The other night, I wish I would have taken a picture.
I had eaten some pizza for dinner and drank a whole jug of water before bed. My belly was so full, I joked with my boyfriend that I looked pregnant. In my old diet days, this bloated full feeling would have torn me apart.
Back then, I would have pointed to my super full stomach as if it were a big scarlett "G" for "gluttony" sown into my shirt like Hester Prynne.
Nowadays, there are a few important things that really help me when I'm feeling really full.
1. Digestion affects how your belly looks.
Let's look at this Instagram post by the amazing Megan Jayne Crabbe for context.
TO ANYONE CURRENTLY FEELING GUILTY ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF FOOD IN THEIR STOMACH: it's okay. Tummies are supposed to grow and expand and let us experience all kinds of delicious moments. You are no less beautiful, valuable, or loveable whether you are full or empty. Treat your food baby nicely, don't pull or grab yourself, don't be rough. Be gentle, touch yourself kindly, appreciate the softness. And when the guilt creeps up, tell yourself that everything is okay, and that what you've eaten today doesn't determine one single bit of how wonderful you are. MERRY CHRISTMAS MY LOVES! 💜💙💚🌈🌞
Very simply, different foods do different things when you eat them. For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts produce natural sulfuric gas. This gas often comes out as farts. (Shame around farts is a whole other coaching business).
The same thing happens when you digest other foods. It fills you up. As your body is breaking it down, it might look a little bigger. This is NORMAL. It's not evidence that you're exploding with weight gain as we speak.
*Repeat digestive discomfort is something to pay attention to though. Make sure you talk to your doctor to get tested for allergies and other digestive ailments*
2. Pooping or lack thereof can affect the way your body looks and feels.
I strongly urge you not to weigh yourself at all. BUT.....
If you are a recovering scale addict, you might have noticed that you usually get the lowest number in the AM. In the morning, after you've gone to the bathroom, your body is finally out of fuel. Lo and behold, after my pizza night on Sunday, I was still able to fit into my clothes the next day. Overnight, because you digested (see above), the food doesn't just get stuck in your stomach.
What I'm trying to say is: poop weighs something.
Whether you're constipated or have diarrhea, you might have noticed your body changes how it weighs, looks and feels. Despite what people may want to believe about women, pooping is NORMAL.
3. Your monthly cycle affects your body and your weight.
As modern western women, we often hate to admit that our periods might be affecting us at all. That would just be the best excuse for our boss not to take us seriously at the next meeting, right?
Try as we might to forget biological reality, our periods absolutely affect digestion. Personally, I've been both constipated and the opposite of constipated during my period.
4. Your body might be going through a change. And that's okay too.
Ironically, while I was feeling too full of pizza, my sister was actually giving birth. This is an extreme example, but she finished dinner on Sunday and woke up about 7 lbs 11 oz lighter because a literal baby came out.
As we age, as we grow, our bodies change. This part might be the hardest to read but it's the most important part of this post.
Yes, you might not actually be gaining weight for all the aforementioned reasons. But, why are you so worried? Being fat(ter) is not actually a bad thing.
The cool part about being an intuitive eater now is that I can observe my body with less judgment. I can feel full without feeling like ashamed . I can see a bloated belly from my period and not blame myself. I can chug a glass of water without automatically assuming that full feeling is pizza pounds or gluten intolerance.
We wouldn't judge a cancer patient for losing weight. We wouldn't judge a baby for gaining weight. Why do we judge ourselves so much?
I kind of love your chubby cheeks. Yes. I'm talking about both kinds of cheeks.