Carbs and salt could be the reason you’re bloated or it could be related to your hormonal cycle (especially for women) or it could be related to your chronically elevated cortisol level. Whatever the reason you can store anywhere from 1-10lbs in excess water weight making you feel puffy and cranky. While water weight fluctuation is normal to a certain extent (our bodies use it to for muscle recovery for example) you don’t have to live in bloated body. Long term, regular exercise and a clean, nutrient rich diet are the way to go but here are some tips that will help you de-bloat short-term so that you can feel your best asap!
1. Limit your carbs, especially before bed, to reduce your glycogen levels and here’s why…. for every one gram of glycogen there are THREE grams of water stored so the more carbs you take in, the higher your glycogen and the higher your water weight too. Not to mention that when carb intake/glycogen is low and eventually depleted, the body will then burn fat. So taking in as few carbs as possible will not only keep water weight in check, it’ll help your body burn stored fat too!
The body burns energy in this order:
2. Eat powerful diuretic veggies like asparagus and cucumbers. Most diuretics work by making the kidneys release more sodium into urine, then the sodium pulls water from the bloodstream. Diuretics basically help move fluid out of your body. Some other diuretic foods are celery, fennel and beets. I love to make cucumber water and sip on it throughout the day. However I have to warn you! Cucumber water is a very effective diuretic so pay attention to it’s effects on your body and be careful. You’re trying to get rid of bloat, not deplete yourself of water and accidentally become dehydrated.
3. Workout first thing in the morning before eating. I see the positive effects of this trick in my training all the time and the research speaks for itself. The reason it works is simple: If you eat before a workout you’ll burn what you ate and then if you workout hard enough, you’ll burn glycogen storage then fat storage. So if you workout on an empty stomach your body will burn glycogen storage first (which should be minimal since you just woke up), then it’ll tap into your fat storage. Brilliant! Usually, a 20min HIIT workout in the morning is all you need to have an effect. This not only helps decrease daily bloat, if you do this regularly overtime you’ll lose fat weight too! Click here and here for 2 of my favorite 10-12min workouts which are perfect to get a good burn going if you do them twice in the morning before breakfast.
4. Have 2-3 liquid meals daily
Liquid meal replacements in the form of smoothies or fresh juice, decrease inflammation in your gut by giving it a break from working hard to digest solid foods. So the overall result is a flatter tummy and a digestive situation that lends itself to excess water elimination aka de-bloating! I have several smoothie recipes under the food tab on my blog or you can click here for a link to one of my favorite smoothie recipes by Chris Powell.
5. Drink water ‘round the clock
It is SO important that you don’t skip this final step of replenishing your body with water while you’re working to get rid of the stored water. Our bodies love water and need a fresh dose of it on the regular to get rid of stored water, but more importantly we need it to function properly!
When it comes to fat loss we need the liver to function properly because it processes stored fats for elimination. When we are dehydrated our liver is less efficient in removing fat from the blood stream, and the consequence is excess fat storage. So giving your liver and other deserving organs a break and keep up with your water intake. 1.5L per day is a good standard for everyone to follow.