Easing a Grumpy Tummy… Who Knew It Could Be So Easy?

I have a love-hate relationship with my stomach. I know I’m not alone. I feel like half of the blogs that I read are written by young women with similar problems. And we’ve all been told we have IBS, the all-encompassing (and oh-so-unhelpful) diagnosis for grumpy tummies that will not cooperate no matter how hard we try. (Aside: my stomach happens to be misbehaving right now, this very minute. Sigh. Will have to try these tummy tips.)

I’m not going to say I have a definitive solution, because I don’t. But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me keep my disobedient stomach in check. I’ll share my top 3, and maybe if I find more I’ll do an Ease-My-Tummy-Tricks Part 2.

  1. Do NOT snack. I find that the more often I eat, the more my stomach bothers me. Forcing myself to eat 3 meals a day (and 3 meals a day only) and possibly an afternoon snack, if desired, definitely offers major improvements to the stomach situation. When I am eating constantly my digestive system never needs a rest. I give myself rest each day, so why not do the same for my stomach? It makes sense.
  2. Do NOT overeat (especially fiber-y foods). Yes, salads are great – but in moderation. If you eat a salad for every meal you will be uncomfortable. You’ll also start to think that over-fullness is normal. I spent years overloading with almost too many veggies, and now I’m still trying to get used to being satisfied when I’m not stuffed. The Japanese have a great expression to summarize these healthy eating habits: “hara hachi bu” – which means precisely, “eat until you’re 80% full”. I look up to both Bobby (who is half Japanese) and his mother for their ability to eat moderately.
  3. Yoga twists. If all else fails, this is what I turn to, because in addition to helping my tum, yoga stretches are soothing for me. One of the best ways to massage and ease the digestive tract is to breathe deeply while in a twist. My favorites are…
    • supine twist: lie on your back. Pull one knee into your chest. Drop the knee to the opposite side (right to left for example) and look away from the knee (if you’ve dropped your right knee to the left, look right). Take 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
    • seated twist: Cross your right knee over your left. Twist to the right. Take 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. Make sure your back is elongated and upright; your shoulders should draw down the back. As you breathe out each time, twist a little deeper.

Does your stomach get angry at you? What are your tricks to calm it down?