Get rid of bloating
Either your jeans shrank or your belly grew, and chances are it’s the latter. You’re exercising and eating right, so what’s up with the bloating? Sometimes the culprit is obvious (hello, Aunt Flo and last night’s burrito!), but other times your healthy habits are the cause.
It’s important to drink plenty of fluids when it’s hot out to prevent dehydration, especially when you exercise. Also, steadily sipping water encourages healthy digestion by keeping food moving through your system. But chugging too much water before your workout makes your belly swell.
To avoid that sloshy, overfull feeling, drink about 16 to 24 ounces of water one to two hours before exercise. That should allow plenty of time for your body to absorb the needed fluid and eliminate the rest. Then top off your tank with another eight ounces about 15 minutes before you head out, and sip regularly during your workout to make sure you’re fully hydrated.
Start with a half pack during a workout and wash it down with a few swigs of water to dilute the carbs and help your body absorb them. If you still have problems, try eating a banana or some orange slices instead; they’re both fairly low in fructose, so they’re easier to digest.
Make your belly fibre-friendly by building up a tolerance gradually, adding five grams or fewer from fruits and veggies every week until you reach the recommended daily 25 to 35 grams. Some people have a really hard time with beans, while others have more of a problem with broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Start by upping your fruit and vegetable intake at just one meal so you can keep track of what causes the most problems. Over time your gut bacteria population will reach a new ‘normal’ baseline, and your body will adjust to the volume of gas they produce without experiencing discomfort. Scan labels for insulin, which is also called chicory root extract or chicory root fibre. If it’s the first ingredient listed, the food contains quite a bit of it. Avoid it.
Many supplements contain additives and fillers. Common ones include lactose or wheat — a problem for those who are lactose- or gluten-intolerant — and sugar alcohols like mannitol or xylitol, which are notorious bloat culprits because they tend to be slower to digest than other carbs, giving intestinal bacteria plenty of time to feast on them and produce gas.
Look for a multi with a short ingredients list that contains few difficult-to-pronounce words (they’re often indicative of additives and fillers) and avoid any that list sugar alcohols, lactose, or gluten, which may also be called wheat germ, food glaze, food starch, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein — if they’re listed at all. A safer bet: Get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals by eating a variety of whole foods.