Can you spot the difference between these pictures? Don’t be surprised – it was all taken within the same day!
So here’s the truth: Everyone bloats. It’s not normal for someone to have rock hard abs all throughout the day (unless you don’t eat or drink). Food and liquids take up space inside your stomach and intestines, which causes your tummy to expand. Eating certain foods may also cause more gas to be produced in the stomach than others, which increases the bloat. The good news is that while we can’t fully avoid bloating, there are 3 simple ways to reduce it (hooray!).
1) Drink More Water
There’s a common misconception that drinking more water increases bloating, but on the contrary, increasing your water intake actually helps to reduce the bloat! Your body retains water when you don’t drink enough; in a bloating situation, you should be drinking more fluids instead of restricting them. At the same time, avoid high-sodium foods such as processed and packaged foods as this triggers water retention.
A handy tip to keep track of your water intake is to refill a 1 litre water bottle at least 3 times a day! Another way to fight the bloat effectively is to add a slice of lemon to warm water. Consuming warm lemon water reduces water retention as lemons are a natural diuretic.
Try swapping high-sugar carbonated drinks for healthier options. If you enjoy more flavour in your water while beating the bloat, try this delicious recipe: Watermelon Celery Cucumber Juice. However, juices have frutose and frustose is a type of sugar, so don’t go too crazy over the juices!
2) Avoid High-Carb & Fatty Foods
Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as glycogen, which is a form of backup energy source. However, a high glycogen storage is unnecessary unless you have a vigorous exercise routine in place. Every gram of glycogen is stored with approximately 3 grams of water. By decreasing your carbohydrates intake, your body can then burn off the stored fuel while draining off excess fluids.
Compared to carbohydrates or protein, fatty foods take a longer time to pass through the digestive tract, and are the last thing to leave the stomach. If you want to avoid bloating, you might want to think twice before eating that basket of truffle fries (Candice: did you hear that?!) or that mouth-watering korean deep fried chicken.
Of course, I’m not saying that you have to ban yourself from fast food forever. You can have 1-2 cheat days, but the bulk of your diet should be healthy and nutritional. Remember, balance is key!
3) Have An Active Lifestyle
A 2008 German study published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases examined the effects of walking at a leisurely pace on a treadmill after eating a large meal. Results showed that walking helped move food through the stomach more quickly. When the stomach empties faster, gas is able to move more quickly into your small intestine, reducing the amount of bloat.
Strengthening your abdominal muscles with routines such as Pilates also helps in moving gas through the intestines. You will not only achieve a toned appearance that results in a less bloated-looking belly, but also improve your core strength which is essential in supporting efficient bodily movements and reduces the risk of injuries.
Bloating is a common issue that can be easily reversed with the right diet choices and regular exercise. Let us know if these tips worked for you! Fight the bloat and book your next Pilates class here. See you in class soon! 🙂