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bloatBy Madelyn Moon, author of The Perfection Myth

Abs are where it’s at these days, right?

Everywhere you look, left and right, there are headlines for the “Top 10 Flat Tummy Foods” or my personal favorite, the “Never Eat These 5 Foods if You Want Abs” posts. It seems to be a really hot topic as society continues to induce more and more unrealistic pressures on people to lean out.

Unfortunately, for many people (especially women) leaning out to a certain degree is not only unhealthy but also dangerous–psychologically and physically.

On the physical side, the body can become hormonally unbalanced, metabolically-damaged, and vitamin deficient. On the mental side, there can be disadvantages such as brain fog and memory loss or emotionally-straining problems such as obsessions and disordered thoughts in regards to one’s body type, size, or weight loss “progress.”

Regardless, nobody enjoys bloat. If it’s for aesthetic reasons or just for physical comfort, bloat can cause stress mentally, physically, and emotionally. So what’s the best way to reduce it?

I’ll let you in on one thing; it’s not what you think. No, the answer I’m going to give you doesn’t require quitting dairy, gluten, grains, beans, meat, polyunsaturated fats, or anything else for that matter. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Here are my two methods for reducing bloat naturally:

1. Stop Stressing over your weight and food.

Do you tend to be out of touch with your meals or so emotionally disconnected that you eat in a stressed state without awareness? Are you so concerned with the calories you’re consuming, unsure of the exact gram count that you can’t even enjoy the flavor or company you’re eating with? This causes something called cortisol to spike. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term. Cortisol can spike for various reasons but unfortunately, so many people are fearful of spiking their cortisol with certain foods, that they eat their meals stressed the heck out and still spike their hormones simply from the amount of stress they are bringing on! Eating in a stressed state can create discomfort in the stomach, bloat, and tummy troubles. My remedy for this is to delete your calorie or macro counting app, be present at your meal, create intimacy with food, and eat intuitively. Food is not only fuel; it is also love. Stop stressing out so much about something that gives you life without asking for anything else in return.

2. Start eating forbidden foods again.

Do you have a list of “off limit” foods longer than foods you are allowed to consume? Did you create this list just because? If you’re one of the thousands of people that cut out food groups out of fear of what they will do to your body, or out of a need to control something in your life, then you’re not alone. If you have no particular sensitivities or serious allergies, but yet you’re scared to death of dairy, I’m going to challenge you to have a bite and see what happens. What I can almost guarantee for anyone that cuts something out and then reintroduces it is that at first, it may be a little hard to digest. Your stomach may be like “Whoa, what’s that!?” and then you’ll have an initial bloat reaction. This is totally normal because your body hasn’t had to digest it for a while.

But don’t let this discourage you!

I went through several months of having to reintroduce grains, gluten, dairy, beans, soy, red meat, smoothies, and even salads, one at a time. Did I feel bloated at first? You bet. Did I lose faith that what I was doing was working? Yup, sometimes. Did I eventually get back to normal? Yessiree. My body took a while to adjust, but after several months of continuously eating these “forbidden foods” I could finally digest everything perfectly, and all the bloat disappeared. Not only did it disappear, but it was way better than when I was actually cutting out all those foods in the first place! I could eat out at restaurants and still have energy afterwards. I could eat new foods and feel like a champ. My body started to warm up.

More than the physical benefits of this are the mental ones. I stopped fearing foods that could potentially “cause bloat” because I knew better. I knew that avoiding foods as well as stressing out about them is actually the cause for bloat. It is for me at least, and a lot of people I’ve communicated with about this very topic.

Once I began to enjoy a great spectrum of amazing foods again, all of my bloat disappeared, my metabolism sped up, and my hormones began to get back on the right track.

I dare you to try this natural bloat-reducing remedy instead of the next “fat blasting foods” article, because surely, this is one that will finally bring you mental peace, clarity, and even, dare I say, pleasure.

About the Author

Madelyn MoonMadelyn Moon is a former fitness competitor turned healthy and relaxed. Read more of her work at www.mindbodymusings.com, and pick up a copy of her first published book–bestseller The Perfection Myth.