Posted 2 months ago

Is bloating stopping your progress?

If you are experiencing bloating every time you eat and/or multiple times across the day, the first thing to ask yourself is this: what are you doing about it?

Probably nothing, right?

Too often this is something that I see people simply put up with or think that it is ‘normal’ when in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bloating is a sign of poor digestion/inflammation and can directly affect your body’s ability to uptake nutrients and fuel your performance to build your physique. That is, if you are constantly bloated, your performance in the gym will suffer, you will not be as strong, and you will not be able to recover and add muscle efficiently.

Bloating itself can be caused by a number of issues that are beyond the scope of this article; however, I’m going to give you some small tips that will instantly improve your digestion as you can implement them today.

Firstly, look at how you’re eating. When was the last time you ate some food without being on your phone or watching TV? Eating with distractions impacts on your brain’s ability to even process the fact you’re eating! It has been repeatedly shown that the environment, the sights, the sounds and smells around food all contribute to digestive enzyme production that help your body break down food. Therefore, by removing distractions from your meals, you’ll be able to help your body and brain acknowledge that food is going in, and as such, improve your digestion.

Secondly, look at the environment in which you’re eating. Many of us do not separate the environments in which we eat, work and rest. If you’re sitting down to eat at the same desk in which you sit when dealing with work-related stress, how do you expect your body to be in its “rest and digest” optimal state?

Thirdly, look at how quickly you eat and how long it takes you to eat a meal. You might be shoveling your food in and it’s gone within a couple of minutes, perhaps only taking 3-4 chews per mouthful; and before you know it, your stomach is distended. Does this sound familiar?

If so, I want you to slow down. In the same way that I tell clients to eat without distractions, I also encourage them to take 15-20 chews per mouthful and put their cutlery down in between those mouthfuls. Taking your time will give your stomach more time to accept the food; and by breaking the food down thoroughly with your teeth, you’ll allow the stomach’s digestive enzymes more surface area to work on, leading to improved digestion.

My final tip is to look with detail into the foods that may be causing your bloating. Believe it or not, this is the most frequently ignored step, even though it would appear to be the most obvious. There are a few food groups that are recognized to cause some people discomfort and bloating such as gluten (particularly an overconsumption of it), excessive protein, or even a specific type of green veg.

To address this issue, the simplest thing to do is run an elimination diet: if a meal causes any bloating, take a note of the foods included in it, and do this for a week. With this amount of data, you’ll probably notice trends that will highlight what the culprits are for you. From there, you can trial and error to see how your body responds to the re-introduction of possible bloat-trigger foods, and adapt your diet accordingly.

In summary, in order to address your frequent bloating, you need to look at (1) how you’re eating, (2) the environment in which you’re eating, (3) the speed at which you’re eating, and (4) the foods you’re eating.

This is something I do on a day to day basis with clients and we always get to the bottom of what’s causing their digestive issues. If this is something you are struggling with simply jump on a coaching call with me today.

Vaughan Wilson Bsc Hons