Embracing the Bloat

Endless graduation parties and Memorial Day weekend mark the beginning of summer, which means different things for all of us. For me, it means that I am surrounded by family and friends, which usually calls for feasting. On Saturday I went to lunch with my grandma, mom, and sister and finished off a giant piece of brownie bottom cheesecake after eating a cobb salad and lobster bisque soup with a sweet roll. The same night, I went to a graduation party and piled pita bread with lamb meat, onions, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce (this is a Greek food called a gyro, and you def need to try it). After that, I ate two pieces of cookie cake, which my boyfriend would agree is very on-brand for me. After my day of indulging, the bloat was freakin’ real. 

There’s like two pieces of lettuce in this salad, but I’m not mad about it.

The concept of embracing a super rigid “clean eating” diet as summer approaches is something we’re all probably familiar with. Many of us have probably even tried it, in hopes of achieving a “summer body”. Because of this, the concept of straying from a strict eating pattern and risking an expanded tummy can be intimidating. 

I used to freak out if I didn’t have maximum control over what I ate, out of fear that when putting on a swimsuit or wearing a crop top, I would be the tiniest bit bloated. This fear not only stemmed from a control issue, but due to the fact that I saw bloating as a negative thing. 

The truth is, feeling bloated is normal to an extent. Yes, it can definitely be the result of over-eating, but it can also happen in certain times when we don’t eat too much, due to the fact that some foods produce more gas than others, and just the simple fact that everyone’s body responds differently to certain foods. 

While we digest our food, our stomachs literally hold our food while its contents are broken down by acid.While this food sits in our stomachs, our stomachs expand to accommodate. This is actually pretty amazing, so if you’re feeling bummed about your little food baby, find some peace in the fact that your body is working as it should!

This baby was worth the bloat.

I know that not everyone may be satisfied by a mini anatomy lesson, so hear me out on this: Feeling bloated is just a part of life, and it happens to literally everyone. The thing is, no one ever really talks about it or posts a picture on Instagram after eating at Olive Garden. It just hasn’t been normalized, and I think that should change. We need to start viewing bloating as a natural process of eating and living. It shouldn’t be something to hide, and it definitely shouldn’t be something we restrict our calories or food choices to try to control. 

I would be lying if I said that I don’t still struggle with accepting my bloat. There have been so many occasions where I have texted my boyfriend after eating a meal saying things like “I feel so huge right now”. One thing he always says that helps put the situation into perspective is “It’s only temporary”. It’s such a simple way to look at bloating, but he’s right.

Maybe being bloated is uncomfortable and reminds me that I ate too much, but it doesn’t permanently change my body. I’m not going to be bloated forever just because I ate a little bit too much of my brownie bottom cheesecake one time. My body will self-regulate while I go on living my life, because there are so many things in my life worth doing, and worrying about my tummy isn’t one of them.


1. Sullivan S. Functional Abdominal Bloating with Distention. ISRN Gastroenterol. 2012;2012:1-5. doi:10.5402/2012/721820

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