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Michelle Middleton – Instagrammer shows how severe bloating can be

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Michelle Middleton – Instagrammer shows how severe bloating can be

When an Instagram fitness model recently got lots of attention for a photo on her page, it wasn’t over a photo of her lifting weights, showing off her nutritious lunches, or even a before-and-after body transformation.

No, Michelle Middleton’s viral photo showed her with a severely bloated stomach.

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Middleton is a 30-year-old nanny from Vancouver, Washington. She’s not a certified trainer but has gained more than 100,000 followers on Instagram thanks to her fitness and body-building posts.

Middleton told Cosmopolitan UK that she was encouraged to share the bloating photo because it’s a problem she deals with “despite trying to attain a good physique.”

“If it’s just me or friends hanging out at home then it doesn’t bother me,” she said of her bloating. “But if I have to be in a bikini or out in public then it’s horrifying.”

The bloating normally goes down over a few hours, if it’s before bed then it will be gone by the morning.

Specialist Dietician Kirsten Crothers saidthat bloating is when the stomach increases in size and is usually caused by excess gas being produced in the large bowel.

“Most people will suffer from bloating at some point in their life,” she explained. “However, those who suffer with this regularly do so because of a digestive problem such as IBS, coeliac disease or food intolerances.”

Certain foods are known to trigger bloating and IBS more than others. Crothers says these are often foods high in FODMAPs, a group of carbohydrates that are broken down in the large bowel by our gut bacteria. “This process is known as fermentation, which leads to excess gas being produced.”

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It may be surprising to know that it’s not just fatty or sugary foods which are high in FODMAPs. Foods like mango, honey, onions, garlic. and apples are some of the main culprits.

Middleton has found this to be the case for her bloating. “A lot of the foods on the ‘high list’ of the FODMAP diet bloat me. Some of which are yogurt, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, apples, pears, and watermelon.”

Now that Middleton is aware of this, the only thing that has helped her bloating is avoiding the certain trigger foods.

“Since I know exactly what kinds of foods will bloat me I simply won’t eat them,” she says. “It can be really frustrating to have these issues. Some people don’t even know that they have bloating issues and don’t understand why they also look so huge despite eating so well and exercising. I thought I just had a really weird ability to have super huge food babies and didn’t realize it was a matter of certain foods not digesting well. Once I figured out what problem was and could control it, it has been a life saver.”

Middleton says she has received a “ton of messages” from followers saying they’re so glad to see they are not the only ones to suffer from such extreme bloating.

“People always get so surprised [I bloat] even though I mention it every now and then. It’s one thing to say I’m bloated and another to show it … especially when you get as bloated as I do.”

Crothers says for anyone who suspects they might be prone to painful, severe and regular bloating, potentially due to a digestive issue or because of certain foods, they first need to go to their doctor to “rule out digestive health diseases which may need medical treatment.”

“If these tests are all negative, they can trial a few things on their own such as regular exercise, relaxation techniques, regular meals, and ensuring that they are eating enough fibre. If these changes do not work, it is then recommended that they see a dietitian to guide them safely through the low FODMAP diet.”

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