Battle Bloating This Holiday Season!
Everyone puts on a few pounds over the holidays. This is not just because we are attending more parties, but it’s evolutionary. When it gets cold, our bodies know that they need to store some fat and calories to protect us and keep us warm. It’s also why so many people begin to couple off at this time. Your body knows that your chances of survival are greater if you have someone to snuggle up to. So, keep your confidence up and take advantage of any lingering looks you’d like to pursue. Also, the lord has blessed us with indoor heating and snuggies so don’t feel obligated to couple off if you don’t want to (Most of these couples will split around Valentine’s Day when Spring is around the corner)!
Now that we’ve come to terms with the fact that holiday weight gain is pretty much unavoidable, let’s talk about keeping a happy tummy. I don’t know about you, but I think feeling bloated is one of the worst things in the world. My stomach blows up and suddenly nothing feels comfortable, I don’t feel confident, and my clothes stop fitting properly… Especially my bra! And a too-tight bra makes me feel like I can't breathe! Ugh. Let’s go over some tips for fighting belly bloat this season!
1. Water! The holidays are full of delicious, creamy, fizzy, alcoholic drinks and it’s easy to skimp out on our water because we’re drinking so many other beverages, but water is essential for a flat tummy. It flushes your entire body of toxins. Drink a liter in the morning and a liter at night. If your body is hydrated, it won’t retain additional water. It also helps with digesting all of those rich holiday foods. If you want to kick up the flushing of toxins, squeeze a lemon into your morning water. Don’t do this at night because you’ll have to pee and you need your rest!
2. Go for a walk after a big meal. It seems like a great time to sip an alcoholic digestif or take a nap, but research shows that just a brief, slow, 15 minute walk after a meal aids in digestion and helps control blood sugar spikes, whereas alcohol and sleep do nothing to help! It’s also a great time to spend chatting with a loved one or potential beau, away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday scene.
3. Cut the dairy! About 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Most of us just push through the symptoms of not being able to digest dairy, but with all of the substitutions available to us now, there’s really no reason to be so hard on your body. Miyoko's butter for example is the best-tasting butter on the planet and it contains no dairy. There are also loads of dairy-free cheeses from companies like Kite Hill, Miyoko's Cheese, Reine Royal, and many more... And they’re incredible! You could even build a cheese board with dairy-free cheeses and then you’ll have a great conversation starter at the party! Just stay away from Daiya cheese. It doesn’t taste good and they test on animals.
4. Fizzy alcohol is not your friend! Beer and champagne contain gas and swallowing that gas is just asking to have your belly blowup. On top of that, beer is made with barley and wheat which can irritate your stomach even without the gas. Putting these two together is just asking to be bloated and gassy. People may remember you at the party, but not for the right reasons!
5. Watch your bread intake. We know that scientifically, gluten itself does not cause a negative impact on your stomach unless you have celiac, but you can tell that when eating cheap, store-bought breads and pasta, your digestion is not as good and you may experience cramps and bloating. I theorize that this isn’t from the gluten, but all of the other chemicals that we now find in mass-produced gluten products. Man has been eating bread for thousands of years! However, “bread” used to be made with flour, yeast, and water. Now, well, look at this ingredients list:
Try baking your own bread this holiday season! When you are in control of the ingredients, I think you’ll find that your body will be happier. Plus, nothing smells better than home-baked bread. When you’re at a holiday party, it’s best to forego any bread or pasta if you aren’t sure that it is made from scratch or the highest quality ingredients. Please don’t give up on bread altogether though. It’s such a delicious addiction to human life. I eat bread every day.
6. Eat and drink slowly. When you are rushing through a meal or beverage, you tend to gulp air in between, and that actually goes into your stomach and causes you to bloat. Instead, set your fork or glass all the way down in between a bite or sip, and take a full breath. This will help you enjoy your meal more as well! There's no need to rush through life.
7. Enjoy yourself! Stress can can back pain and bloating. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Try to spend five minutes a day in silence, focusing on what you are grateful for in your life. Start with obvious things; I am thankful for having air to breathe, for a warm place to sleep, a roof over my head, gas in my car… Once you begin, they will come easily and it will put everything else into perspective. You don’t need a lot of money, or big gifts, or even the perfect family. You have yourself and you are incredible. You are strong. You can do anything.
My mother always says, “Don’t you think the people on the titanic wished they had ordered dessert?” While, they were probably thinking of other things at the time of their demise, I understand what she's saying. Life is too short to skip dessert and nothing is guaranteed so eat the pie, have the extra helping of mashed potatoes, spend less time worrying about the calorie count and more time worrying about who’s going to make grandma’s dressing when she’s gone. I hope that this helps you feel better this holiday season, but I don’t want you to worry yourself over the details. If you drink some beer, that’s totally fine. I just want you to feel your best. Ditch the scale and enjoy time with the people you love, making memories this year. You deserve nothing less!