Being bloated is a side effect of being human.

I was listening to a Food Psych podcast earlier this week and something was said that made me go, “OMGSH YES! That is what I’ve been trying to articulate!”

And that is –> people will describe a set of symptoms that are actually just symptoms of being a human. And they will try to cure these you-are-a-human symptoms by buying ‘X’ product, eliminating carbs, being scared of dairy, avoiding gluten, etc. and so on.

Bloating from time to time is normal.  It’s uncomfortable.  It makes you feel blah.  It makes your pants feel tight.  But it’s a normal side effect of being a human.  I described in a previous post that being bloated is no different than getting a headache from time to time.  

Times I feel bloated:

  • when I don’t get enough sleep.  Oh my goodness on Monday when I woke up at 3:45am to go to the airport I was mega bloated by the time I got to the airport…sleep is important.
  • when i’m stressed or anxious about something.
  • eating too much fiber.
  • eating too little fiber.
  • right before I ovulate.  I have a friend who does natural family planning and she’s been educating me on what means what.  This is probably TMI for some, but you ovulate around the time you have egg white consistency cervical mucus appearing when you wipe.  I found this fascinating…yet another thing public school education didn’t teach me lol.  But it’s been interesting to track how I feel bloated and have break outs right around the time I ovulate.  It isn’t because I ate a snack before bed or ate gluten.  Go figure.

When I feel bloated, my thought is to take care of myself like I do if I had a hangover or the flu.  I’ve found in the past that feeling anxious and stressed about being bloated only tends to make me more bloated.  So instead I focus on self care by: 

  • doing something that calms me like, walk while listening to a podcast, watercoloring, or going through a 5 minute yoga flow.
  • eating some fiber OR avoid fiber depending on what my body is telling me.
  • having a latte.  That always gets things moving;)


Moral of the story: bloating is a normal side effect of being a human.  It is worth noting that in the disordered eating population, bloating is often most severe for those consuming diets high in fiber.


  1. THIS THIS THIS! Having IBS means I get bloated no matter what I eat anyway, haha! So nice to see this post though, everyone needs to get a grip of the fact that a “flat stomach” is pretty much a first-thing-in-the-morning look, and that food of any kind is likely to puff you out a little just because that’s what digestion is. Thank you for this, keep up the good work!

  2. I used to have really severe bloating that was diagnosed as IBS. BUT I truly believe it was all a result of worry about food, stress + anxiety. I used to worry about eating gluten for example, and I then got bloated. Now I eat gluten, don’t worry at all about it, and guess what – no bloating. Stress and anxiety were serious triggers for me, NOT the food. I can still get bloated from time to time (usually that time of ze month), but like you said, it is normal and just like getting a headache and can be for a variety of reasons. Great post :) 

  3. Thank you for this! I’ve really been trying to listen to my body a lot more, thanks to your blog, and though I’ve always felt bloated in the early evening, I never really understood why and felt like it was something I needed to fix. Makes perfect sense that it’s due to a highly vegetarian diet (don’t eat much meat due to cruelty). And you’re also right that a latte helps! I always feel, um, “better” in the morning, about 30 min after my latte, ha.

  4. Yes!! People freak out about being bloated and I’m like hellooo basic human biology. It happens. It goes away. You move on.

  5. I think, though, it is important to talk about because sometimes bloating isn’t normal. I had bloating that made my stomach huge, round, tight, and sore. It lasted 8 months after weight restoration. It turned out I had some issues with the lining (along with IBS) of my GI tract that resulted from my ED and needed to be repaired. So there is a balance, I think- now when I get bloated it is still difficult… but I can say, hey this is a NORMAL reaction from my body! It’s all stuff that isn’t talked about enough in general! Great post!

    • Yep. An ED will mess up your GI tract. Some research says starvation and protein malnutrition causes the GI tract muscles the atrophy, which results in gastroparesis, bloating, nausea, etc. Also, if one’s ED caused them to lose a significant amount of weight they don’t have a thick layer of muscle over their stomach so bloating appears more prominently.

  6. Soooo this. I’ve been super bloated for the last few weeks and figured I’d just gained some weight and noticed it suddenly. However, I’ve also been ridiculously stressed finishing up my school quarter and taking all my finals in a day. Two days after all my finals, I’m back home and not bloated at all. Stress and lack of sleep are huge for me. Actually, both of those just mess with my entire system, which makes perfect biological sense.

  7. My twin and I have IBS. While I think our bloating can be more obvious than other people, at the same time, I’ve come to realize so. many. people. experience it. I felt isolated with my symptoms in high school because it made me so self-conscious + everyone is so taboo to discuss GI. Thank you for mentioning a woman’s cycle!!! I just went through this, and it seems to always catch me off guard then when I get my period, I get the “ah ha” moment. Lol. My IBS seems to just be heightened during this time and then will nearly disappear for a time. You are so right about sleep + stress worsening it. As always, thank you, Kylie!

    • This happens to me too!!! My doctor is actually the one who recommended that I track when it gets worse, and it was always the week right before my period. Now I at least know it will get better in a week lol.

  8. I am sitting here writing this comment while thinking how bloated I actually am at the moment.  I am putting it down to two things, I either didn’t get enough sleep or it’s that time of the month (still b-feeding so I’m not sure when it’s coming back).  Having a lovely morning coffee always helps ;) and if that doesn’t cure it, a good hearty breakfast of whatever my body’s says it needs.  It is a terrible feeling, being bloated, but normal, even though society likes to tell us otherwise.

  9. This blog post was perfect timing for me! I am feeling SUPER bloated this morning. I knew I needed to still eat my normal breakfast even though I felt SO bloated and now I have been sipping herbal tea all morning (which is a HUGE help for me). Although deep down I know it’s normal, it’s still so great to see you write about it and I am not constantly wondering what I did WRONG to be bloated because really it’s just part of being human like you said.

  10. Everything is worse when I don’t get enough sleep, ha!

  11. Yep! Ovulation, chewing gum, and anytime I consume artificial sweeteners. Sorry Bai, I love you! Drinking water and just moving around helps, but mostly it just takes time to go away.

  12. I remember when I was in medical school and we would have patients say: I AM SO BLOATED AND CRAMPING IT IS COLITIS! I’M DYING!

    I would ask what they had to eat. Reply: refried beans and rice for breakfast, burrito for lunch…

    How much I wanted to burst out laughing. Haven’t they heard the nursery rhyme? Beans beans…

  13. Great post as always :) I honestly still have a terrible concept of my size so I don’t really notice bloating clearly.  However this is making me think I should try to pay a lot more attention to this and determine if days I feel worse about my size or myself are all coinciding with this! 

  14. Although some bloating is normal, constant bloating is not. I used to suffer with constipation and bloating daily, I was finally diagnosed with SIBO, small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. Life changing! After a round of antibiotics and some probiotics I have never experienced bloating or constipation again, all food sensitivities are gone as well. Sometimes it’s not something to be overlooked.

    • Agreed. If you have constant and persistent bloating that’s probably a cue something is up. That’s why GI doctors are needed, however I think GI doctors need to have an understanding of what restricting/bingeing/having intense anxiety about eating does to a person’s GI system.

      • My twin and I were evaluated and ultimately found to have IBS. Our bloating follows our cycles pretty closely as you note in this post, but it can sometimes be unpredictable. It’s chronic in that it happens frequently, but the severity varies. I guess it would be hard to differentiate between this as IBS/normal and SIBO.

    • Hi Aubrey,

      Can I ask how your GI ended up diagnosing you with SIBO? I have your same exact symptoms so I went to a GI about a year ago. She just suggested I try a FODMAP diet, and while it helped it did not solve the problem completely. I am not sure what to ask for when I go back because I am afraid they will just suggest I try the same thing again!

      Thank you :)

  15. I love what you’re saying here–bloating isn’t something to freak out about! I also appreciate what Aubrey’s saying–constant bloating with constipation or diarrhea is not normal. That’s when you want to see a doctor–and pray they believe you because doctors so often tell me that digestive distress is all just in my head and I should just live with it. :( But even then, I’ve learned that when I have really bad GI days, I still need to fuel–and it’s not something to blame myself for or panic about. Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Kylie.

  16. Great post! I never thought about my issues being associated with lack of sleep or stress, so I’ll be paying more attention to that. Thank you!

  17. I think it’s important to acknowledge that it is common and that our bodies thrive off different diets. I, personally, function better on a high fiber diet but my husband cannot. It’s good to acknowledge, because when I travel I know that sometimes I need some lentil soup or a plate of veggies to be happy/be able to function. My husband can’t tolerate the levels I eat and that’s ok.

    And yes to bloating during certain cycle times!! I thought I was the only one!

    • Hi Amanda, I hear ya! But EDs thrive on high fiber diets, so I won’t be promoting or acknowledging them here. Happy you’ve found what works best for you!<3

  18. OMG me and my sister always feel the need to go to the bathroom after drinking a latte and we love lattes so we don’t really mind :)

  19. Wonderful post! And something I still need to remind myself of when I get bloated. Knowing the normal symptoms of different times in our cycle is also SUPER important – thank you for sharing that! I learned more about that when I was dealing with some ovarian cysts. Also, that croissant-type thing looks SO DELICIOUS!

  20. The religion of dieting episode was so fascinating. That point he made about trying to “fix” normal symptoms of being human was spot on. Whether its being bloated, or absent minded or sad – it’s all part of the human condition. I sometimes wish we as a society could be more honest about that. Why do I always have to put on a happy face around coworkers or the dentist? It would be so refreshing to just say “I have no energy today and just feeling blah. Can you just give me some space”

  21. I love your blog!!! I listened to that podcast as well (listen to all of hers!) and loved that perspective as well….thanks for reinforcing it again!

  22. I’m definitely one of those people who worries way too much about “fixing” my bloating. I think the hardest part is that the media and magazines portray a flat stomach as “normal” when it really isn’t. I’m slowing trying to accept that and see my own body in a kinder light.

  23. I was just going down the rabbit hold of negative self-talk and I thought to myself, I really need a pick-me-up. So I typed in your blog name in the search bar and BAM just what I needed. You’re the best. If I could hug you, I would. THANK YOU.

  24. Connecting with myself, my true self, through meditation and exposing myself to influences (such as your blog) that are inline with my mental health goals has really highlighted how much I avoided my true-self during periods of disordered eating. I was shutting true-self in my deepest, most inner ‘closet’. What is so interesting about this is that while you are shutting out your true inner-self, and ignoring your true inner-voice, you become hyper-sensitive to your body. The bloating, constipation and ebbs-and-flows of being in a body day-to-day would cause me so much anxiety. I am not sure if this makes sense, but in my journey, I have found that letting my true-self out of the closet has enabled me to weather the ebbs-and-flow of my body without negativity and stress. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge, I really appreciate your posts.

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  26. What a great post! I used to always attribute being bloated to food, and sometimes I think it probably is. But I’d often question what I was eating too much of yada yada and try to cut something out instead of thinking about being bloated like this. I TRULY love all of your posts. They’re so encouraging and relatable.

  27. This is such an important mindset for those recovering! I used to get really bad body image days riiiiiight before my period. But when I reminded myself it was a natural part of being a woman and that it almost always passed in a few days, I could take a deep breath and get on with my day. 

  28. Oh my gosh, I actually just listened to that episode of the Food Psych podcast too and was like YES, THANK YOU! when I heard that line (and a bit LOL, because it’s so obvious and yet so overlooked).

  29. I enjoy your blog and your message. However, I do find it a bit disconcerting, and frankly a bit hypocritical, that in the same post you state ” And they will try to cure these you-are-a-human symptoms by buying ‘X’ product…,” there are no fewer than 4 ads for things that do exactly this: an antacid medication, and over-the-counter Gas-X, touted to, among other things, relieve bloating.

    • Hi Victoria,

      I don’t think I ever said that managing the symptoms are bad…my message was you just shouldn’t expect to never experience bloating.

      Gotta love google/SEO/digital marketing that places those ads because I placed the word “bloating” in the title. I wish I could control 100% of the ads that are placed on my site, but it is tough. I see where you’re coming from and I’m sorry this rubbed you the wrong way:/

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  33. Hi Kylie!  My name is Ingrid and I’m writing you from Australia.  I follow your blog (and your advice!) wholeheartedly.

    I’ve been a binge eater since high school (so for about 15 years) and honestly, your blog is the most effective thing for me.  I’ve seen counsellors, doctors, read books, read blogs… but the best thing for me is to ask myself “What would Kylie do” (WWKD) when I’m stuck.

    I slip up and binge more often than I like, but the next day I tell myself WWKD and I ignore my brain telling me to starve and instead I just eat breakfast and carry on!

    Anyway, I want to thank you for your words of wisdom.  They’ve truly made an impact on me.

    (Btw, I’m the kinda person who never posts, I’m a professional lurker.  So you know you’ve definitely made an impact!)

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  39. Thanks for posts like this. They are a wonderful resource to go back to time and time again! I woke up bloated today and feeling really meh about it. It was so good to know that I could google ‘bloating and immaeatthat’ to find a smart and realistic take on bloating. It was a good reminder to re-frame my thoughts too. I’m bloated because I ate pizza a bit late last night with some friends and that experience is well worth it :)

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