Think of the last time you left a restaurant bloated, burping, and suffering from heartburn. You probably just blamed it on the restaurant food. Let me tell you, the food may not be the problem.
After years of working with clients suffering from digestive issues and food sensitivities, I know that it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat.
Your body does a lot of work to digest your food.
Even the smell of food or thinking about eating stimulates the release of a variety of hormones and enzymes that prepare your body for a meal.
When you eat a meal, your body secretes enzymes, acids, and hormones to digest it.
Most of us sit down to a meal with a beverage ready to go.
If you’re following the latest advice and trying to trick ourselves from overeating, you’re downing that water before the meal even arrives to “take up room” in our stomach.
Ok, what’s the problem? What’s wrong with water?
We all need to “drink more water” or “increase our fluid intake”, right?
Well, more water isn’t always better.
When you drink a bunch of liquids at mealtime, you dilute all the digestive juices your body has carefully prepared in anticipation of your meal.
Your body is especially attuned to the concentration of acid in the stomach, which is required to:
kill off pathogens (save you from food poisoning)
absorb vitamin B12
Too much liquid in your stomach changes this concentration, which forces your body to pump out even more acids and enzymes to compensate.
So now you have quite a mess: your stomach is full to the brim with half-chewed food, lots of water, and diluted acids and enzymes that can’t efficiently do their job.
You might already have heartburn and you are certainly bloated and unhappy. Your first reaction is probably to reach for an antacid, but that’s the opposite of what your body needs. More than likely the problems is not enough acid rather than too much.
Who knows, too much water might be the hidden cause of your heartburn, bloating, and digestive discomfort.
So here’s how to have your water and drink it too (without getting heartburn):
When you sit down to a meal, serve yourself a small glass of water – just enough to wash down whatever you’re eating (~4-6 ounces).
If you’re at a restaurant, order water, but don’t finish it. If you pay for a drink, you’ll be compelled to finish it. With water, who cares?
Aim to drink most of your liquids separate from meal time (at least 30 min before or 1 hour after your meals). You’ll be surprised how much better it feels.
Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to your water. Sour and acidic foods stimulate the release of digestive juices.
- And of course, eat just enough food to satisfy your appetite, so your stomach isn’t over-filled. The Hunger Awareness Exercise is really helpful for this!
If you found this tip interesting and want to learn more about healing your digestion, grab your copy of my FREE guide: 30 Days To A Happy Tummy. It goes way beyond why more water isn’t always better and it’s not your typical list of foods to avoid (there are enough of those already!). It’s a step-by-step guide you can’t get anywhere else that helps you get to the root of your digestive issues.
Of if you don’t want to go it alone, are sick of dietary trial and error, and want to accurately uncover your hidden food sensitivities, you might like to work with me.
Now in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you:
- Which of the 5 tips above are you going to try and why?
- What other habits do you suspect contribute to your heartburn or bloating?
Your insight might be the solution to another reader’s digestive troubles, so do share!
Until next week,
P.S. I’m excited to be one of 5 experts interviewed for “The Coaches Forum” on Thursday. If you’re a coach, nutritionist, or are interested in building a business that you love, Upgrade2Awesome has put together a great Q&A call focused on Building a Successful Coaching Practice.
Join is for a FREE Live Google Hangout on Thursday 3/27 at 11am PST. It’s pitch-free and 100% educational.