Bloated vs. Overweight
It is not always easy to determine whether you are bloated, overweight, or both! A simple diet change can actually reduce belly bloating quite quickly for some, yet others may suffer not only a ‘tyre’ around the middle, but suffer from a build-up of fatty tissue around their internal organs, known as visceral fat.
Understanding the cause of the problem is extremely advantageous for accomplishing the results that you desire. In some, it will be a combination of factors. Remember, what someone else swears by may not always be a good choice for you.
From food reactions to parasitic invasion, the list of digestive symptoms is vast and can affect your whole body. In order to commence your journey towards recovery, it is important to identify and understand the differences between bloating and distention.
Bloating is the feeling you get when your abdominal region is larger.
Distention is the physical symptom of your abdominal area being larger than normal.
You can feel bloated without actually being distended. For example, if you were to eat a large meal you may feel bloated, but you are not actually distended. Part of this is about our mental state; many women dread the inevitable comparison to pregnancy and this leads them to feel anxious and unhappy about their body shape, whilst men are often teased mercilessly about a ‘beer belly’. While overeating can indeed cause weight gain, and so distension, it’s more likely to cause bloating.
In terms of physical distension, we usually try to correct this by eating less and exercising more, only to feel exceptionally disheartened and frustrated when no improvements occur (and doesn’t that sound familiar?). This is because, often, distension is being caused by something else that a diet change simply isn’t enough to correct.
Distention is a more serious condition than bloating, and it can be caused by three different things;
Some of the best, most tried and true remedies for bloating and distention include
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar possesses anti-inflammatory benefits for the entire body and contains natural digestive enzymes.
Dose: Mix 1tsp of ACV into 100-200ml of water and drink approximately 10-20 minutes before meals.
Lemon juice in warm water
Drinking lemon juice in warm water helps to acidify the stomach for protein breakdown and alkalises the bowel for in preparation for nutritional absorption.
Dose: Squeeze 1/3 of a fresh lemon into 100-200ml of water and drink approximately 10-20 minutes before meals.
Psyllium husks with water
Drinking psyllium husks with water is effective for the treatment of both constipation and diarrhea, and is cheap and safe.
Dose: Mix 1tsp of psyllium husks into ¾ of a glass of water and drink of a night time before bed, away from other supplements and medications.
To assist in bringing down distension and dealing with feelings of bloating, we strongly recommend checking your food intolerances. Food intolerance screening is available for up to 220 different food types, or you can also speak to one of our practitioners about which foods groups are best avoided for your current state of health (you can actually book a free Phone Consultation here). Some foods like nightshades are highly inflammatory, and many thyroid patients find that dairy, gluten, and sugar are trigger foods for hypothyroid states.
Tire around the middle
Abdominal fat and adipose tissue are commonly deposited around the belly or back as a result of endocrine or metabolic issues. Below are some of the symptoms and testing available, as the type of issue you have determines which types of treatment will be most effective:
Thyroid metabolism: cold, depressed, overweight, tired, etc. Blood testing for thyroid hormones include TSH, Free t3, Reverse T3, T4, and Hashimoto’s testing, and iodine urinalysis is also commonly used. If you are unsure whether or not these tests are warranted for you instead of just a basic TSH blood test with your GP, try coming to see us for a Thyroflex test to measure your reflex speeds and help identify whether your weight gain may be thyroid related.
Poor glucose balance: another symptoms include irritability, temperature changes, fluctuations in energy levels, headaches and faintness, etc. Blood testing to check these levels includes HB1AC, Glucose, Insulin, and Leptins.
Adrenal Hormones: you’ll see fatigue, particularly in the morning, energy peaking of a night, cravings for licorice and/or salt. Blood testing is recommended for Cortisol, DHEA, and Vitamin D3.
While many fear for their health and feel self-conscious about being bloated or appearing overweight, the health hype information pushed upon us is often more strongly related to visceral fat. That is not to say that the endocrine issues above are not serious, only that they may or may not be linked to organ fatty deposits.
Visceral fat is body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity and is therefore deposited around several important internal organs, including the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as ‘active fat’ because research has shown that this type of fat plays a definitive role in how our hormones function. Storing high amounts of visceral fat potentially leads to an increased risk for the development of several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
It is important to determine the difference between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is stored just beneath the skin and can be felt with our hands. Visceral fat cannot be felt with our hands as it is stored intra-abdominally.
Having scales that measure not only body weight, but also fat %, water %, muscle weight and bone density is a much more accurate way to track your health and weight loss journey.