There are few things more frustrating in this lifetime than waking up on Monday morning with a belly so bloated you can't button up your favourite pair of jeans. I know because I've been there many times before. Whether it's because of a late-night dinner (and dessert) with my friends or a home-cooked meal of chickpea curry (beans wreak havoc on my tummy), I've had my fair share of mornings when my bloated rage makes me want to throw all my clothes out the window.
After many of these admittedly frantic episodes — and many months of trial and error — I've finally come up with an attack plan that eases my bloating on those swollen mornings. These methods may not work for everyone, but they have certainly been useful for me. Here is my a.m. ritual for those days when I'm as bloated as a balloon.
I Drink 1 Litre of Lemon Water
Lemon is one of your greatest allies in the fight against bloating. It stimulates your digestive system and the flavanoids soothe the acidity in your stomach. I squeeze some fresh lemons into a big water bottle, fill it all the way to the top, and chug, chug, chug.
If you're not used to drinking a lot of water in the morning (I have about half a litre as soon as I wake up every day), this might feel like a challenge. In that case, start with a glass or two of water with fresh lemon juice. That will wake up your whole system and get you ready for the day.
I Eat a Much Later Breakfast
I have been practising intermittent fasting for the last few months, and I absolutely love what I've achieved from it — weight loss, more energy, and, my personal favourite, less bloating. But there are some mornings when I can't escape the bloating monster. In that case, I shift my eating window.
I usually eat between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but I don't follow this schedule on the weekends so I can go about my social life normally. Therefore, it's not uncommon for me to wake up on Monday morning feeling a bit more inflated than usual. In that case, I won't eat at 8 a.m. Instead, I'll try to give my body at least 12 to 14 hours to digest my last meal.
For example, if I had dinner the night before at 7 p.m. and I'm feeling especially swollen, I'll push back my Monday breakfast to 10 or 11 a.m. This gives my body all the time it needs to fully digest and process the big meal I had the night before, which significantly reduces my bloating.
I Squeeze In a Workout Session
I don't know about you, but being bloated makes me want to wrap up in a blanket, hide from the world, and get lost in Arrested Development reruns. I've learned, though, that this is the exact moment when my body needs movement more than ever. I drag my ass to the gym for either a weightlifting session, a yoga practice, or a cycling class. No matter what I do, it always helps me feel better and make better choices with my diet throughout the rest of the day.
I Make Myself Some Ginger Tea
When I was a kid, my mum's home made ginger, lemon, and honey tea was the magical elixir that made me feel a million times better. Little did I know it also had bloat-fighting properties. Ginger helps things move along in your digestive tract and flush out toxins in your system. I make myself a big batch of it (it only takes a few minutes!) and take it in a portable mug to the office.
I Snack on a Banana
Meet the wonder fruit that will help you win the war against bloating: the ever-yummy banana. It's jam-packed with potassium, which regulates your body's sodium levels, and full of soluble fibre, which will help you poop. Plus, it tastes great and is the perfect addition to any morning protein smoothie.