By Cynthia Rowland
Food choices determine our body size; some foods are healthy for us and others not so much. Weight gain and bloating cause us angst – our clothes don’t fit, rings and bracelets can feel tight and we may even see bloat in our faces. Maybe this article will help you determine how to stop the bloat and look better in your jeans.
Do carbs make you bloat? I recently read an article that described foods that are purported to cause bloating – the usual suspects included broccoli, soft drinks, cabbage, chewing gum and even artificial sweeteners was listed as a culprit but I find there are other foods that not only make me look and feel bloated but I think they might produce swelling in my hips, thighs, hands and yes, my stomach.
I’m talking about carbs like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta; I don’t know if it is the bleach in the products, the pesticides from the fields or the fact that these foods are glycemic rich but you, too, may realize that eating white carbs can increase your girth.
Learning to discern the truth when you’re label reading can keep unwanted calories and carbs in check. By now you probably understand that the words “lite” and “lean” are more likely to describe your wallet when you purchase these expensive pre-packaged meals rather than provide a health benefit. Buying and eating food from the organic produce section rather than sodium laden, high calorie, overloaded carb-fest foods will fill you up and keep you leaner. The Food and Drug Administration wants to revise the nutrition facts label on packaged food to give consumers more useful information to fight the national obesity epidemic but rather than rely on ready-to-eat meals, simply incorporate organic salad greens with lots of colorful veggies twice a day. Like Jackie Silver, AgingBackwards.com says, “Supersize your veggies and half-size everything else! Eat more asparagus – Asparagus is a natural diuretic; eat it every day and you won’t be bloated.”
Eating too much, too often also packs on the pounds. The more calories consumed can mean that you will likely gain weight. Until you faithfully write and record every morsel and beverage that goes into your mouth, you are likely to be shocked at the amount of food/calories that are ingested daily. Little bits add up quickly. Whether it’s an extra handful of nuts, two pieces of fruit instead of one or even that half doughnut eaten at lunchtime, everything counts when you’re hoping to look slimmer in your clothes.
Sleep habits have an impact on your waistline. If you are robbing yourself of sleep, you may be consuming little snacks when you could be in dreamland. Eating in bed counts. My sister had a habit of lying in bed with her television on while she read and nibbled on chocolate kisses, she would drink a couple of glasses of wine and allowed herself other goodies. Sometimes her coverlet positively gleamed with the silver, red and green sparkly foils from the kisses. The combination of light from the tv that she typically left on all night, light from her reading lamp, chocolate and wine before bedtime impeded her ability to have sound sleep. She gained 60 pounds in about four years. Finally, she didn’t like her body shape and set out to make major changes, especially at night. Learning to sleep without interference of electrical items such as a clock, tv, lamps and phones can make a difference – a darkened, quiet room invites deep sleep.
William Campbell Douglass, MD writes, “Cool temperatures are already known to help people sleep better, and even hardcore insomniacs can get some relief when they turn the thermostat down.” If you keep your bedroom windows closed that stuffiness might add to your lack of sleep; think about it…pet dander, human dander, no circulation, central heat, bed covers…all can interrupt sleep. Open a window to let cool, refreshing air lull you to sleep. You’ll awake energized and possibly feel slimmer, too.
I believe another culprit for weight gain is stress. Just the other day a friend called saying she was having a rotten day and that she could feel the cortisol enlarging her tummy as we spoke. While I did my best to assure her that tomorrow could be a better day, she was already reaching for her favorite comfort food that she usually has on hand. I’ve seen her eat/inhale six black and white cookies in hardly any time at all and this time was no different. Comfort food can upset your best laid plans for healthier eating because most foods that we choose when we’re upset are laden with fat and sugar…mmmmm….like doughnuts. But once you start eating processed carbs, your eating plan suffers, you gain weight, feel bloated and pretty mad at yourself.
Many foods and moods can wreck our serenity but just gently guide your thinking back on track and reach for your mate instead of your plate.