Bloating is completely normal, so why do so many of us feel our self-esteem drop when our stomach grows a little throughout the day?
‘Before and after’ videos have been popping up on TikTok recently, with creators showing how their body changes from morning to night – and over on Instagram, the trend has been knocking around for a while, too. Our bodies never stay the same throughout the day.
One TikToker, Jazz Rose, told her followers: “Friendly reminder that bloating throughout the day is normal,” as she shared a video showing her body changing from waking up at 8am to post-dinner at 6pm.
Another creator, Emily McNeill, showed how just drinking a glass of water can change how the body looks.
“Thank you for this !! I was like why am I so bloated by the end of the day,” one viewer reacted, while another wrote: “This just made me feel so much better! Thank you so much!”
GLAMOUR spoke to dietician and founder of CityDietitians Sophie Medlin, who told us: “It’s super important to normalise normal fluctuations in the body changes during the day, so that we can have a realistic expectation of what it’s like to live in our bodies, as social media and influencers can lead us to believe that our bodies should look a particular way all day.”
She adds: “Everyone bloats throughout the day – it’s completely normal to have fluctuations in the shape and size of the stomach. Our gastrointestinal tract contains up to 9 litres of water up to any time, so the more we eat and drink, the higher that volume goes. It’s great to see influencers, particularly those in the fitness industry, demonstrate normal fluctuations in body changes, because previously we’d see dehydrated bodies before fitness competitions or photoshoots, rather than the truth of what is normal in peoples’ bodies.
“We wake up in the morning with a flatter stomach, because we don’t have all of the food and drink we consume in the day going through. Normally we wake up, empty our bladder and bowel, and then as the day goes on, we increase the fluids and what we eat, and this builds up and looks like bloat throughout the day.”
Of course, it’s important to know what’s normal for you, and if excessive bloating becomes regular and uncomfortable, it’s wise to talk to your doctor.
Sophie says: “While some level of abdominal distention in response to eating is completely normal, when bloating is painful or uncomfortable, when you can’t wear particular clothes, or if it causes any level of anxiety then its important to speak to your GP in order to make sure that its nothing else that could be concerning. We particularly worry about bloating that you wake up with and that doesn’t go away in response to going to the toilet or passing wind.”