Let’s talk about bloating, and a few of the reasons that it may be happening to you.
What I’m talking about specifically is bloat in the abdominal region. It can be quite concerning to someone who’s in a fat loss phase, or has a competition goal, or anybody in general who just notices when they eat, or at the end of the day they have, typically, a lot bloating going on. I wanted to go over the most common things for why that may be happening to you.
1. Irretable Bowel Syndrome
The first thing I want to address is a clinical condition called IBS, which many of you are going to be familiar with. For those of you who are not, IBS is just known as, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. What Irritable Bowel Syndrome does is basically, for a short period of time the intestines will become very inflamed. That’s going to cause some physical changes, which can manifest in bloating pain, discomfort, diarrhea. Everyone that I’ve talked to, there is actually no way to know what causes it, it’s diagnosed just because of the frequency of the irritability.
There are some medications and remedies for it. I’m not a doctor, I’m not going to dispense that advice. What I would suggest is that if you notice that you get bloated on a regular basis, and there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason, and we’ll talk about how to diagnose a rhyme or reason, then go see a doctor. If you get diagnosed with IBS, there are some options.
I just wanted to get that one out of the way. If it’s a medical thing, like IBS, then you’re probably going to have to deal with that for the rest of your life. Most of my clients that I talk with are dealing with it in some form of medication.
2. You Might Have A Food Intolerance
The second one I want to discuss is called “food intolerances”. A lot of people have food intolerances. A lot of people that never had them when they were at certain points in their life, will get them at different points at their life. The most common is lactose intolerance, but you have to find out for yourself if you have a threshold or that you can’t take in any amount at all. What you can do, if you feel that you have bloating going on at certain times of the day, track your diet and take a look at what could be the common reasons that you’re getting a reaction.
Some people, if you’re intolerant to certain foods, will get a reaction immediately. Other people, it might take hours to manifest itself, because food digests slowly over a 24 hour period. It’s in contact with the intestines for a long time. Depending on what’s going on outside of those meals in your day. Just because you eat something at one point, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically what your intolerance is to. That may be actually forcing something else you ate to move further down the intestine, and creating a reaction that way.
3. If You’re A Female…
For many of my female followers you’ll be familiar with PMS, premenstrual symptoms do cause bloating, do cause fluid retention, does cause a shift in body composition temporarily. There are things we can do to combat that if you’re competing, there are things that can be done around that, but this is just a normal part of the female experience. All my men out there, hallelujah, we don’t get this, but it’s just a part of life. Some of my clients even joke around about it. During a weekly update stating that she got her four pounds of PMS.
We just know that at certain time of month the scale is going to jump up four pounds for a few days and then return to normal.
4. Overdosing Your Veggies
There’s another reason why you might experience bloating, it’s very common among people that are dieting or in a fat loss phase, and that is simply taking in too many vegetables. Sounds crazy, right? Like “Eat healthy, vegetables are good for you.”
To a certain point I’d very much agree. When your calories get low you like a higher volume of food, and a higher volume of food is much different when you’re adding vegetables, because you feel satiated, you feel full. You mentally know that you get lots of micro-nutrients. Veggies are very good for you from that perspective. However, if you eat too many vegetables. If you’re eating vegetables on top of vegetables, and everyone will have a different threshold, you might find that you actually get some bloating from that.
The way I like to diagnose this is, a lot of people will tell me, if they have bloating at the end of the day, but it’s gone by morning. That’s one of the signs that I look for along with asking to look at the food log. If you are taking in vegetables, throughout the day, and some vegetables are harder to digest than others. Things like broccoli, are very difficult to digest. What actually happens is, as you’re eating this food, and it’s in your intestinal track, if it’s in there for a long period of time, it actually begins to ferment. This fermentation actually cause some expansion. It can cause some pain and it will definitely cause some bloating in the abdominal region.
You don’t eat for eight hours, you sleep, you wake up, the bloating is gone, because the foods had more time to digest. Look over that as a possible reason why you might be seeing some bloating. I know vegetables are fantastic, but if bloating, it bothers you during prep, then perhaps that could be the reason. I will say this, I don’t have a problem with bloating on a daily basis, until it comes time to compete. If that helps you stay on your plan.
Another thing to consider is that if you do have a food intolerance, and it doesn’t seem to impact your early on in contest prep, or early on in a fat loss phase, it may be because your metabolism is fast enough that you’re processing food at such a rate, that it doesn’t stay in contact with the intestines long enough to cause the issue. For myself, I notice that as fat loss phases last longer, food intolerances become worse, and that is because of the issue I just mentioned. My last fat loss phase, I noticed that every night before bed my last meal would be a pile of vegetables with whole eggs, and I would wake up, weighing more than I went to bed at, and I would be extremely bloated.
Review Your Food Items
The most important thing I would suggest doing is reviewing your food items, and if you notice bloating, try removing a single item. Don’t remove multiple items at once, because you won’t really know what it is, unless you want to remove the items all together and add them in one at a time. That’s one way to do an elimination and add back in diet. Also, if you do have an intolerance to some foods, it can often be a threshold. For example, a certain amount per day. But if you can tolerate 1 scoop of whey a day but get side effects at 2, I would try isolate at first and then just leave it out completely to prevent any slowing down in digestion.
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