel like there’s a balloon in your belly, you feel sluggish and all you want to do is go home and curl up in a ball on your bed. The afternoon bloat is real – believe me, we’ve all been there.
Chronic bloating is one of the most common symptoms I see in practice. It’s uncomfortable, inconvenient and can be a major confidence-killer. Bloating is usually a sign that there’s something else going on that we need to get to the root cause of. Whether it’s an issue with the digestive system, a hormonal imbalance or an issue with the nervous system, understanding the underlying cause can help us nip it in the bud so that you don’t feel like your pants are gonna bust open after every meal you eat.
If you’re ready to dig deep and get to the bottom of your bloat once and for all, fill out this form to apply to work with me.
In the meantime, here are 3 simple changes you can make to your daily routine to help beat the bloat.
3 Ways to Beat The Bloat
Amp up your morning routine
The choices we make in the morning often set the tone for how our digestive systems will operate for the rest of the day. Starting the day off right can help mitigate some of the factors that contribute to bloating right from the get go. As you build your morning routine, try adding in a couple of these digestion-friendly tips:
- In a litre of room temperature water squeeze ½ a lemon and drink through a straw upon rising, before consuming anything else. Save the coffee for after! This is a great way to wake up your digestive system and get it moving.
- Leave your phone alone for 30 minutes after waking up. Checking our texts, emails, or social media right when we wake up can automatically spike our cortisol (your stress hormone) levels, bringing us into fight or flight mode before we’ve even had breakfast. Stress & food are not friends, so ditch the phone till you’re feeling more settled into your day.
- Book in 10-20 minutes of you-time. Whether it’s meditation, exercise, journalling, or reading a chapter of your book, taking time for yourself will reduce your stress levels and allow your body to better prepare for eating and digestion.
Sooth your system
Certain foods & supplements can help soothe the digestive system so you experience smoother digestion and less inflammation. These are a few great picks:
- Dilute 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a small glass of water, and drink 15-20 minutes before eating your meal. ACV mimics the action of stomach acid in your digestive system, helping to break down your food.
- Include diuretic foods like asparagus, beets, celery, parsley and citrus. Diuretics are substances that increase your urine output and help get rid of excess water, which might contribute to feeling full or puffy.
- Chew on a few fennel seeds or sip a hot fennel, peppermint or ginger tea.
- Make water your main beverage – skip the ice, bubbles, sugary drinks and booze.
- Gradually increase your fibre intake. Eating more fibre helps to prevent constipation and bloating. It is important to bear in mind that increasing fibre intake too quickly can cause even more gas and bloating. It’s best to start slowly and increase the intake over several weeks to allow the body to adjust to this change in the diet. Try adding 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed or chia to your breakfast. Want some recipe inspiration, try my favourite energy ball recipes that pack a punch of fibre!
- Enteric-coated peppermint capsules, which can be found online or at a health food store, can be very helpful. Peppermint oil works by relaxing the intestinal muscles, which allows gas and stool to move along more effectively. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.
- Eliminate inflammatory foods like artificial sweeteners, processed dairy, additives and artificial colours/flavours. Always read the labels of store-bought dips, dressings and sauces! Common bloat-inducing ingredients include sulphites, nitrates, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, guar gum, high fructose corn syrup and aspartame.
Movement can get the bowels moving more regularly, which can help to reduce bloat and release excess gas. You don’t need to put in an hour long work-out to see benefits. Some of the below suggestions can even be done at work!
- Go for a walk after lunch. Research has found that a post-meal walk, as short as 15 minutes, improves digestion and blood sugar levels.
- Try a few yoga poses or just get stretching. Certain yoga poses can position the muscles in the abdomen in a way that encourages the release of excess gas from the GI tract. This can reduce bloating. Child’s Pose, Happy Baby Pose, and squats can all help people to relieve a buildup of gas quickly.
- If you have time for it: 30 minutes of cardio. Cardio helps expel gas that causes pain and help move digestion along. Go for a power walk, a brisk jog or hop on the bike.
- Try abdominal massage. This isn’t necessarily “movement” per se, but it will help get things moving! Gently massaging the abdomen can help regulate the bowels. Place your hands above your right hip bone, and rub upwards in a circular motion toward the right ribcage. Rub straight across the upper belly area toward the left rib cage, then back down toward the left hip bone. Continue to massage in a circular motion as necessary.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing is working, don’t give up hope. I’m here to help you get your health back under control so that you can live your best life ever. Fill out this form to apply to work with me and we’ll banish that bloat once and for all.