This Instagram model's bloated stomach pictures will tell you it is not easy staying in shape

Bloating is as common as a cold, proves fitness blogger Michelle Middleton. But when you post them on social media, the hate can be real!

Michelle is a 30-year-old nanny from Vancouver in the northern US state of 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. Michelle told Cosmopolitan 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.

She regularly posts selfies of her bloated on Instagram. We love your courage, Michelle!

Bloating is when the stomach increases in size and is usually caused by excess gas being produced in the large bowel. Bloating is extremely common; WebMD notes that one in 10 Americans experience the condition on a regular basis. And while bloating isn't often the sign of something serious, it can be worrisome when accompanied by other symptoms, such as severe stomach pain, blood in your stool, or fever.

While it's totally normal to feel bloated (and even look bloated), you should always check with your doctor if you're worried, or if you're in pain.

But, there is no reason for you to feel embarrassed by your stomach; it happens to many of us. It isn't a cause for shame.

"Most people will suffer from bloating at some point in their life," explained specialist dietician Kirsten Crothers to Cosmopolitan. "However, those who suffer from 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," Crothers says.

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.

Bloating is just excess gas. (Source: Getty Images)

Now that Michelle knows what makes her bloat, she's careful. "Since I know exactly what kinds of foods will bloat me I simply won’t eat them if I don’t want to look 6 months pregnant," she says.

 She also realizes that she isn't the only one with the ability to have a food baby. We hear you, M.

"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 lifesaver."

She is happy that her fans reached out to her with good wishes. She also believes that it is important to talk about these things on social media to break the life-is-always-perfect stereotype.

"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. I think it makes the person more relatable if they show that they get bloated rather than show that they have a perfectly flat stomach or 6 pack 24/7. I think a lot of people don’t show that side because it can be embarrassing and unattractive," she says.

Look at her go :

Isn't that truly inspiring?

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Priyam Chhetri


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