Yep! It happens to all of us. If your reading this, chances are that you too have experienced bloating. Some more than others, but why? Do you experience bloating once a month, once a week, perhaps daily and you just cant figure out why… Let me give you a few good explanations for why this may be happening and howto fix it.

Now, trust me when I say I have had my fair share of bloating. Through competing and cutting out certain food groups during my preps, I have developed my own intolerances to certain foods. This was a result of cutting them out of my diet for so long. This is something I have learnt the hard way and has caused me many issues for me.. like not being able to have ice-cream.

I have been to the point where I considered taking myself to the hospital from the pain, discomfort and swelling of my stomach. I have suffered from a parasite for 2 years, in and out of testing with no real cure or relief. After this time, I developed IBS and my gut has never been the same.

The photos may not seem too extreme in the bloating department, but let me assure you this was on a good day of bloating.

First photo: Getting off an international flight versus the following morning after a good sleep.

This photo was due to flying. It’s not uncommon to experience some bloating after a flight. Sitting down for an extended period of time restricts our blood flow and therefore causes swelling in all parts of our body. Simply the pressure from the Cabin causes gases in your body to expand! Solution? Keep your fluids high, reduce your carb intake and move as much as possible pre and post flight or fast for the duration of the flight if you get really uncomfortable.

Bloating can affect our body in many ways. Not only is it uncomfortable, painful and frustrating to look at, our moods and emotions can experience major shifts also. It is true that our gut and brain are connected and send signals to each other when things are not going right. When we have issues within our gut, the central nervous system is effected also. I personally have experienced heightened anxiety, frustration and irritableness when my gut is bloated showing a direct link between the two.

Take note of how you feel mentally when you do bloat. More often than not, your world isn’t falling apart, your body just isn’t in its ideal state and your brain is coping it as a result.

This is why it is important to never get disheartened when your feeling bloated or looking a little fluffy. Especially on a fitness journey, our reflection can really affect our motivation levels. If you have been giving your new fitness program everything you have got, but then wake up with what looks like a 3kg bloat, it can be enough to de rail you from your motivation and loose all hope of your goals.

Our body is fluctuating daily! You need to learn give your body the chance for at least 24-48 hours to go back to normal before assuming you have put on actual weight.

This photo was one of the worst cases I have had. I was post breast surgery and had been on some serious pain killers and Antibiotics. My body doesn’t cope at all! Being on them effects the amount of good bacteria in our intestines leading to poor digestion, bloat and discomfort. -Solution? Take a pro biotic and a digestive aid while your on these.

So you haven’t been flying, you haven’t had surgery recently, what are some other reasons that could be causing you to bloat?

Why you may be BLOATING

Menstrual Cycle This one can be hard to avoid and sometimes, we just have to accept we are going to bloat a little around this time. I have found exercising in fact HELPS with bloating and pain, along with keeping your fluids slightly higher than usual.
Food Allergy or Intolerance More often than not, a lot of people may not even be aware they are intolerant to certain foods. Start writing a food diary. Every thing you put in your mouth, along with how you feel 3 hours after consumption. You will soon be able to find the culprit to then eliminate that from your diet.
Injury or illness Whenever we are injured or sick, our bodies can flare and swell up as a reactive mechanism. The body is under stress trying to heal and fight off infection, so keep your fluids up slightly higher than usual. Try to move as much as possible, and make sure your getting more rest and sleep to avoid stressing the body even further.
High Sodium Diet Foods high in salt cause the body to retain water while your body tries to maintain the proper sodium level balance. Once again, drinking more water will help to dilute the sodium. Aim to get a sweaty gym session in and reduce salty foods for the next few days.
Alcohol Dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes can cause the body to bloat. Aim to stick to vodka soda when drinking followed by some BCAAS or electrolytes before bed and first thing in morning post night of drinking.
Stress and lack of sleep When the body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. An increase in cortisol levels can mean poor digestion, fluid retention and increased cravings for carbohydrates and sugar! Make sleep a priority, always!
Poor Digestion The breaking down of food plays a vital role in what nutrients our body receives and how the are processed. Without an efficient digestive process, the body can build up gas in the stomach, hold onto food and as a result not pass through as it should causing the bloat.

These are just a handful of reasons you may be getting bloated!

So it’s important to remember when you are feeling bloated, it’s a lot of the time just temporary. Keep going about your day and training as normal and don’t let it get you down!

Just like training and nutrition, a lot of these issues are going to take some trial and error to figure it out. So try your best to be kind to your body, it’s reacting to an issue so be kind. Be patient and wait for it to subside.