Let’s chat bloating…
But before this topic triggers anyone, let’s level set expectations first.
Is Bloating Normal?
Heck yes it is. Bloating (to a certain degree) is a completely natural bodily response to eating food. It’s really simple af. If you feel like your stomach is flatter in the AM than it is in the PM, that’s because it is. And that’s because you just spent the entire night sleeping without consuming any food or liquids. Aka you just spent the entire night fasting. Contrast that to before bedtime after you’ve been filling your stomach with food all day and…
Yeah, we get it. But I just had to point that out for anyone who finds themselves feeling extra discouraged by that bedtime bloat! (PS: this especially applies to anyone who’s recently been introduced to a diet called food combining. If you want to know my thoughts on food combining, I discuss it in this podcast episode).
The fact of the matter is that most women have to hit extremely low body fat percentages in order to have a “shredded” stomach. This can be a huge issue for women who try to maintain an extremely low body fat percentage for extended periods of time, because it can cause hormonal disruptions (i.e. can cause women to lose their period).
Of course, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people are able to achieve the appearance of a flatter stomach a lot easier than others due to genetics, hormones, etc. This is something I won’t discuss in depth in this specific post (learn more about how your hormones are affecting your ability to lose weight in this podcast episode). Instead, we’re focusing on the food-related bloating that affects you regardless of your body composition and what you can do to minimize it!
SIDE NOTE: Please don’t get this confused with extreme bloating and discomfort. If you find yourself to be chronically bloated and in pain, you may have a food intolerance or a gut-related health condition! Hit up your doctor for help if that’s the case.
There are certain foods that are commonly known as “bloating triggers” for people. But of course, people’s bodies respond to foods differently, so just because a specific food causes you to bloat, doesn’t mean it causes all your friends to bloat- ya know?
Here are a list of foods that are commonly known to cause a bloated, upset stomach:
- Cruciferous Vegetables (especially when raw)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Fruits High in Fructose (fruit sugar)
- Chickpeas (especially Chickpea Pasta for me, ugh x100)
- Plant-Based Proteins
- Protein Bars (especially those made with sugar alcohol)
- Raw Nuts and Seeds
- Spices, Seasonings, Sauces
- Spicy foods and condiments like Jalapeno, Chilis, and Sriracha
- Soy Sauce
- High Fiber Foods (Popcorn, Lentils, Oats)
- High Sodium Foods (Cheese, Soup, Sauces and Dressings)
- Carbonated Drinks
Holy long scary list. I know. Just remember- just because I’ve listed a specific food here doesn’t mean that that specific food will cause you to bloat. This list also isn’t exhaustive or universal. You may find that mango (making this up) gives you an upset stomach, but you have no reaction to dairy. Everyone’s body is #unique.
So now that we know which types of foods may be causing us to bloat, how do we actually figure it out for sure? And what else can we do to decrease bloating?
De-Bloating Tips & Tricks
- Start a food journal to keep track of what you eat and what your personal bloating triggers are
- Reduce the level of bloating you experience by cooking those bloating triggers (i.e. steam broccoli, saute kale)
- Minimize or eliminate bloating triggers from your diet for a few days prior to when you have that special event you want to look and feel your best for
- Chew food slowly. I know, eye roll inducing, but I honestly notice a huge difference when I chew slowly vs. when I wolf down my meal (which is often- no shame, I’m permanently hungry)
- Hydration, hydration, hydration
Are we feeling more equipped to combat bloating? What helps you to minimize bloating?
I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I don’t feel right posting this without a final disclaimer. You are not failing to reach your weight loss/body composition goals because you have a bloated stomach before you go to bed. This shouldn’t be a measure of your #bodygoals success. Average amounts of bloating are NORMAL. And if someone is making you feel like you’re wrong if your stomach isn’t flat at all times of the day… then bye!!! Nobody needs that negativity in their life. Your bedtime tummy does not define you, k?
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