How to beat the bloatDec 01, 2022
Losing weight can be a frustrating journey of ups and downs on the scale. You can make an effort with nutrition, cut back on sugary treats, hit the gym three times a week; only to find that one morning you get on the scales and find you’ve gained 2kgs overnight for no apparent reason.
If this has happened to you, you are not alone. In my nutrition practice I measure people’s body composition which shows changing levels of fluid, fat and muscle. Some people suffer from wild fluctuations on the scales on a regular basis, which has nothing to do with body fat and a lot to do with fluid retention and bloating.
If you suffer regular bouts of bloating there are steps you can take to improve digestion and reduce the unpleasant symptoms.
- Eat slowly: You should take at least 20 minutes to eat a meal. This gives your body time to activate the necessary steps of digestion and will help your digestive system process the food you have eaten.
- Digestive enzymes: Taking this supplement with meals will give your body extra enzymes needed to digest fat, protein and carbohydrates.
- Wait at least four hours between meals: Your body needs time to digest each meal and clean out your system before the next lot of food arrives.
- Water: Don’t drink a large amount of water either directly before or during meals as this could flush out the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps break down food and is essential for good digestion.
- Vegetables and fruit: People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) know all too well that certain vegetables and fruit cause discomfort. Foods that are highly fermentable include onion, garlic, cauliflower, apples and avocado. Bread and other products containing wheat and gluten can also be problematic.
Fluid retention also wreaks havoc on the scales. Your body is a finely tuned machine and fluid levels fluctuate throughout the day. Factors that impact on fluid levels include:
- Hormonal fluctuations: A women’s menstrual cycle and the associated hormonal changes.
- Water intake: if you are not drinking enough water during the day then your body is more likely to hold onto stored water. Drinking more water can encourage your body to let go of that stored water.
- Eating salty food: Your body sodium levels are tightly regulated. If you eat a salty meal Your body may hold onto water to make sure levels remain stable.
When you are on a weight loss journey and watching the scales it’s important to remember that occasional bloating and fluid retention are just a normal part of the process. Understanding why this is happening and taking steps to improve the situation will hopefully help reduce the frustration.
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