There’s nothing to start off your day on the wrong foot like a bloated belly. You tried on your favorite jeans yesterday and they looked slammin’. You put them on today, and they look two sizes too small due to a serious case of muffin top and belly overhang. No, you didn’t gain five pounds in the last 24 hours, you’ve fallen victim to the dreaded belly bloat. Here are five ways to help beat the belly bloat and lose the muffin top!


Avoid Foods That Can Cause a Bloated Belly: These include salty foods, starches (like potatoes, pasta, and breads made with wheat) and carbonated drinks. Avoid raw veggies, and opt for lightly steamed vegetables instead. They will be easier for you to digest, meaning less bloat-producing gas in your GI tract.


Drink Up!: Water, that is! It seems counter intuitive, but when you’re feeling bloated drinking plenty of water can help restore your body’s natural balance and reduce bloating. Nine glasses of water a day is the recommended amount for women. If you’re exercising or spending time in a hot environment, add more H2O to replenish fluids lost from sweating.


Ditch the Chewing Gum: If gum is your go-to for fresh breath or as a way to avoid cravings, opt for mints for fresh breath or a handful of nuts for a satisfying protein filled snack. When you chew gum you also swallow air, in turn causing belly bloat.


Exercise: Even just taking a walk will help to reduce belly bloat. Exercise gets everything in your GI tract moving, helping to aid in digestion and release trapped air, and thus reduce belly bloat. If you’ve had a heavy meal, like fried food or Thanksgiving dinner, taking even just a five minute walk can help reduce tomorrow’s bloat.


Don’t Fall for the Low-Cal/Low-Carb Versions: Low cal and low carb versions of your favorite foods often contain sugar alcohols like Xylitol and Maltitol. Your GI tract can’t absorb these, causing gas and bloating. Opt for a fruit smoothie using frozen bananas for an “ice cream shake” to ward off a sweet tooth, or baked sweet potato chips for a satisfying crunch.

Don’t let all your hard work in the gym go unnoticed because of belly bloat! Follow these five ways to beat the bloat to look and feel fabulous every day!