So I want to chat with you for a minute about bloating. It’s not exaaaaaactly a sexy topic. But WHY NOT??
As I find myself saying often, we learn SO much from our kids.
Ella Jane is pretty teeny for her age (like 20th percentile) but she has the most voracious appetite, which is adorable. The quantities of food she can put away are aspirational to many, haha.
There have been so many times lately where we’ve found ourselves giggling about how big her belly gets after a meal she’s really enjoyed. After a big plate of “getti” and some fruit, it will easily double in size!
As we laughed, it got me thinking about how differently I react to her full, bloated belly than to my own. I never question how much she wants to eat or worry about it being too much because I truly believe that as children we are at our most intuitive when it comes to eating. We haven’t yet been influenced by others’ beliefs about what foods are “good” or “bad.” We haven’t been introduced to arbitrary food rules or portion sizes or meal schedules. Kids listen to their taste buds and their bodies, and eat (or don’t) accordingly.
And kids get bloated! And it’s adorable and funny.
How do you feel when you get bloated after eating? For me, at least in the past, I have felt shame, guilt, and worry over whether I’ve eaten something I “shouldn’t have.” Bloating has inspired many guilt spirals, multiple diets, and many experiments with cutting out certain foods out of fear that I was intolerant or allergic.
Then, Ella Jane gets bloated and we laugh.
Now bloating, if accompanied by feelings of discomfort or illness, certainly merits our attention and curiosity. So i’m not trying to say we should all just laugh it off.
What I AM trying to say is that sometimes a full, bloated belly is simply that. Sometimes it’s just a sign of a good meal savored and enjoyed. If you find yourself always criticizing yourself for ending up bloated after a meal , I hope you can remember this story - would you criticize someone else for the same thing? Would you criticize a child? How could you look at it instead that is more productive?
Let me suggest, you could appreciate the meal you just enjoyed, and the body that’s been designed to accommodate and digest it, even if not exactly as you’d like it to. You could get curious about how you feel physically, and whether that food served your body or caused discomfort. You could notice any pleasant or unpleasant sensations you feel. Or you could just move on with your day and not give it any mental space at all!
What does this bring up for you? How do you react to bloat or post-meal fullness? Please share! Let’s not be ashamed of our bloat, but embrace it or work to understand it.