Do you sometimes find yourself feeling quite bloated after eating? You’ve probably suspected it might be that ‘evil’ gluten or perhaps another potential food culprit. Truth is, our digestive system is complex! There is so much going on and food may seem an easy scapegoat however, restricting food unnecessarily can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and cause unnecessary stress about eating (which, by the way can also leave you feeling bloated too).
There are hundreds of reasons why we might have a bloated tummy, many of which have nothing to do with food. So, before you pass on the bagel, have a read of the list below and see if there might be something more likely to be causing your discomfort.
So, what might be making you feel like you’ve just eaten a small child?
1. You’ve eaten too quickly or in a distracted state: Are you someone who often has a smart phone in one hand and a fork in the other? Do you work while you chew? Maybe you rush out the door with a muffin in one hand and your keys in the other. In this case, it would seem likely to blame the muffin, however it could be the rushed state that is causing your tummy grief.
2. You’re dehydrated: Getting plenty of hydrating beverages is often a wish than a reality. Unfortunately, though, when our body becomes dehydrated, according to gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, M.D., our intestines lose their lubrication and stagnation can occur. This can leave us feeling bloated no matter what we eat! Not only that but thirst can be mistaken for hunger which, of course, if you’re not hungry, can lead to over eating – and – bloating.
3. You’ve overeaten: Sometime bloating can be as simple as that, and it’s one of the most common reason for bloating! and I’m sure we can all recall a time where we’ve had to undo that top button following a huge meal.
4. Lack of movement: The more we move our body, the happier or digestive system is! It moves more ‘quickly’. Unfortunately we’re becoming less and less active. Lots of people (myself included) have desk jobs and do a whole lot of sitting. This can make our digestive system function at a snail’s pace (just like the rest of us is) and can lead to bloating, especially when combined with all of the above!
5. Stress: Sometimes, not always, If you’re eating in a state of stress or anxiety (which many of us are) this can be a powerful driver for bloating. According to The Calm Clinic: Anxiety can shut down the part of the brain that handles digesting food and stress itself can put a great deal of pressure on your stomach and abdomen. This can cause us to feel bloated when eating foods that we may have normally been able to digest prior.
This is one of many reason’s why I’m so adamant about removing the fear around eating. We’re so quick to blame the bun for the bloat when it may really be the anxiety around the bread that is causing a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A lot of these have to do with our fast-paced culture. We’re rushing out the door, not eating our meal properly, or drinking water. We’re skipping meals, and overeating because of it or because we’ve finished a huge meal without even realising we’d had enough. Add stress and food fears to that and you’ve got the perfect conditions for bloating.
So rather than restricting your favourite foods – why not try slowing down and engaging in mindful eating practices first. This could be as simple as removing distractions while eating, taking deep breaths before starting, sitting to eat, and practicing gratitude for your meal. It’s about chewing your food properly, enjoying it and listening to fullness cues.
Life is too short to shorten our food list – and while there are some who have some genuine food intolerances or allergies, for the rest of us, maybe we can just practice taking it a bit easier on ourselves.
In other words, don’t blame the bagel for what the stress did.