Feeling like you’ve suddenly turned into the Michelin woman is the opposite of fun. Whether you’re actively trying to lose weight or are pleased with your current physique, bloating can completely throw you off. In the worst case scenario, it might send you into a panicked thought spiral about whether you’ve actually gained as much weight as your favorite skinny jeans would have you believe. In short, you probably haven’t.
“Bloating and actual fat gain feel the same, so it’s easy to confuse the two,” says Abby Langer, R.D. “But they really aren’t—fat is different from gas and water, which are what often contribute to bloating, and fat comes onto your body much more slowly.” So when you feel like you’ve ballooned overnight, or even over the span of a few days, you can usually chalk that up to bloating instead of true weight gain. Now that you have that reassuring bit of information, one question still remains: is there any way to cut down on bloat ASAP? Luckily, the answer is yes.
1. Swap all other beverages for water.
It may sound counterintuitive, but drinking a lot of water won’t blow you up, says Langer. Your body often holds onto water so as not to get dehydrated, but if you’re constantly knocking back bottles of H2O, that gives it permission to flush out some of its stores. “Make sure you consume water consistently throughout the day,” says Langer, who recommends drinking around 1.5 liters per day. It’s not just that water trumps all other beverages in terms of hydration—the bubbles in popular carbonated liquids deliver air straight to your gut, and you might have a hard time processing dairy-based options. The result either way? Your body feels like a distended gas factory.
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