How to banish bloating & regain freedom with food
For almost as long as I can remember I had struggled massively with bloating & digestive issues, it got to the point where eating had really become a chore and I had to plan my life around food. I couldn’t eat before or during an important event as I knew I would be really uncomfortable afterwards and unable to concentrate.
Of course like most imprisoning behaviours and conditions I didn’t realise how bad it was until I was free of it.
I could hardly eat anything without suffering and greasy food was an absolute no no, even a slice of pizza. I was almost scared to eat and weighing in at 70kg for the second time in my life. Which is not hugely overweight but amounts to a BMI of 27 over the healthy weight range.
I self diagnosed myself with all sorts of conditions from IBS to lactose intolerance.
I had tried various diets over the years and one that stuck in my mind as the root cause of all my problems was the Hay Diet, or a version of it which was adopted by Slimming World. Where you don’t mix protein and carbohydrate foods.
This diet made a lot of sense and really seemed to help with my digestive issues. The problem with it is it’s really hard to stick to. It sounds simple but there are so many things that you can’t eat like spaghetti bolognese, roast beef with roast potatoes, curry and rice, ordering food in a restaurant becomes a nightmare.
So, every time that I deviated from the diet and found myself uncomfortable, bloated and in pain I would blame myself for not sticking to the diet plan.
This went on for years until one time it started right in the middle of a meal, I hadn’t even finished eating and I was already experiencing the after effects.
I did notice just how quickly I had eaten and how big my forkfulls had been. I made a mental note of this and for the next few days I made a strong point of taking smaller bites and chewing my food at least 20 times before swallowing.
This seemed to work but I was not yet convinced. It could have just been the types of food I was eating, so I made a point of trying some ‘mixed’ foods including my favourite roast beef and roast potatoes.
No effect when I used 20 chews, so I tried baked potato and pulled pork – no effect when I used 20 chews – this was getting interesting now.
I kept trying different foods which had always given me a reaction in the past. I mixed foods and I encountered no reaction at all.
The feeling of freedom was immense and brought with it a weight loss of 8kg over a 3 month period!
The weight loss was aided by cutting out alcohol, upping my water intake to 3L a day (from 0) and starting to walk between 3 and 7km per day.
Yes, can you actually believe that I used to drink no water at all, my drinks of choice were coke zero, coffee and beer. Swapping those for water and smoothies definitely helped although the road wasn’t 100% smooth. There were some points where I almost got to my target, celebrated and put a couple of kg straight back on. This was a depressing point, and one of the reasons that it is so important to work towards goals and not away from problems.
If you just intend to lose weight and don’t have a target to work towards when the weight starts to drop off, you will feel happy and relieved and start to go back to your bad habits.
Imagine the feeling of being depressed because you are overweight, after losing a few kilos that feeling of depression lifts as you are seeing progress. As the depression lifts the bad eating habits come back.
If you are working towards a target weight then you will stay much more targeted and be less likely to feel the emotional ups and downs which cause yo-yo dieting.