Michelle Middleton, a bodybuilder from Portland, Oregon, wants her social media fans to know that the many Instagram posts she shares of her super fit body and flat stomach aren’t always her reality. The “figure competitor,” as she calls herself, posts about her daily strength-training workouts, her meal prep and the various things she has to do to get her body in a tip-top competitive state. Recently, she shared an incredible side-by-side that shows the extreme bloating that occurs when she eats certain foods, and her photos are unbelievable.
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Middleton wrote, “When I say I’m bloated… I’m bloated. I do these bloat posts every now and then but people still get surprised at how big my belly gets.” Although the photos show a very inflated midsection followed by an image of her normally flat torso, Middleton says they weren’t taken on the same day, but are a good example of what happens to her when she eats certain foods outside of her low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates that are difficult for the small intestine to absorb. The acronym stands for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, and although FODMAPs are present in a lot of foods, restricting the intake of them has been shown to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The bodybuilder says she knows which high FODMAP foods are going to do cause her bloat, but even though she’s armed with that knowledge, it’s hard to stay away from certain foods she loves. “…earlier I had Greek yogurt and I got bloated within a few minutes, but the bloat only lasted for a few hours and now I’m back to normal. The foods that make me the most bloated are yogurts, protein powders, apples, pears, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus.”
While her post serves as a warning to anyone who experiences digestive issues, it’s also highly relatable for anyone who struggles with the battle of the bloat from time to time. Posts like these show that even people who have what society might deem a “perfect body,” still face the same struggles as those who don’t fit that label. Middleton knows that and frequently states in her posts that what you see on Instagram is a snippet of her consistent dieting and training and does not reflect the full reality of her lifestyle.
In another post, she encourages others to get to the bottom of their constant bloating by following certain steps to get on the right track and its advice worth following. “I’m still new at this and learning as I go. I share the whole process on my IG … good and bad so don’t expect to see a perfect page,” writes Middleton. “If you’re someone who gets bloated and discouraged in your fitness journey because of it…don’t. It’s a minor setback at times, but you can achieve a flatter stomach. Things you can do:
• Go to doctor and see if they can figure out what’s causing it.
• Get an allergy/food sensitivity test done.
• Check out the FODMAP diet. There is a list of foods that are most likely to bloat people with sensitive digestive systems and list of foods that are least likely to bloat people.
• Be mindful of what you’re eating. If you notice your bloated be aware of what you just ate. If it happens again, see if you ate something that bloated you last time. Keep a mental note until you narrow down the culprit.
• Some people recommend taking probiotics.”