By Jessica Herman
We've all been there: days when you feel as bloated as the blow-up Shrek in the Macy's parade. Okay, sometimes you know that having that third helping of your sister's peach cobbler wasn't the best idea. But when you're eating right and exercising regularly but still can't zip up your skinny jeans, what gives? One of the main causes of bloat isn't how much you eat; it's eating certain foods that are difficult for your stomach and intestines to digest.
1. Use Instagram
"Pull up a favorite pic of yourself on your phone, and look at it during the day," suggests Ashley Solomon, a psychologist in Chicago. You may feel more preggo than hot chica right now, but the image reminds you how you felt in that moment. Warm fuzzies may ensue.
2. Activate Your Abs
"Rotating your core muscles helps force gas out of your intestines," says Lindsay Hallam, a Pilates instructor at The Studio (MDR), in Marina del Rey, California. Get into side-plank position, and bring your top arm across your abdomen and under your body to twist your torso. Do 5 reps; switch sides.
3. Run an Errand
You may feel like curling up in a fetal position and avoiding all human contact until, say, the week after your period. But getting your body moving helps relieve stomach discomfort, according to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Lace up your sneaks, and walk briskly for 30 minutes.
4. Pamper Yourself
To stop obsessing over your pooch, focus elsewhere-paint your nails with some crackle polish, maybe. And from the so-crazy-it-might-work files: A recent study found people perceived a woman wearing a spicy-floral fragrance as 12 pounds thinner than when she went perfume-free or had on another scent.
5. Eat a Snack
Water-rich fruits and veggies-think grapes, cukes-will help flush out excess fluid, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, an RD in Chicago. Or try pineapple: It's high in bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down food.
6. Try a DIY Massage
Sounds weird, but stay with us: Applying gentle pressure to your belly can push out gas and help get things going if your bloat is caused by constipation. Lie down on your bed, smooth a little oil on your tummy, and slowly rub with both hands counterclockwise. Nice, no?
7. Have a Drink
Water is tops, but drink it 20 minutes before or after your meal, not during. "Otherwise, you may dilute your stomach enzymes, which can disrupt digestion," Blatner says. Skip fizzy drinks, which release carbon-dioxide gas.
8. Hang Up That Muumuu
"For a slimmer silhouette, the key is to wear something that comes in at your waist," says Allison Firestone, a stylist in Los Angeles. Fake a flat belly with these outfit options: a flow-y dress that's belted; an A-line skirt with a tucked-in, billowy top; or skinny jeans with a loose cami and a tailored jacket.