How I Finally Ended My Struggle With Bloating & Reached A Healthy Weight*
I believe optimal well-being is a journey. And one of the more challenging roads within that journey is maintaining a healthy weight.
First, I should note that the conversation around weight is a complicated one. For example, while weight can be a contributor to or byproduct of metabolic problems, experts now understand it isn't the only factor to consider. As I've touched on before, only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy, which means most of the population is unhealthy—even those who aren't considered overweight. In fact, 20% of people thought of as "lean" are still metabolically unhealthy1. That said, if you're not at a healthy weight for your body, you can feel it.
We do need to have a serious conversation about weight, though: About 74% of Americans are overweight2, according to the CDC, and 42.4% struggle with obesity. Considering COVID-19 outcomes were disproportionately worse for these groups—obesity alone almost tripled the risk of death3, according to one study analyzing data from 15,529 COVID patients—we shouldn't shy away from discussing the issue.
Of course, I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of body positivity—that we need to feel good in our bodies, that each and every one of us has our own definition of "healthy weight." No one should be ashamed of being overweight, full stop. At the same time, it's important to reflect on how it can affect overall health.
My personal weight story.
I'm an open book here at mindbodygreen: Many of you might know how yoga saved me from back surgery or how supplements helped take my homocysteine down from 63 to 12. Here's something you probably don't know: I've also struggled with my weight.
I'm currently 6 feet, 7 inches tall and feel strong and lean. I currently weigh 205 pounds, and I've more or less held this weight for the past three years. But, boy, was it a journey getting there.
After a season-ending basketball injury in my freshman year of college, my weight went from 240 pounds to 273 pounds. I followed a restricted diet during the summer to return to my baseline in time for my sophomore season, only to gain 10 pounds back. And the moment the season ended, my weight skyrocketed once again, by way of too much partying and late-night pizza.
Post-college my weight zigzagged, with my extra pounds always around my stomach. This is important to note, as waist circumference is a metric for metabolic dysfunction: A waist circumference greater than 40 inches (35 for women) is considered a risk factor for metabolic disease, and it's not something you necessarily see reflected on the scale. "As metabolic syndrome takes its toll, gaining weight in that abdominal region can add a lot of risk," functional medicine doctor Julie Foucher-Urcuyo, M.D., M.S., told me on the mindbodygreen podcast.
Bloating and irregularity were also major challenges for me: The photo from 2013 below was taken on vacation in Tulum (surely, a relaxing experience, no?), but I felt terrible and lacked energy. My bowel movement frequency was all over the place—sometimes multiple times a day but oftentimes only two to three times a week—never daily and never consistent. I slept over eight hours daily so, theoretically, had no reason to feel fatigued, yet I was exhausted. Was this my new normal at age 39? I was beginning to accept it.
Fast-forward to today: I'm stronger, leaner, more energetic, and feel better than ever. This is the first time in my entire adult life that my weight has stayed in a balanced 5-pound range, and I no longer have the excess fat around my waist.
So, what changed?
First things first: I changed my diet. I used to be an omnivore who consumed meat at every meal—now, I eat mostly plant-based, with wild-caught fish twice a week and grass-fed meat about once a month.
I also began to practice intermittent fasting. I usually fast for a 16- or 18-hour period overnight. No breakfast in the morning, just espresso or black coffee to start my day.
This may come as a surprise, but I now work out less, not more. There was a period of my life when I did strength training three to five times a week for an hour or so; I frequented 90-minute yoga classes three to five times a week, as well. Today, as a busy CEO and parent of two young girls, those days are long gone. Instead, I strength train and practice yoga two times a week for 10 minutes. And guess what? I feel more fit than ever! That said, I am also in constant motion: I take the stairs whenever I can, and I walk about 11,000 steps a day.
I'm more connected to my body and in tune with what it truly needs. In short, I don't feel 46, I feel 26.
This new approach got me about 80% to where I am today, but it didn't exactly help conquer my bloating and irregularity or help me shed those last extra pounds. I often find that no matter how hard we try, or how smart we become with regards to our personal health, you can only do your best—sometimes, your best gets you 80% of the way there.
Taking probiotic+ helped me finally feel my best.
This is where targeted, high-quality supplements come in—for me, they optimize my well-being and help me get to 100%. My personal experience became the inspiration for our mbg probiotic+ formula, which was designed to beat bloating, support regularity, and promote healthy weight.*
There are so many probiotic supplements out there, with so many billions of bacteria and too many strains to count. What I learned in our formulation process shocked me: When it came to the efficacy of a probiotic, it's not about the absolute quantity but the quality of targeted strains that really matters. So many brands talk endlessly about how more is better, and I was shocked to find that this was far from the case.
In fact, probiotic strain inclusion and dosing should be rooted in published clinical science. I went on a mission, partnering with experts, to find the most efficacious, targeted strains that had a strong science backing, to help those who might have similar health support needs to mine.* We discovered these four workhorse strains:
- Bifidobacterium lactis B420 is clinically shown to encourage healthy weight through reductions in caloric intake, abdominal fat mass, and waist circumference.*
- Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM is clinically shown to help with bloating and support a healthy frequency of bowel movements.*
- Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 is clinically shown to help ease bloating.*
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 is clinically shown to support digestion and regularity while reducing gas.*
We are the only brand in the world combining these four targeted, science-backed probiotic strains together into one powerhouse formula. I value efficiency and efficacy in well-being—whether it's my workout routine or probiotic strain. Less can certainly be more: I don't have time for BS.
This formula has been a game-changer for me. I no longer deal with bloating or irregularity. I no longer struggle with energy—I can power through my entire to-do list at mbg and still feel energized (even on days when my kids wake me up far too early). I enjoy goofing around in the pool with them, and I do so with boundless vitality—to that end, I'm also no longer self-conscious about taking my shirt off before diving into the water.*
It's not just about aesthetics, either: I feel good, I feel light, I feel like I'm finally at my optimal weight. I'm more connected to my body and in tune with what it truly needs. In short, I don't feel 46, I feel 26. The picture above doesn't even begin to show just how great I feel.
I'm so excited for you to feel the power of these strains yourself. Optimize your well-being journey with probiotic+—I can't wait to swap stories.*
Jason Wachob is the Founder and Co-CEO of mindbodygreen and the author of Wellth. He has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Vogue, and has a B.A. in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years.