Feeling bloated is near the top of the list of ways to make us feel our most unattractive. Even if our hair looks awesome and we finally perfected our makeup with a killer smokey eye, or even if we scored that insanely hot party dress on sale (that we were astounded to have found in our size!), none of that seems to matter if we feel FAT and huge around our bellies. Bloat: The horrible feeling of ever tightening pants, the panic that any second the seams around the mid section of our dress might burst, feeling we weigh 90 pounds more than we do… Bloat is the last thing we want to be dealing with during the stress of the holidays.
The reason for our physical distention, and why our mental and emotional attention gets so focused on our belly is because there is just so much going on in there! Bloating is an outward symptom of our food not being properly digested. The gastric and digestive juices are being kicked into overdrive, indicating that something is not digesting optimally- to put it lightly.
Which brings us to our 2 easiest ways to keep bloat down and prevent bloating in the first place. I think you’ll be psyched to see how simple they are, and that yes you can do this!! You can indeed prevent a good deal of bloat from occurring.
The first is to consume as little liquids and drinks as possible while eating. It might seem intuitive to “fill up” with water while eating, so you don’t overeat. I used to think the same thing. But the truth is that consuming a large amount of liquids while eating will dilute the hydrochloric acid and other gastric juices in our stomach. When this happens our digestion gets impeded, we waste a ton of energy, and yes, we bloat out!
I generally recommend to my clients that they drink water and other liquids in significant quantities 30 minutes before meals so you go into your meal already hydrated. If you are having a glass of wine at dinner, try to drink a good portion of it before the food comes- without downing it of course! Cleverly try to spread out the time between ordering the wine and your food. Sure it is okay to sip water as you need to at the meal. Just keep in mind our little rule, which is that More Liquid= More Bloat at meals. Sip not chug!
The second easy tip has to do with fruit. Fruits, precious foods filled with vitamins and minerals, turn into deadly bloating foods when eaten with or after cooked food. Why? Consider this: Fruits are mostly water, and actually break down and leave the stomach in 20-30 minutes. Other heavier foods take a few hours to break down in the stomach, depending on what the food is. If the fruit is eaten over and on top of the heavier foods, it will break down and then have nowhere to go. Kind of like a traffic jam. And so what does the fruit do? Well with nowhere to go, the fruit starts fermenting, acidifying and releasing gases along the way. And what does that mean for us? You guessed it- bloat!
The first time I said this publicly was on Good Morning America. Millions of people watched the show, and dozens of people wrote to me afterwards, fascinated to know more about how to properly eat fruit. The general rule is this: Eat fruit in the morning as the first thing at breakfast or as the whole breakfast, or about half an hour before cooked food. That way, the fruit can pass through first and not cause the dreaded bloating traffic jam in our bellies!
Give these two easy tips a try- they can be used as potent weapons for you in your battle to stay flat-bellied, this holiday season and forever! You are going to feel and look fabulous in your little dresses, and be able to focus your mind on having fun… and off a bloated belly.
– KIMBERLY SNYDER
Kimberly Snyder is a celebrity nutritionist and a noted health and beauty expert. See more from Kim at kimberlysnyder.net.