Pants not fitting the same as they did yesterday? Feeling as though you’re six months pregnant when you’re definitely only eating for one? Scale showing an eyebrow-raising number when it was fine just a week ago? Asking yourself: “why am I so bloated?”
You may just be bloated or retaining water.
How do you know for sure? If the weight sticks around for more than 3-5 days, it’s likely a “true” gain, save for water retention associated with menstruation, which may last for as long as 7-9 days.
The term “bloat” is used most regularly with regards to abdominal distention, whereas “water retention” typically refers to increased body water in all compartments, including the abdomen.
However, water retention isn’t the only reason the abdominal cavity may expand and become bloated. If not water retention, what is the answer to “why am I so bloated?” Bloating most often occurs thanks to gas, which is caused by foods that are generally difficult to digest, or in response to an individual food intolerance.
Carbonated beverages are an especially common culprit in this area, as are healthy, high fiber foods.
Yes, you read that right: even healthy foods can lead you to ask “why am I so bloated?”, at least temporarily. Oftentimes, at the beginning of a dietary overhaul, the body isn’t accustomed to digesting large amounts of resistant fiber. In turn, gas is created. However, over time, the body adapts to its new nutritional state, and less gas is produced.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), peppers, spicy foods, whole grains, beans, and lentils are all common culprits.
Remember: your body will adjust, so if you suspect veggies are the culprit behind your gas and burgeoning belly, don’t cut them out entirely! In time, your body will adjust. In the meantime, Gas-X or Beano may be good options, but check with your GP first, especially if you’re taking other medications or supplements.
Other behavioral triggers like eating too fast, drinking through a straw, and chewing gum can also cause bloat.
If you’re experiencing water retention across all body compartments (not just the abdomen), you may be consuming too much sodium. Sodium and water travel together: when sodium increases, water will as well, as the body works to maintain its water-sodium balance. Next, you find yourself asking “why am I so bloated?” again.
Even if you’re consuming a balanced, healthy diet, you may be consuming too much sodium.
How do you know for sure? Start taking a look at food labels: a maximum of 2,300 mg per day is recommended, but most Americans consume 3,400 mg each day.