Belly bloat is one of the most common issues that my clients come to me with, and if you’re anything like them (and I know you are!), that “food baby” nasty bloat is something you are ready to say goodbye to, forever.
Unless you’re suffering from an unmanaged food intolerance or IBS (and if you are, please schedule a consult with me so we can get you feeling all better, fast!), belly bloat is a matter of compromised digestion or simply sub-par food choices. And guess what? It’s a pretty easy fix. Follow the tips below to make that belly bloat a thing of the past!
1. Quit that 6 small meals a day/snacking habit! To give your system a chance to fully digest your food, you need to go at least 3 hours between meals. If you’re snacking all day long, or committing that carnal dietary sin of several small meals a day, your body never has a chance to completely digest what you’ve eaten, and all that food just piles up in your belly. Rock three meals a day, with lunch as your biggest meal (see the next tip) to give your body all the time it needs to fully digest and metabolize what you’re eating.
2. No more big dinners! Our digestion is at it’s strongest at midday, and that is when your body is best able to digest a big meal. Not at night!! Think about it… If you’re eating your biggest meal at a time when your body is winding down, you have no chance to burn it off, and no chance to properly digest. This means that big dinner is still sitting in your stomach when you go to sleep, getting stored as fat in all the places you don’t want any extra padding. So have your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime, when you can actually digest and burn it all off, and make dinner a light and easily digestible meal — like a soup, salad, or some cooked veggies.
3. Chew your food!! Seriously, if you pay attention, you’ll be amazed at how little you’re actually chewing your food. Which means that you are swallowing larger chunks of food that haven’t been properly broken down, making your digestive system work so much harder. This especially applies to high-fiber foods like bread, beans, and potatoes. Turn everything into a smoothie-like consistency in your mouth before swallowing, and watch that bloat disappear!
4. Step away from the computer! Eating while stressed or distracted also compromises your digestion, and can lead to overeating. It is super important to eat your meals in a calm, undistracted state to promote digestion and decrease bloat. So make time to eat away from work and your computer. I promise you, you can find 15 minutes to sit in at your dining too table, conference room, or break room to eat your meal.
5. Go for a post-meal walk. This is an awesome habit that is a cultural staple in many countries. Particularly after your biggest meal (lunch!), it’s important to take a walk to get things moving and promote digestion. This also helps to release gas! A crucial anti-bloat move.
6. Sip some ginger tea after your meal. Ginger tea is wonderful for aiding in digestion and soothing your stomach. Keep some tea bags in your purse and make it a post-meal habit!
7. Avoid cold drinks while eating. Sipping ice water with your meal is a one-way ticket to Bloatsville. It makes your digestive system work twice as hard, and can cause gas to boot. It’s generally best to drink liquids before or after eating, but if you must drink something during your meal, make sure it’s room temperature.
8. Don’t finish with fruit. If you’re still experiencing belly bloat after eating, take a look at when you’re consuming fruit. Eating fruit after a meal can promote gas and bloating. Opt for having fruit 30 minutes before your meal instead. Consider it a little appetizer or amuse bouche!