5 Things That Are Secretly Making You Bloated

Stupid broccoli.

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Waistband digging into your sides? Stomach weirdly hard when you poke it, but your body fat percentage definitely isn't low enough to have abs? Normal from the front, but twice as wide from the side view? Congratulations! You're pregnant! Nah—you're just bloated.

It can be a part-time job trying to keep excess gas and or water from accumulating in your body (cute), but fitting into your trousers and feeling Bella Hadid-ish make the food-consciousness and timing-your-water-breaks all worth it. (Take it from a girl who's got such a hair-trigger digestive system that a pair of vintage bell bottoms can fit one day and become a size too big the next. True story.) Here, five behaviors that are sneakily inflating you like so many Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons.

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1. You're chewing gum

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Disclaimer: Beyoncé has probably never had this problem before
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Considerate of you to try to spare others from your pesto breath, but it's actually backfiring in terms of you not struggling to close the button fly on your Brockenbows. When you chomp down on a stick of Big Red, you're inhaling air, which gets trapped in your stomach and intestines. Even worse if it's sugar-free gum, which is sweetened with sugar alcohols your gut bacteria ferment. Best to stick to Altoids or even tongue-scraping.

2. You're not drinking enough water

Sodium ➡️ water retention ➡️ you gotta drink *more* water to flush everything out. Counterintuitive, but what *can't* surgically attaching a S'well bottle to your hand fix?

3. You're not mindful about *when* you're drinking water

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On the other hand, having too much water before/during a meal can dilute the stomach acids, which can make it more difficult to digest efficiently. This is where your timer comes in: Stop sipping 30 minutes prior to lunch or dinner or elevenses, and wait 30 minutes after to give those finger sandwiches enough of a head start.

4. You're eating the wrong kind of fruits and vegetables

Gluten and dairy = puff for some people, but did you know PLUMS (the sugar alcohol thing again) can do the same? Also on the no-fly list: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, *raw* vegetables (cooking breaks down some of the tougher fibers), and legumes (the schoolyard ditty was true—it's all true).

5. You're using a straw

Meaning you're ingesting air with every gulp of iced almond latte, so perhaps save for when you've got to keep 20 minutes of brushwork intact.

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