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Bloating Can Be Caused By Slow Digestion, Not Eating The Wrong Foods

Bloating Can Be Caused By Slow Digestion, Not Eating The Wrong Foods

Our body is a wonderful thing; it functions without us even having to think about it, from our heart continuously beating, to our lungs filling up with oxygen. The same goes for our digestive system – the whole complex process from the the food entering our mouth to being broken down, sifting out the needed nutrients and getting rid of waste – is something we don’t have to give a second thought to.

However, when this process is disrupted in any way, we can start to see and feel the consequences with one of the main symptoms being bloating around the stomach area. Most of us can identify with that uncomfortable tight feeling but what causes bloating? There are a few reasons, but one common cause is slow digestion.

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How Slow Digestion Can Lead to Bloating

Our digestive system normally runs on a 24-72 hour cycle from the moment we get up in the morning and eat breakfast, all the way to dinner and going to bed. When this complex system is disrupted by being slowed down, excess gas is produced and trapped within the gastrointestinal tract.

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Since the digestive process is not working at its optimal peak, symptoms can occur such as constipation, excess fullness due to the food sitting for longer at each stage of the digestive process, and of course, the tight, uncomfortable feeling that comes with bloating.

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What Other Factors Lead to Slow Digestion?

  • Not chewing food properly: we are told at a young age to make sure we chew our food properly. While many have taken this good habit into adulthood, many of us don’t always take the time to sit and chew food to a sufficient point where the food is broken down enough for our digestive systems to cope optimally. The enzymes in our saliva are there to be mixed well with the food ready to be passed on down to the stomach to start the process. By giving ourselves enough time to chew each mouthful, we are allowing the food to be in an optimal state to start being digested properly. In other words, your digestive system will not have a reason to struggle.
  • pH value of the mouth: the pH level of our mouths are usually slightly alkaline so any increase in acidity or too much alkaline can cause the enzymes to become off balance. It’s important to be aware of the types of foods we consistently put into our mouths in order to keep the pH value at its perfect level.
  • Temperature: some say the temperature in our stomach can slow down digestion, for example, when gulping down iced water but this hasn’t been scientifically proven. However, air temperature is thought to have an effect on our digestion so warmer climates encourage the blood vessels to open up and allow essential hormones to circulate more easily resulting in aiding body processes including digestion. Colder climates are thought to slow down the process but only in extreme conditions – either way it won’t hurt to be at a slightly higher temperature while consuming meals.

How to Boost Up A Slow Digestion

There are many ways to combat a slow digestion but it should involve consistent, healthy habits that allow your body to work at its optimum level. Here are some great habits to speed up digestion and combat that uncomfortable bloated feeling.

  • Avoiding processed and refined foods: unnatural, processed and refined foods consumed on a regular basis can put strain on our digestion because the body takes longer to break it down.
  • Drinking enough water: water is essential for an optimal digestive system and without it the body struggles to flush the intestines, soften stools and prevent constipation and bloating. 
  • Eating enough fibre: fibre is essential for digestion because plays a role in stimulating bowel contractions and moving food into the intestines. Without enough fibre in the diet, the digestive process starts to struggle and takes longer resulting in bloating.
  • Regular exercise routine: exercise optimises the way our whole body works including the digestive system. By having a regular exercise routine you keep your digestion process flowing at a healthy pace.

While slow digestion is a common cause of bloating, it’s always advised to visit a doctor if you suffer from prolonged symptoms to rule out any other causes it could be. Living a healthy, active lifestyle will always go towards an optimum-working body so if you want to get rid of that tight, bloated feeling try picking up some of these habits and see if it makes a difference!

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More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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