Are you Gaining Weight, or just Experiencing Belly Bloat?

You eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, and a sudden weight gain just happened. You’re freaking out, “what am I doing wrong?!” Before jumping to conclusions, having a swollen waistline happens from time to time. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t sort of depressing, but it happens. Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to step back and realize that a belly bloat can be attributed to a number of things besides your workouts and calories.

Frequent reasons for feeling bloated are as follows:

  1. Air or gas is trapped inside your digestive tract
  2. Eating habits and hormonal activity and can cause fluid retention. You could be simply retaining water.
  3. Signs of a more serious issue. Feeling bloating beyond discomfort is a medical issue and should be addressed by your doctor immediately.

Regardless of cause, having belly bloat is annoyingly uncomfortable and can temporarily hinder   your ability to enjoy  life.  The following are some helpful tips to fight back at belly bloat and get back to your normal routine.

Bloating Caused by Air and Gas

If you believe the bloating you are experiencing is caused by air/gas, here are some tips to help reduction of the air/gas stuck in your digestive tract:

  • Slow the rate of your drinking and eating. You may be consuming foods too quickly.
  • Limit gum chewing
  • Limit your smoking habit. Come to think of it, you should probably not smoke at all.
  • Watch out for loose dentures; yes, you read that correctly.
  • Try not to swallow air; this should be a no-brainer.

Out of all the tips mentioned above, limiting your gum chewing and slowing down the rate that you eat will make the largest impact in how regularly you experience bloating.

Bloating Caused by Food and Drink

Bloating isn’t always caused by the speed that we eat, but sometimes is caused by the types of foods we eat.  Some foods just produce excess gas in the digestive process. If this sounds familiar, the following foods could be causing your issues:

  • Soda pop and carbonated drinks.  Carbonation is key here, so consume at your own risk. If the drink bubbles, it contains carbonation.
  • Foods containing high amounts of soluble fiber. The offenders include: vegetables, fruits and grains.  Despite the fact that these foods are very much part of a healthy diet, they can also cause abdominal gas. To reduce the odds of this happening, make sure that you incorporate these foods slowly so your body can adjust to the amount of fiber you are taking in.
*Pro tip – steaming or cooking vegetables like broccoli, kale and sprouts. Also, you can cap your consumption of these at servings 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
  • Sugars create excess gas. It should go without saying, but it should advised to avoid processed/added sugars anyway to keep up a healthy diet.

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Water Weight

Quite often you experience belly bloat from retaining too much water. Fluctuating hormones during your monthly cycle can cause bloating. However, more habitual causes of water weight could be as simple as having too much sodium in your diet. The average American actually intakes 1,100 more milligrams of sodium per day than the recommended consumption (2,300 milligrams).  Could this be you?

Here’s some high sodium food for thought:

  • Processed cheeses and meats along with canned foods contain very high amounts of sodium and portions can be easily overlooked. 
  • Sport drinks. These drinks are designed to replenish the sodium lost during your workout session to aid in recovery. If you consume these, make sure you balance them with fresh water.

While all this sodium talk sounds really bad, it actually helps your body retain water; and that is a good thing. And, while you can’t avoid salt altogether, you should make sure you are getting enough water. The healthy rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight in ounces if you are not exercising regularly and double the ounces if you work out regularly.

While bloating isn’t a great experience, remember that it is only temporary. Understanding what causes it can help you shorten, or prevent it for the most part. It is a healthy reminder to continue to pay attention to your overall habits, and a can be an important sign that it is time to make some positive changes in order live life a little bit cleaner.

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