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View Full Version : bloated all the time...stress and exercise?


cori rock
05-23-2008, 04:57 PM
Oh, I need some help. For the last month Iíve been extremely bloated and have digestion problems. I got great results when I was doing a paleo/zone type diet for 3 weeks and since then Iíve been mostly sticking to a paleo diet. Since then I started having the above mentioned problem and canít figure it out.
There is a chance Iíve over exercised and over worked while adding an increased stress level. My sleep patterns are fine, I only seem have a little trouble falling asleep if I donít exhaust myself during my workout. Iíve even gone to the doc to see if I had any other medical issues that were causing this, but my tests came out normal. Iím at a loss.
A normal day, I eat healthy paleo, CF 5-6 days a week and work 12hrs/day 7 days a week ( Itís a desk job and I just sit at an computer all day).
I donít want to let up on my workouts because I really love CF and want to keep up my tempo because Iíve seen great results and I REALLY donít want to lose the gains I made, but this stomach problem is making it hard to get through the workouts. I admit Iím not as physiologically smart to know how to tackle this problem, any advice will help.

cori rock
05-23-2008, 05:04 PM
i forgot to mention I'm a 27 y/o female. I know that makes a difference in terms of hormone levels and such.

Derek Weaver
05-23-2008, 05:13 PM
I'm guessing someone with more knowledge than I is going to say something along the lines of: "fix the gut".

Personally, whenever I have any sort of GI distress, I immediately launch into a fast. Anywhere from 19-30 hours depending on when I start it and how long it takes me to get past it.

cori rock
05-23-2008, 05:26 PM
derrick, thanks, I was actually thinking about doing a fast, even though I hate fasting. It just seems like I need to have SOME kind of detox to fix my gut issue.
So a true fast would be JUST water right?? eeesh

Derek Weaver
05-24-2008, 01:16 AM
Cori,
I am no IF guru, but yes, only water. Some will say a bit of coffee or herbal tea, but I'd think that if your gut's bothering you, then you wouldn't want caffeine in there.

Not sure how probiotics and the like would fit in, but that may be something you'd want to check out.

I'd definitely start with a fast though. If the symptoms go away, then maybe you just needed a break from food to let the gut heal and cleanse.

Garrett Smith
05-24-2008, 06:21 AM
Have you done any antibiotics recently, or have you done any probiotics since the last time you took antibiotics? Either way, probiotics are a good place to start (PM me if you're interested in the type I recommend).

Otherwise, good starting points:

Less metcon, both in duration and volume.

No gluten. No nightshades (search the board if you don't know what they are).

If you eat the same foods day in and day out, you should try to find other ones to rotate in.

Mike ODonnell
05-24-2008, 06:23 AM
derrick, thanks, I was actually thinking about doing a fast, even though I hate fasting. It just seems like I need to have SOME kind of detox to fix my gut issue.
So a true fast would be JUST water right?? eeesh

Fasting is the quickest way to allow the body to do internal cleanup/housework/detox.....lemon and water and it doesn't have to be for days either. Drink plenty of water too....as your body is responding to hold onto water for some reason....so if you up your intake you are signaling that it doesn't need to hold onto it and you have more coming in to replace....or at least it sounds good and theory and has worked for some people.

cori rock
05-24-2008, 11:28 AM
Have you done any antibiotics recently, or have you done any probiotics since the last time you took antibiotics? Either way, probiotics are a good place to start (PM me if you're interested in the type I recommend).

Otherwise, good starting points:

Less metcon, both in duration and volume.

No gluten. No nightshades (search the board if you don't know what they are).

If you eat the same foods day in and day out, you should try to find other ones to rotate in.


No, no Antibiotics for me. I do have some probiotics and so far they haven't seemed to have helped. It's funny that you mention eating a different variety of foods cause I really do eat about the same foods everyday. Will that make the stomach rebel??? Right now I'm kinda stuck when it comes to the food I eat because I'm deployed and I eat as much good foods as I can, but they don't offer a whole lot that isn't driping with grease. So I eat salads with chicken (occasional beef) and oilive oil, veggies, fruit, lot of tomatoes (like 2 a day) but those are nightshades right?
Thanks all, I may try a fast and seeif that helps. Any recommendations as to how long? Derek, you said 19-30 hours but it depends on how you feel? Would I fast till my stomach feels better cause I'm thinking hunger pangs will cause me to miss that part. Ha, sorry, I'm not good at fasting.

Garrett Smith
05-24-2008, 12:05 PM
If you're deployed, parasites may be an issue, not that they couldn't be if you were in the States either...

Derek Weaver
05-24-2008, 04:01 PM
Cori,
The 19-30 hour fast is just how I've done it when my gut starts to rebel. Toy around with what works for you. If you are making progress in your symptoms then continue along so long as you're not so hungry you eat your own hand. If you gotta eat, then eat. Getting well is a progressive thing.

Mike ODonnell
05-24-2008, 04:07 PM
You could always try eating watermellon for a day.....loads of water in it and also a natural diuretic....and tastes great on a hot summers day

cori rock
05-24-2008, 04:48 PM
ha, thanks for the advice guys. I'm convinced and going to try this water fast thing (even though it may be rough). I need to do SOMETHING and that seems like a logical start. I'm all about natural fixes to problems like this. I'll post an update on how well that worked out...I hope the gut can flush out and fix itself.
I'm also wondering your opinions on those month long detox packs (colon clense and such) that are supposed to get all the "tar like" waste out of the digestive track. Do those put your digestive system into "roller-coaster" mode?

Steven Low
05-24-2008, 05:40 PM
If you're stressed all the time... high cortisol.. is going to make you generally feeling like crap, keep significant fat mass on and possibly stay bloated.

Just another thing to throw into the mix; try to eliminate as much stress as you can.

If it is due to overreaching you will probably start to see decreased performance (unless you're totally new to fitness in which case newbie gains might outweight everything) so if you back off working out for 3-4 days you can generally recover. That should help if it is overworking.

cori rock
05-24-2008, 07:53 PM
Thanks steven. Yes, my performance level has decreased, has been for at least 3 weeks. The WODS are hard to get through, I drag during most of them, and my times are getting worse. Most of it has to do with the fact that I feel like crap and my belly wants to explode when I'm doing them. I've been pretty active my whole life, big into all sports and not a stranger to overworking my body, but I have never had a problem like this.
And you're right. There's NO doubt that stress is a factor and I can recognize that clearly. How you lower your stress level, I really don't know. Dr. G also said I should tone down the metcon type workout regiment but I hate to lose what I've gained (except for the belly bloat that makes me look like I'm pregnant). I really don't know how to regulate cortisol levels, never really thought about it since high stress was never really a factor before.

Derek Weaver
05-24-2008, 11:10 PM
While you take your 3-4 days off, I would get in some sort of low intensity stuff. In this case, probably walking. Use the time to clear your head and calm.

Otherwise, google relaxation techniques etc. and get in as much quiet alone time as you can get, which is probably difficult while deployed.

As for detox packs. I think they're pointless. The colon is a self cleansing organ. With a fast of some sort, plenty of water and proper diet it should be fine.

I know that some overdo metcon, but a lot of people are doing very well following the mainsite WOD. It's all up to how your recovery is IMO. If you still can't recover after your back off period, it's time to adjust your programming. I think this is more of a "down the road" thought. Get your gut right first then worry about your fitness.

Steven Low
05-25-2008, 10:51 AM
Peh, if your performance has been dropping for 3 weeks you probably need 5-6 days off. What Derek said though... active recovery is good. VERY light jog. Hydrate well. Massages will help & foam rolling. etc.

Lower stress level = eliminate things that are stressing you. For example, emotions are a big part I don't know if you're angry or worrying or anything but those can definitely affect. Physically obviously enough. Relationship issues. Etc.

Garrett Smith
05-25-2008, 03:34 PM
The stress/cortisol potential connection to your situation:

Investigating the role of perceived stress on bacterial flora activity and salivary cortisol secretion: a possible mechanism underlying susceptibility to illness. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18023961?ordinalpos=8&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

Gastrointestinal symptoms are associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression in healthy individuals. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17852841?ordinalpos=15&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

As has been said, take some time off, and when you come back do more strength and less metcon for a while. If you feel better, it means your adrenals needed the break.

Not everyone is built to handle the metcon load of CF as Rx'd. Not everyone is built to be a PLer or a marathon runner either. You need to make it work for you, not the other way around.

cori rock
05-26-2008, 11:43 AM
I just wanted to follow up and say you guys are GENIUS!! Well, I did a 26 hr water fast (ok, with a tich of coffee and decaf tea) and I didn't get my normal late afternoon/into the evening stomach cramps. The stomach is still tender but soo much better, I'm not keeled over in pain anymore. However, I'm hoping that once I resume my normal easting cycle, those won't come ack but we sill see. Might have to try a fast every so often to slowly cleanse the system. Also, does anyone have suggestions for easy on the stomach food options? I do have limited resources and usually eat A LOT of veggies, but I'm thinking that veggies might make my problems come back.

I'm also takin it easy on the workouts. I took a brisk 30 min walk yesterday and might do the same today and tomorrow. Time for the body to heal so I'm takin a break. I'm going to listen to my body to see when I should get my metcon back on track

Derek Weaver
05-26-2008, 08:28 PM
Glad to hear you're getting some relief. I don't fast every day, or even 5 days/week. I fast if I have eaten any kind of junk, and then at least one more maintenance fast/week. Usually anything from 2-4 days/week with 4 being the absolute top end. Otherwise I may kinda skip meals etc. It's all about eating intuitively.

I would suggest a food diary to keep track of what gets your gut all worked up. It may not be the veggies... but I would guess that if you're eating "A LOT", you may be getting a bit too much roughage (is that spelled right?).

Any nuts in the diet? Those can get you twisted up too.

Mike ODonnell
05-27-2008, 08:57 AM
Derek is right in you should get a food journal and start slowly re-introducing different food groups back in (start with fruits and vegetables, as those should be ok...well most of them). You need to start finding out what foods work for you...and what ones do not. Of course stay away from the usual allergen suspects of wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts. Fruits should be easy to digest. Also supplementing with L-Glutamine and fish oil can help repair the intestines. Fasting is a good idea once in a while for routine maintenance and cleaning. You can also get some other healthy gut ideas here (http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog/2008/03/19/is-your-gut-leaking-what-to-do-about-it/). The key is taking control and realizing which foods are the issues....and getting rid of them. Takes some time, but I think your health is worth the effort.

cori rock
05-27-2008, 12:27 PM
You know, I was dreading the water fast and I actually didn't mean to start the fast either. I realized after about 16 hours (includes 7 hours sleep time) that I hadn't eaten in awhile so I just carried it on the rest of the day. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be either. After eating well yesterday (mostly fruit, veggies, an omlet) my stomach is way better than it was before (still tender but NOTHING like it was). I was thinking I should try to incorporate the water fast more often, maybe once a week. Now that I've gotten through one, I realize it's really not that difficult.
I also think nuts have added to the problem. Even when I was doing my 2 week zone/paleo diet, http://performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2387
nuts had made my stomach a little uneasy (but I LOVE them). Since then I've gone mostly paleo (with occasional oatmeal), no dairy, and I increased my nut and and dried fruit intake. Even though they are WONDERFUL, I did notice they seemed to unsettle me a little so I'm going to stay way from those for awhile and see what happens.
Thanks again for all your help, I would be interested in more information and tips on fasts (how to do them effectively and safely) Mike, I wasn't able to get that link to work but I want to check it out later, thanks.

Derek Weaver
05-27-2008, 01:20 PM
When you get a chance I'd strongly suggest looking through all of the content on Mike's blog here (http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog)(w/f/s of course).

The one tip I have for fasting is that once you begin to lose mental clarity (if it happens) then it's time to cut the fast. I notice that this happens more if I fast following a cheat meal/day (which I always do). Personally, if I have eaten clean, then I can fast for much longer and feel great throughout.

Ari Kestler
05-27-2008, 02:48 PM
The one tip I have for fasting is that once you begin to lose mental clarity (if it happens) then it's time to cut the fast. I notice that this happens more if I fast following a cheat meal/day (which I always do). Personally, if I have eaten clean, then I can fast for much longer and feel great throughout.

Nearly Identical experience. I'm sure it's cause most cheat meals by definition have more sugar than I am used to on a normal basis.

Mike ODonnell
05-27-2008, 03:01 PM
Nearly Identical experience. I'm sure it's cause most cheat meals by definition have more sugar than I am used to on a normal basis.

If people had cheat meals of more meat....I doubt we would have an obesity epidemic! Ha.

Derek Weaver
05-27-2008, 04:40 PM
Mike,
Somewhere a vegan just started crying.

Ari,
I agree. If I go for icecream or some sort of other high carb cheat like pizza, pasta, or a burger and fries, I get hit hard twice by it. One by the initial sugar load, and the second during the fast.

I remember a post where Devany was discussing beating carb cravings by fasting for a day. He said it helped reduce insulin, in turn increasing insulin sensitivity, and use up the extra sugar in the blood. That makes sense to me, but it can be unpleasant to deal with after not too much time.

Garrett Smith
05-27-2008, 05:27 PM
I'm always amazed that I still crave carbs the morning after a night of carb cheating, one would think overnight was enough time for things to normalize...

Very hard to fast after too many carbs or junk food...sometimes I just try to push through it.

cori rock
05-27-2008, 05:45 PM
It is crazy how I never even thought to try fasting after those cheat days. It seems like such an easy concept. Maybe I just didn't WANT to fast because it sounds like such a dreadful way to spend a day (not gonna lie, I'd rather have my meals). I am wondering what the benefits are for fasting after cheat days. Is it the best way to counter so-called "damage done"?

Mike ODonnell
05-27-2008, 06:41 PM
It is crazy how I never even thought to try fasting after those cheat days. It seems like such an easy concept. Maybe I just didn't WANT to fast because it sounds like such a dreadful way to spend a day (not gonna lie, I'd rather have my meals). I am wondering what the benefits are for fasting after cheat days. Is it the best way to counter so-called "damage done"?

Fast is a 4 letter word after all! Ha....don't worry you wont waste away....you can make a fasting schedule that helps you and keeps your sanity...some fast daily only eating say noon-6pm....others do longer fasts 1-2x a week. I love food....so I like to eat a few times a day so the daily fasting is more my speed. Honestly why are there cheat days? Get rid of those and alot of issues may clear up. Regular fasting may allow you to eat healthy, enjoy a variety of foods and no longer have any more cheat days as your cravings will completely change. As for fasting benefits......how about improved health, reduced inflammation, improved gut/digestion, increased mental clarity, weight loss, increased body detoxification, reduced cravings, increased longevity factors, reduced risks for most diseases, improve insulin sensitivity, etc...etc...etc. If you are using fasts just to get away with eating crappy foods....it may appear to work in the short term...but you will probably still have issues down the road and may not be getting any benefits to reversing insulin resistance, inflammation and other diseases. Sugar is not your friend......repeat with me.....