Do you sometimes find yourself feeling quite bloated after eating? You've probably suspected it might be that 'evil' gluten or perhaps another potential food culprit.
The truth is, our digestive system is complex! There is so much going on and food may seem an easy scapegoat.
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However, restricting unnecessarily can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and cause unnecessary stress about eating - which, by the way, can also leave you feeling bloated.
There are hundreds of reasons why we might have a bloated tummy, many of which have nothing to do with food.
So before you pass on the bagel, have a read of the list below and see if there might be something more likely that's making it feel like you've just eaten a small child?
1. You've eaten too quickly or in a distracted state.
Are you someone who often has a smart phone in one hand and a fork in the other? Do you work while you chew? Maybe you rush out the door with a muffin and your keys.
In this case, it would seem likely to blame the muffin. However, it could be the rushed state that is causing your tummy grief.
2. You're dehydrated.
Getting plenty of hydrating beverages is often a wish rather than a reality.
Unfortunately though, when our body becomes dehydrated, our intestines lose their lubrication and stagnation can occur. This can leave us feeling bloated no matter what we eat!
Not only that, but thirst can be mistaken for hunger which, if you're not hungry, can of course lead to over-eating.
3. You've overeaten.
Sometimes bloating can be as simple as that - and it's one of the most common reasons!
I'm sure we can all recall a time where we've had to undo that top button following a huge meal.
Sometimes, not always, if you're eating in a state of stress or anxiety - which many of us are - this can be a powerful driver for bloating.
Anxiety can shut down the part of the brain that handles digesting food, while stress itself can put a great deal of pressure on your stomach and abdomen.
This can cause us to feel bloated when eating foods that we may have normally been able to digest prior.
That's why I'm so adamant about removing the fear around eating. We're so quick to blame the bun for the bloat, when it may really be the anxiety around the bread that is causing a self-fulfilling prophecy.
5. Lack of movement.
The more we move our body, the happier or digestive system is! It moves more 'quickly'.
Unfortunately, we're becoming less and less active.
Lots of people (myself included) have desk jobs and do a whole lot of sitting. This can make our digestive system function at a snail's pace (just like the rest of us is) and can lead to bloating, especially when combined with all of the above.
A lot of these reasons have to do with our fast-paced culture. We're rushing out the door, not eating our meals properly, or drinking enough water. We're skipping meals, and over eating because of it or because we've finished a huge meal without even realising we've had enough. Add stress to that, and you've got the perfect conditions for bloat.
So rather than restricting your favourite foods, why not try slowing down and engaging in mindful eating practices first? This could be as simple as removing distractions while eating, taking deep breaths before starting, sitting to eat, and practicing gratitude for your meal.
It's about chewing your food properly, enjoying it, and listening to fullness cues.
Life is too short to shorten our food list - and while there are some who have some genuine food intolerances or allergies, for the rest of us, maybe we can just practice taking it a bit easier on ourselves.
In other words: don't blame the bagel for what the stress did.
Michelle Yandle is a nutrition coach, international speaker and author of A Diet for 7 Generations and The Empowered Eating Handbook. She is also the National Brand Ambassador for Bin Inn New Zealand and sees clients both online and in person through her practice in Taranaki.