Bloating happens for a number of reasons – including stress. Meanwhile, women are walking around thinking they need to lose weight. Not only is that a horrific waste of our mental energy…it really may have nothing to do with fat at all. In this episode, you’ll learn common causes of bloating and how to start fixing it.
Get Michelle’s free Stress Assessment Quiz at https://shesgotpower.com/free
Raise a hand if you’ve been feeling bloated.
Oh boy. Lethargy has set in and eating habits that were no biggie for the first couple weeks of COVID quarantine are turning a corner and…we’re really just not feeling great.
I’m with you.
Is it bloating or is it fat?
For years my clients have come to me with bloating issues. Women talk about feeling bloated all the time. It’s funny…I’ve noticed that when women say they are bloated, they sometimes are actually bloated. But many times it means they want to lose weight, especially around the middle. Usually, it’s a bit of both.
Any of this is fine and completely normal. Especially during quarantine.
But they are two different things.
Let’s draw the distinction.
Bloating: Solids, liquids or gas
True bloating is when there is too much “stuff” inside your intestines. They’re full of either solids, liquids or gas. And it’s a signal that something is…off.
You feel an uncomfortable heaviness. In many cases you can see the difference in the way your pants fit. Or in extreme cases you might look 6 months pregnant because your lower belly is so full.
Nobody likes that.
Fat: Inside vs. outside
While bloating definitely happens on the inside, belly fat is the squishy stuff overhanging the waistband on your jeans.
OR…it might be visceral fat. That’s the dangerous kind that collects around your internal organs, creating an apple-shaped body.
My clients tend to see a reduction in both. Bloating usually disappears first. Fat loss follows.
What causes bloating anyway?
Omigoodness. What DOESN’T cause bloating??
This part gets pretty nerdy. See, it has to do with the health of your gut.
For example, if you have low stomach acid or too few enzymes in there, your body can’t digest food properly. You’re going to get bloated.
If you have an imbalance in gut bacteria, or what’s called dysbiosis (or a variation that’s referred to as candida overgrowth) or if you have bacteria that belong in one place moving into another, as with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)…you’re going to get bloated.
If the lining of your intestines is compromised and hyperpermeable (that’s when the semi-permeable membranes of your intestines are allowing harmful particles to pass through to the bloodstream, sometimes called leaky gut)… boom, you’re bloated.
If things aren’t moving along properly inside your intestines, you’re going to get bloated. It’s like a big traffic jam. This happens when you’re constipated or if you have motility issues like gastroparesis. Even hypothyroidism can slow things down, down there.
All of this to say…there are a host of reasons why bloating happens.
Meanwhile, women are walking around thinking, “I’m fat.” Not only is that a horrific waste of our mental energy… it really may not have anything to do with fat.
3 ways to reduce belly bloat
- Pay attention to your poop
If you aren’t having a complete bowel movement daily, you are backed up. We don’t tend to think about this but it makes a gigantic difference in bloating — not to mention all other areas of your health. Things need to MOVE, ladies.
Not moving your bowels? Try adding more fiber to your diet. Some people swear by a tablespoon of ground flaxseed every day. Even just a serving of oatmeal or another whole grain can do the trick.
You can also try taking magnesium citrate. Start with a small dose, working your way up. (Note: It can cause diarrhea; if that’s happening you’re taking too much.)
And finally, get yourself moving. A nice, brisk walk will do the trick. It can also help to do some twists and forward folds. You’re basically trying to massage those intestines by moving your body and coaxing things along.
- Pay attention to food triggers
If something you’re eating is making you bloated, that doesn’t mean you’re allergic to it or can never eat it again. Don’t freak.
It just means that RIGHT NOW your body isn’t handling it well. And the first step in healing the gut is to remove offenders. It could be gluten, or dairy, or eggs – almost anything. (p.s. Sugar and alcohol are never helpful.)
- Pay attention to stress
It can be difficult to evaluate how stressed we are. We think it’s no big deal because it’s normalized.
If you want to get honest about the ways stress is affecting you, I have a free quiz on my website. See if what you’re feeling is normal…or if it’s really starting to affect your body. (Women tell me they are super surprised by their stress score.)
Simply put, stress changes your body.
It changes how you digest food. It changes the bacteria in your gut. It makes you more susceptible to autoimmune disease like celiac and Hashimoto’s, which in turn affect your gut.
Remember… bloating is just a message that something is off.
And we can fix that.
If you enjoyed the audio version, be sure to subscribe to the She’s Got Power podcast on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. Love what you hear? Please share with your friends and leave a review on iTunes so more women can finally overcome the health issues associated with chronic stress and burnout.
It's time to stop being the victim of your over-scheduled life and become the most powerful version of yourself. Welcome to, she's got power. So raise your hand if you've been feeling bloated.
Oh boy. Right? Yeah. Lethargy has sort of set in and eating habits that were not a big deal for the first couple weeks of coven quarantine. Yeah. We may be turning a corner on that and you know, we're just really not feeling great starting to add up and we already don't feel great, right? Like nobody is happy about any of this. So when your belly feels bloated on top of that and digestion isn't moving properly, I mean, I got to say I am there with you or I was like earlier this week I was so there. I'm feeling much better now. So I thought today I would share about this idea of bloating, what it is, what it's not and what to do about it. Now almost all of my clients through the years have complained of bloating. Like women talk about this all the time. And it's funny because I've noticed that when women say they're bloated, okay, sometimes they mean they're bloated, but they often mean that they want to lose weight, especially around the middle.
And usually it's a teensy weensy bit of both. So what's the difference? Like are you bloated, are you carrying around extra weight? Is it both? And by the way, any of this is fine and completely normal, but they are two different things. So I want to draw the distinction when we're talking about true loading, right? We're talking about when there's too much inside your intestines, they are too full and they're too full of either solids, liquids or gas. And that makes you feel a heaviness. It feels uncomfortable. And in many cases, you know you can see the difference or you can see it in the way that your pants fit. It'll show you the difference, right? In extreme cases, and this used to happen to me sometimes, Oh Lord, it used to happen to me. You might look six months pregnant because your lower belly is so full.
Nobody likes that. We hate this. So what I'm trying to get across here is that bloating is on the inside, inside, inside the intestines. It is pushing everything out. Whereas fat, let's say belly fat on the other hand, that's, that's on the outside. It's the squishy stuff, sort of overhanging the waistband on your, or it might be visceral fat and that's the dangerous kind. That's what we really don't want. That's the fat that collects around your internal organs. If someone is more Apple shaped, that often indicates that there's a lot of visceral fat. If the, uh, the measurement around your waist is, is up there, you know, that's, that can be an indicator that it's visceral fat. So if you always day in and day out, sort of feel the same way, maybe a little uncomfortably thick around the middle. It could be chronic bloating, it could be fat.
But if that heaviness comes and goes on different days, sometimes you feel great. Sometimes not so much, well then that probably has more to do with bloating. Now, in any case, my clients tend to see a reduction in both. That's the good news. You can get rid of both of these problems. The bloating, that usually goes away pretty quickly and then weight loss follows. But today of course we're going to be focused on the bloating aspect cause I have a feeling that after being stuck in the house and not moving as much and certainly eating differently. Yeah, I think this is probably pretty front and center for many women right now. So what causes the bloating? Oh my goodness. It's like what doesn't cause bloating? I'm going to keep this part pretty brief because it starts to get a little nerdy, but it has to do with the health of your gut.
So for example, if you have low stomach acid or too few enzymes in there, your body can't digest food properly, you're going to get bloated. If you have an imbalance in gut bacteria or what's called dysbiosis or a variation of that that's referred to as Candido overgrows, or if you have bacteria that belongs in one place, moving up into another. As with SIBO, which is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, you're going to get bloated if the lining of your intestines are compromised. If you have hyperpermeability, that's when the semi-permeable membranes of your intestines are allowing harmful particles to pass through to the bloodstream. This is sometimes called leaky gut, boom, bloated. If things aren't moving along properly inside your intestines, you're going to get bloated. It's if it's like a big traffic jam in there, like you're constipated, nothing's moving out, or you're having motility issues as with gastro-paresis or even hypothyroidism, which can things down down there.
So all of this is to say it could be as simple as you ate too much all at once, right? It's just too much solid going in there. But there this whole whole other host of reasons why bloating happens. Meanwhile, women are walking around going, I'm fat and they're not fat. There are real reasons why they may be feeling that boldness around the middle and that maybe their pants aren't fitting quite right. So before, assuming that you have any major diagnosis, just waiting to happen, let's address some of the more common ways to reduce bloating and unlike, let's just start there. Okay? The first thing I want you to [inaudible]
pay attention to is get ready for it. Your pooping. Yes, I sat it. Pay attention. If you aren't having a complete bowel movement daily, and you know what I mean by complete, you know when it feels complete, it feels complete. Sometimes it doesn't feel complete. If you're not having a complete bowel movement every day, you're getting backed up and we tend not to think about this too much, but it makes a gigantic difference in how bloated you get. Not to mention all the other areas of your health. You really need to be, you know, moving those bowels every day. Yes, I know, I know. It's not very lady like to talk about this. We have a whole episode on digestion. If you go back, I forget which episode number that is, we did an episode all about digestion and stress. Look for it. I mean, if this is an issue for you, I want you to put extra attention here and if things are not moving daily, some things you can try, you can try adding more fiber to your diet.
Some people swear by a tablespoon of ground flaxseed every day. You just sprinkle it on top of a salad, you blend it into a smoothie, whatever you gotta do, you get that flaxseed in. Or even just like a serving of oatmeal rolled oats, steel cut oats or any whole grain, really good sources of fiber. So get your fiber, see if that helps. Another thing that's extraordinarily helpful is taking magnesium. Now I suggest this to a lot of my clients and I have certainly done it myself. Look for magnesium citrate and start with a small dose. You want to work your way up because it can cause diarrhea. So if that's happening, you're taking too much and you want to back off. And finally a fabulous way to get your bowels moving. And I mean my goodness, we all need to do this anyway is get yourself moving.
Like just walking, just the back and forth motion of your legs, right, left, right, left, right, left. That'll do the trick and nice brisk walk. Very, very helpful. And we are allowed one of those every day right now. So I mean, why not take advantage? Also, if you are bloated and you're gassy can help to do some twists or forward folds. Also child's pose, like in yoga, put your knees together, lean over those knees on the ground, put some pressure against your belly. That's very helpful. I mean, what we're basically trying to do is massage, massage those intestines by moving your body in different ways. It helps to coax things along. Now of course, the next thing to look at is what you're eating. Now listen, if something you're eating is making you bloated, that doesn't mean that it's a terrible food. It doesn't mean you're allergic to it or that you can never eat it again.
So don't freak. It just means that right now, for whatever reason right now, your body isn't handling it well, and if you had a lay off the food that's causing the bloating, well, that's the first step. That is the first step that we take in healing the gut. We remove offenders for a while, and it could be gluten, it could be dairy, it could be eggs. I mean it could be almost anything. So when you get bloated, you want to think about, what did I eat at my last meal? Okay. Also, sugar, alcohol. These things are never helpful though. Again, don't freak. It's not like you can never eat sugar again, but like, all right, if I have a big night planned, let's pretend that we're not under quarantine. Let's pretend I have a big night plan and I'm going to be wearing a sort of form fitting dress.
I know that there are things I shouldn't eat beforehand. Maybe like a day ahead of time. It's not that I shouldn't eat you guys I eat, I'm just saying I don't eat foods that are likely to cause bloating if I'm going to be in that dress. Right. That's really nice when you can be in control of these things, like if you're going to be home sitting on the couch and sweat pants and you really don't care if you get bloated, fine, eat whatever you want, but you know what I mean? When you can be in control of the outcome, it's sweet. One more thing that I want you to consider, like really, really consider how much stress are you under? Ah, it always comes back to this stress, right? It's hard to sometimes evaluate or even say how much stress you're under because we become so accustomed to it.
We just think it's normal. It's like asking a fish if it's wet. They're like, no, no, everything's fine. It's kind of like that with stress, so I actually have a quiz on my website. If you want to get honest about the ways stress could be affecting you, you take this quiz, you're going to get a stress score and see if what you're feeling and what's if what's happening in your body is normal, or if things are starting to Teeter over into the not normal range, and women tell me all the time that they are really surprised by their stress score, so definitely check that out because this could be making a major difference and not just like the bloating that you're experiencing, but lots of different aspects of your health. She could check out that free quiz at, she's got power.com/free
okay. Again, that's my website. shesgotpower.com/free and stress is mighty important
to this conversation about bloating because stress changes your gut. Yeah, like even one or two hours of intense stress can make a difference, a measurable difference in what's going on inside of your gut, and certainly if you're under chronic stress, day in and day out, it changes how you digest your food. It changes the bacteria in your gut, it makes you more susceptible to autoimmune disease that affect the gut. Things like celiac, Hashimoto's. So in short, stress is definitely a major player in bloating. And that's just the facts. So if I were you, what I would do is work on those daily bowel movements like it's your job and figure out which foods are your triggers. And if you're still bloated, then maybe if something else going on that requires a deeper dive, I help clients with this all the time. Or maybe you weren't bloated all along. Maybe this is actually fat loss that you're after, and I can help with that too. But in any case, I want you to be really good to you. Be really kind to your belly, love your belly, get curious about your body all without judgment,
because all these things, you know, bloating in particular, it's just a message. It's just a message that something is off and we can fix that.
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