Bloating vs Weight Gain: Know The Difference

Picture this: You’ve made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle, and it’s going great! You’ve been on top of your meal planning, have increased your consumption of fruits and veggies, consistently reach your daily water goal, and have found a regular workout routine that you love. Plus, you’ve already started to see some positive results! Then suddenly, you start to notice that your favorite jeans are a little tight or the scale is starting to tip upward again. Are you doing something wrong? 

Not necessarily. While it’s possible that it may be time to switch things up or push a little harder, there are many other factors at play here. For example, depending on the type of workouts you’re doing, that increase in pounds could be from an increase in muscle mass instead of fat. Another factor that many of us overlook when we hit a wall during our health and fitness journey is stomach bloating. 

But how can you tell if this sudden setback is due to being bloated or if you’re truly gaining weight? The key is to understand what bloating is and how it differs from belly fat.  

All About Belly Fat

When it comes to belly fat, there are two types of fat that you should know about—subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat, otherwise known as subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), is the type of fat that is found directly under your skin. When you can pinch an inch or more of your skin, you are pinching some of your subcutaneous fat as well. This type of fat is softer, helps keep your body warm in cooler weather, and is considered to be the less harmful type of fat.

Visceral adipose tissue (VAT), or visceral fat, is the type that is found deeper in your body and surrounds your internal organs. This firmer type of belly fat is often referred to as “harmful” fat because it is linked to a variety of health concerns. While visceral fat may be worse for your overall health, it is also the easiest type of fat to lose. This is because visceral fat contains more cells, blood vessels, and nerves than its counterpart, making it more metabolically active

While factors like age, sex, and genetics play a role in how much belly fat you have, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help lose some excess belly fat and improve your health. Some of the most effective changes you can make include cutting out processed sugar, reducing your intake of transfats, limiting alcohol use, and getting plenty of sleep and exercise.   

All About Bloating

While belly fat is something that accumulates over time and can take a while to shed, bloating is much more temporary. Bloating is the feeling of fullness, pressure, or tightness in your abdomen, and it is often caused by trapped gas or fluids. Unlike fat, which can be gained anywhere, bloating is specific to the stomach area and isn’t experienced anywhere else in the body. 

There are a number of factors that influence bloating, and nearly all of them are digestion related. For example, things like food allergies and the composition of bacteria in your gut microbiome can all lead to feeling bloated. Other things that can cause bloating include eating too fast, being constipated, having an irritated gastrointestinal tract, and so much more. 

How to Tell the Difference

Not sure if it’s bloating or weight gain that has made your favorite pair of jeans a little too tight? Here are three ways you can tell the difference.  

1. How It Looks

Take a look in the mirror. Is your stomach a little larger than normal? What about your thighs, face, and other parts of your body? Since fat is stored all throughout the body, you’ll notice changes in areas other than your stomach if fat is to blame. If the issue seems to only be visible around your stomach, then chances are you are bloated. 

2. How It Feels

Another quick and easy way to tell the difference is to simply feel your stomach. Apply a little pressure with your hand to see how your stomach feels. Generally, belly fat will keep your stomach soft while bloating will cause it to become hard and tight. 

3. How Long It Lasts

Still not sure if you’re dealing with weight gain or bloating? Ride it out for a while and see how long it lasts. Bloating is a temporary discomfort that will come and go, and will often resolve in a few hours. Meanwhile, belly fat is much more constant and will linger much longer. 

Battling Belly Bloat

Now that you’ve determined that you’re dealing with bloating and not weight gain, it’s time to do something to alleviate it and prepare to avoid it in the future. 

To alleviate bloating after it sets you, you can try…

  • Taking a walk. Steady body movement like walking is a great way to encourage gas to pass through your digestive system, which will ultimately provide relief. 
  • Sipping herbal tea. Sipping on an herbal tea is a simple and effective way to combat bloating, especially if it set in after eating too fast or too much. For maximum benefits, you’ll want to skip adding any sugar and drink it as is. Chamomile, ginger, and peppermint team are some of the best types when it comes to relieving stomach bloat. 

To prevent feeling bloated in the future, you can try… 

  • Avoiding triggers. There are certain foods like broccoli, cauliflower, and beans that produce gas as they are digested by your body, which can lead to the onset of stomach bloat. To avoid feeling bloated, you can reduce the amount of these gas-producing foods you eat. Additionally, it can help to avoid other triggers like processed foods or any other foods you notice have the tendency to make you feel bloated. 
  • Eating mindfully. Practicing mindful eating can help you prevent bloating in two ways—it helps you avoid overeating and it encourages you to eat at a slower pace. 
  • Taking probiotics. Keeping a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome can do a lot to stave off bloating, and the best way to do that is to use probiotics to seed your gut with good bacteria. You can get probiotics by including fermented foods in your diet or simply adding a probiotic supplement to your daily routine. 
  • Implementing enzymes. In addition to probiotics, you may also consider adding a digestive enzyme supplement to your routine. Digestive enzymes are what your body uses to break down and digest the food you eat. While your body creates these enzymes naturally, giving your digestive an extra dose to work with can help reduce the occurrence of bloating

Be Proactive with Essentials

Now that you know the difference between belly fat and bloating, you can beat the latter quickly and safely by giving your digestive system everything it needs to keep functioning properly, and the easiest way to do that is with a daily supplement like Essentials.

These convenient gut-health packets were designed to help nourish and support your gut to help you live your happiest, healthiest life. Each daily packet includes a combination of probiotics to seed your gut with good bacteria, digestive enzymes to help keep things moving, and organic Wild Microalgae® to nourish your gut as well as the rest of your body. 

The best part? You can put it to the test risk-free with our 90-day money-back guarantee.

At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.