Updated: Jun 28
Are your pants not fitting any longer? Not feeling well, lethargic or sluggish? What you could be experiencing is bloating, also known as distention - an overreaction to trapped gas or air in the intestines. You can experience symptoms of bloating all over the body, not only in your stomach. Common reasons for bloating include stress, poor nutrition, poor posture, lack of exercise, and conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Celiac diseases - but no one is immune to the bloat!
What if we said there are ways to decrease bloat and even beat it? Outlined below are 4 ways to recognize, understand and diminish that bloating feeling and your FREE access to my 7-day program to Beat your Belly Bloat.
1. Is stress causing your bloat?
We all have daily stress, however when that stress becomes chronic and does not settle or is not dealt with, muscles tense up including those that are part of the digestive system such as your intestines. Our body begins to take in more air as our breathing becomes more in our upper chest area and faster. The heart contracts more and pumps making our circulatory system work harder releasing stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol—acting as messengers to the stress levels.
Decreasing stress is not as easy as we think, however we can take care of the underlying
muscles. This will help the body to relax and release allowing our mind and muscles to let go of strain and tension pain, hyper guarding and nerve impact. In my workshop Beating That Bloating Feeling I talk about and teach simple progressive muscle relaxing techniques anyone can do with a tennis ball or other equipment such as a foam roller or massage ball to release that strain and muscle tension from the top down. One technique is to use gravity and roll lying on the floor with the foam roller or ball under your muscles on one side of the spine. Rolling in all directions of the different muscles fibers will help to melt the knots that build up in muscle guarding. Of course finding what works for you is always best, rolling coupled with other strategies you use to destress will work wonders at the beginning and the end of any day.
2. What foods are you eating?
There is nothing that makes me run to the bathroom faster than coffee, and nothing that makes me feel like a balloon more than raw onions, but I love those foods! I am sure you know what I mean, there are going to be foods you can eat and ones that make you give dirty looks at your family or partner when they eat it in front of you. As we have read above when you are under constant stress your gut has more work to do, leading to more contractions, more air to become trapped and more bad bacteria. For anyone with IBS or a medical condition you are already aware of what you can eat and not eat to feel well daily. However if you do not have a condition, or not aware of one it can be confusing and overwhelming what to eat or what could be causing issues in the gut.
Research has discovered certain diets such as FODMAPs carbohydrates that includes Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, gluten and dairy free can help with some symptoms of bloat. Some tips you can use to help see if these types of eating styles can help you to use an elimination diet. We all know this, taking time away from eating certain foods (not certain food groups) for a week or two and reintroducing them can determine what culprits are making you look 5 months pregnant. This does take a little bit of easy meal planning and clean eating and adding in some fermented foods such as Kiefer, I help along the way in a clean eating meal plan in my workshop and with clients. Some of these foods include eliminating onions, garlic, gum, artificial sweeteners, dairy products and high fiber foods. After a couple weeks without these foods you can bring them back into your meals, by changing up your cooking process such as grilling or stir frying or substituting with other foods, and combining with recipes to create more tolerable meals.
3. How is your posture?
You're sitting on your coach right now reading this with your legs up and your back against the end propped with pillows. While this is an ok position for a short time, if you sit like this too long when you get up your body will let you know just how much staying in one position too long will feel with stiffness and pain. Poor posture can lead to misalignment of your musculoskeletal system, tight tense muscles pain results creating difficulty in breathing and digestion. My work is based on posture. I love posture. It is the most important way I have found to be effective in any movement anyone does daily. There are two types static and dynamic I cover in my workshop that make a difference in every way you move. Here are some easy quick tips on improving your posture:
Be mindful of your posture daily in every movement and static position. Such as doing the dishes and walking.
Stay active by just moving more often, take a walk after eating, get up every hour you sit, strengthen your muscles with weights.
Maintain healthy weight, if you are like me around the middle is the worst! It can feel like all your fat cells gravitate to that stomach area and this can create strain in your body.
4. Move like you mean it
My workshop for bloating talks about slow self massage movement, low intensity exercises and HITT! I include HITT, which stands for high intensity tactical training) because research has shown it as an efficient effective way to increase your heart rate in a healthy safe way, burn more calories in a short time period, strengthen muscles and overall provide a great workout. HITT is also a workout that can create injuries or make musculoskeletal conditions worse. This is why it is always important to do your research, ask questions to the professionals you trust to determine what HITT program is best for you to do and how often. For example doing too many burpees which are a great full body exercise with a previous shoulder injury will worsen or reinjure your shoulder. With guidance from a professional any program can be modified or changed to accommodate your body needs and take into account previous injuries or medical conditions so you can enjoy this workout. The focus on the full body will help decrease the stress hormones, regulate your metabolism, refocus your breathing and helps eliminate that bloating feeling.
ABOUT THE SPECIALIST
Driven by her love to travel, Christine worked as a trainer while exploring the United States and Europe. It was in Europe where Christine discovered her love of medical exercise and becoming a mother that inspired her to teach physical literacy in fun and creative ways to young children. Christine holds a special place for teaching young children about anatomy through fun, educational, skill development fitness games.