When it comes to body confidence, we all have our high and our low moments. Some days we feel on top of the world, on others, we feel full and frumpy, like an overstuffed beach ball that's never going to get off of the ground.
But aside from making us feel slow and sluggish, bloating can also wreak havoc on our confidence, plunging us into a pit of self-doubt when what we really need is to put our boss-pants on. So how do you banish that horrible feeling once and for all? Well, according to one woman who claims to have solved the mystery after enacting a few simple swear-by rules, it's all a matter of habit.
Jenny, a writer for PopSugar, claimed to have endured 20 years of "feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed and isolated, upset" about her midsection, plagued by a bloated feeling caused by something she couldn't quite put her finger on. Now, she says she hasn't felt like that in a solid two months.
So what's the secret? Is it just furious gym sessions and cutting out carbs?
Well, no. Yep, you read that right, there's no need to need to give up all of your favorite treats, and not a treadmill or a sit-up in sight. You do, however, have to follow a few simple commandments.
1. Ditch the dairy
Many people vilify gluten on their quest to beat the bloat, but Jenny found that it was dairy that was the true culprit when it came to bulking her out. Although she already knew that she was lactose intolerant and should generally steer away from milk and cheese, she found herself cheating a little too often, and so she decided to ditch all dairy products once and for all.
She didn't stop there though, also binning off processed carbs and all processed sugars. Commitment points = 100.
2. Stick to what you know
Okay, so I'll admit that my instant thought when I read that Jenny sticks to the same meal every single day was a big fat "hell no". Like, isn't that absurdly boring? But actually, her go-to bowl of the moment actually sounds pretty decent: "massaged kale, shredded carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, sunflower seeds, and marinated tofu."
Apparently, the regularity of her bowls helps to improve the regularity of her bowels. Mmmmm.
3. Boost gut-bacteria
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then it's a probiotic a day helps keep the bloat at bay.
Although studies into the effectiveness of probiotic pills on bloating have delivered varying results, with some saying they're the holy-grail and others saying their magical powers have been overstated, Jenny says that on the rare occurrences that she forgets to take them, she can totally feel it. Hey, we'll try anything.
4. Skip breakfast
As an avid breakfast fan, I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this one, especially since we've spent our entire lives being told that if there's one meal that we're not allowed to skip, it's breakfast. But Jenny is an avid fan of the 16:8 eating plan - where followers choose an eight-hour window within which to eat all meals, then "fast" for the other 16 hours - and therefore doesn't start eating at noon.
Apparently, it's easier than it sounds and has helped her to crack down on sugar cravings, as well as teaching her what "true hunger" feels like.
5. Drink all the water
Jenny says she makes sure that she sees off four 20 oz bottles of H2O every single day, as a minimum.
Admittedly, it does sound like a lot, but we all know that water is great for us anyway, so this is probably one we should be sticking to regardless of whether or not we're feeling puffy.
Of course, bloating can be caused by anything from IBS to a change in diet, or your monthly visit from Mother Nature (not you, lads) so it's always going to be a matter of trial and error to find what bloat-be-gone hacks work for you.
But hey, it's always nice to have some handy tips!