Can you relate?
That uncomfortable feeling that your belly is about to burst. It’s painful and your tummy aches. You feel heavy, tired, and weighed down. All you want to do is go home, take a soothing bath, and curl up in bed.
It leaves you feeling unattractive, self-conscious, and shy about your belly that’s protruding against your pants. It feels like people are staring at you. It feels like you're 5 months pregnant. It makes it hard to dress and you lean towards picking looser clothing. You want to cover it up so no one notices.
It can also derail your whole day because you’re not as energized and motivated anymore. It’s frustrating! Nobody wants to feel so sluggish after a meal. Why can’t you feel light? Why can’t your digestion be effortless? Why does it feel like there’s a bowling ball in your stomach?
Most people don’t realize how depressing it is to deal with bloating. It’s a horrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Not to mention how draining it is on an emotional level.
Bloating is a serious and debilitating ailment. It’s a sign from our body that something’s not quite right. Bloating can be a sign of a more severe illness. So If you suffer from bloating, please ask your medical professional to rule out any chronic illnesses.
Here are a few tricks that have been of immense value to me and my clients. Hopefully they will be valuable to you, too.
You Don’t Necessarily Have To Drink 8 Glasses Of Water
You already know how important hydration is. What you might not be sure of is how much water is enough. There are the general recommendations like 8 glasses a day or apps that track your intake. But there’s a better way and your body will tell you. Besides general thirst, you can also analyze your urine color.
Your urine should be a pale yellow. If it’s too dark, your body needs more water to excrete unwanted substances. Also be aware of dehydrating foods like salt, soy sauce, packaged foods, and caffeine.
Are You Deficient In This Nutrient?
Did you know that 97% of Americans are deficient in this nutrient? The average person doesn’t even meet half the required minimum.
This nutrient is fiber.
Fiber is the traffic officer in your gut that keeps traffic moving. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that 75% of your plate is covered with fibrous foods. These include fruits, vegetables, intact grains, or beans.
If you increase your fiber intake, do so over a few weeks. You don’t want to overwhelm your gut with too much, too fast.
Beware Of Too Much Fat
Too many fatty foods can slow down the digestive process. Eating too much fat is like driving on a muddy road after rainfall. You’re moving forward, but it’s at a snail’s pace.
That’s because fatty foods slow down stomach emptying. You need not cut out all fat but experiment with smaller amounts of it. This will make space for the fibrous foods we mentioned earlier. Less muddy roads and more traffic officers will speed up your food’s digestive journey.
It’s Important When You Drink Water
Drinking water with or too close to meals can mess with your digestion. It’s a catch-22. You want to be hydrated, but you also want to separate the liquids from the solids. Follow this guideline for optimal hydration:
Drink as much water as you care for 30 minutes before each meal. This allows adequate hydration without interfering with your digestion. Try to avoid liquids until 3 hours after your meal.
Eating Too Close To Bedtime
Imagine you’re at work on a Friday afternoon. It’s an hour before closing time. Your boss comes over and instructs you that there is a massive project he needs you to work on, starting now. What are the chances you’re going to be productive in this situation? Zero. So you leave it until Monday.
As you get ready for bed, your body also starts to wind down. Eating too close to bedtime can lead to waking up bloated. You don’t want to go to bed with undigested food particles in your stomach, do you?
Aim to finish your meal 3 - 4 hours before bedtime. This assures your body is done digesting and it can focus on recuperation during sleep. You’ll wake up feeling light and recharged.
Reduce Your Intake of These Liquids
Your gut bacteria is vulnerable and delicate. It’s not used to some of modern society’s concoctions. The following substances can mess up your healthy gut bacteria. Try to experiment with reducing your intake of alcohol, soda, artificial sweeteners, and dairy.
Rather opt for decaffeinated herbal teas like chamomile or plain old water. If you go with a non-dairy milk, be wary of store-bought versions. They can contain additives which further irritate your gut lining.
Sometimes it feels like our body is sabotaging us. Like it’s not on our side. Like it’s torturing us with all the pain and discomfort it’s causing.
Maybe you’re mad at it. Maybe you’ve lost faith in it. Maybe you’re frustrated that you’re not enjoying the health results you deserve. Those results that you so intensely crave. Wishing for the day it arrives.
But I want you to know one thing. And that is your body is the most advanced, genius, and beautiful piece of machinery that was ever created. It can do miraculous things.
Your stomach acid is powerful enough to dissolve razor blades. Your gut lining is big enough to cover two tennis courts. Your body makes a new gut lining every four days.
But unfortunately, we don’t have a user manual for this machine. We can only experiment to see how it responds to our inputs.
Our body can only communicate with us in one way, and that is through pain and discomfort. Sometimes it whispers, hoping we’ll listen. But we ignore it. So our body is then forced to shout to get our attention.
I also want you to know your body is fighting for you. It’s standing by your side like a faithful soldier, ready to battle to the death to protect you. It fights tooth and nail for you every second of every day.
It doesn’t ask for vacations. It doesn’t ask for breaks. It doesn’t ask for much.
It only asks for proper fuel, hydration, rest and a bit of sunshine.
Your body is always moving towards optimal health. Always. Let’s stop giving our body unnecessary errands to run and let it focus on its most important job - fighting for your health.