Whether it’s the holidays or summer vacation, indulging on certain foods and drinks is a part of the festivities. One thing to always remember when living a healthy lifestyle, is to never get down on yourself after a day or weekend of eating “not-so healthy” foods. A healthy lifestyle is really all about balance, awareness and enjoyment. But, there is a misconception when it comes to balance that I see all too often. For example, a delicious krispy kreme donut and caramel latte is a lot “heavier” on the scale than a salad & water. This is of course in terms of a calories and nutrient density scale.
The point I am trying to make is that 1 bad meal is not equal to 1 good meal. So if this your philosophy when it comes to balance, then you need to adjust.
Now, let’s get into the 3 strategies that you can do to get rid of bloating after a day or weekend of indulgence.
Strategy #1 Hydrate
I know that when I decide to indulge, I’ll usually have foods like pizza, donuts (maple bacon is to die for), burger & fries or probably a tres leche cake. The major component that all of these foods have in common is their carbohydrate heavy content. When you overload on carbohydrates, your muscles and other tissues tend to soak up a bunch of water. This will surely give you that bloat appearance. The easiest way to combat this, is to consume adequate amounts of water. This will help your body flush away the excess water, as well as toxins that build up in your body.
Strategy #2 Go Low-Carb or No-Carb
What I find to be most effective is completely removing carbohydrates, good or bad for at least 3 days. This will give your body a chance to burn through the excess glycogen that you managed to store. If you can’t fathom the thought of removing all carbohydrates for the next couple of days, then try your best to drastically reduce the amount compared to your normal diet.
Strategy #3 Exercise & Lift Something Heavy
This one may come as a “no-brainer”, but is often over-looked. People tend to gravitate more towards the cardio machines, which is also an effective strategy. But, if you want to maximize glycogen depletion which will reduce that bloat look, then heavy compound movements are your best bet. Combine resistance training with cardio, and you have a 1-2 punch for reducing excess sodium and water retention through sweating.
Additional things to think about
Identify known/Unknown culprits
So what do I mean by culprits? Here’s a scenario: The weekend is over and you get back to eating “healthy”. Your typical healthy meal includes some salmon, avocado and broccoli. You have this meal frequently for the next couple of days (you meal prepped of course). But you notice that you are still feeling and looking bloated. Well for a good amount people, broccoli is actually the culprit. Broccoli falls under the FODMAP (fermentable-oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols) list of foods, which are notorious for causing digestive issues such as bloating, gas and stomach pains.
Other “healthy” vegetables that are key trigger foods include onions, garlic, legumes, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes.
Check out one of my blog post for more details on FODMAPs. Leave a comment below or reach out for more details on FODMAPs, and to find out what a Low FODMAP diet is.