Beat the bloat

Sick of feeling sluggish and sore around the midsection thanks to festive feasting? We’ve rounded up the best ways to get you feeling flatter, sooner.

Hello, food baby!

Went a little overboard on thirds at Christmas lunch? It’s ok, no judgment here, when else can you go to town on mince tarts, glazed ham and triple fried potatoes? But then it hits, the food baby belly, the uncomfortable sensation of being unable to stand up properly and your skin feels like it might explode. If what you’re feeling is based on poor digestion, here are our best tips:

  • Heat is your friend. Pop a wheat bag on your belly to soothe the discomfort. Or, even better, have a soak in the tub! It’s the holidays, you’ve earned it.

  • Do some simple stretches - yoga basics like Cat-Cow, supine twists and forward folds will help you to compress and release your digestive organs to promote more efficient digestion.

  • If it’s a few hours after your meal and you still feel heavy and uncomfortable, try adding up to 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (depending on your personal preference) to a glass of water and drink it.

Tip #1

If you don’t normally eat red meat and suddenly consumed half a leg of lamb, then make sure to have a glass of Coke Cola with your meal. It helps to break down the meat thanks to the acidity, meaning less stress on your digestion.

I should not have eaten that…  

Oh no, Aunty Kathy forgot you’re intolerant to dairy/gluten when she made the potato bake and suddenly you’re dying in the guest bathroom and trying not to toot, toot during the family game of Monopoly. Or maybe you just really overdid it on the Christmas lolly mix. Either way, a gassy tummy is the worst in polite company! To help relieve gas we recommend three yoga poses, but sneak off somewhere private for this! 

  1. Wind relieving pose! Lie on your back and draw your knees up to your chest, hugging them to your belly and move them around, rocking them and massaging them over your bloated belly. Do this for a minute (about six deep breaths), then place your legs back down. You may have to do this several times to help relieve gas. If you don’t feel comfortable with legs up, you can also do one at a time.

  2. From here, press your back into the floor for Happy Baby pose! Send your legs wide and up towards your head, with your knees towards your armpits, and your feet over the knees with the soles facing the ceiling. Hold the outside of your feet and remember to relax your shoulder blades. Take deep belly breaths, staying here as long as it remains comfortable.

  3. Wide legged child’s pose. Relax your sore, gassy belly with child’s pose by resting back into your heels and folding forward. You can either send your arms straight out front, or run them by your sides. Remain here as long as you are comfortable. Use props like a bolster or cushion to make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Tip #2

Gotten a bit blocked up thanks to poor food choices and stress? Stick to a fluid only diet until things *ahem* pass. Try lots of room temperature or warm water, tea like peppermint, green and chamomile, broth soup and homemade juice (skip sugary store bought!). Make sure not to push and strain, and put your feet up on a stool while you’re on the toilet so your knees are higher than your hips to get gravity on your side. Then introduce magnesium and fibre rich food as things return to normal!

Violet Beauregarde got nothing on me…

If you’re feeling bloated from fluid retention thanks to salty or sugary food, too much alcohol or even the joy of PMS then try these surefire assistants.

  • Have a warm bath with a cup of Dead  Sea or Himalayan Rock salt. The salt will help with fluid retention (is that class in high school about osmosis coming back to you now?), but don’t this too often, and don’t stay in longer than 20 mins. This is best saved for special occasions when you have to put on that killer outfit!

  • Cut down your sodium rich foods. Add herbs and vinegar for flavouring food, and skip the processed foods, especially over this period of extra eating. While quick prepackaged meals when you get home from Christmas drinks seems like a great idea, following up the peanuts, pretzels and chips with more salt will have you feeling rotten! Try keeping healthy options in the fridge that you can grab when you’re tired and need a meal that won’t make you feel guilty, like pre-made salad and cold cuts like turkey or chicken, boiled eggs, tinned salmon, and vegetables.

  • It seems counterintuitive, but increase your water intake to encourage fluid retention to move along.

  • Exercise everyday! Sweating assists the body to get rid of excess water, plus it makes you feel good too! Book in for a class like @theBarre Cardio for the ultimate sweat sesh!

Tip #3

If you’re in cramping, bent over double pain, you can try homeopathic remedies like colocynth, or carbo vegetabilis for trapped wind. See a qualified homeopath to discuss your needs. 

And of course, if bloating and abdominal discomfort persist, please seek medical advice. These can indicate an underlying health problem.