Slimming down before one’s wedding is not a new idea. Articles abound on celebrity crash diets like crazy cayenne water (thanks, Beyoncé!) and low-energy juice cleanses. The engagement period leaves lots of time for research, and action, but the big day can arrive quite suddenly. If you’re an 11th-hour person like me, it all comes down to the crunch. What you need to do is make a plan and stick to it. Start anywhere from tow to four weeks before your wedding, and eliminate from your diet food items that cause bloating.
Health Canada reports that on average Canadians consume approximately 3,400 mg of sodium each day — almost double the recommended daily amount. Sugar is even worse: we consume an average of 26 tsp/110 g of sugar per day, accounting for roughly one in five calories in our diets.
Resolve to banish bloating on your wedding day! Nix these 10 items from your diet and you’ll strut down the aisle looking and feeling your best!
No surprise here: The magical fruit that makes you toot is packed with a sugar that is not digestible. After you eat beans, they work their way into your intestines, where good bacteria goes to work breaking down the foods and causing serious amounts of gas and bloating. Swap beans for lean protein, like fish and chicken.
Once you get engaged, there’s never a lack of opportunity to celebrate. Still, as your wedding day approaches, swap booze for water, to avoid morning-after puffiness and slowing down your metabolism. You’ll feel livelier and more energetic, and ready to start the day instead of sitting on the couch.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
“No sugar” may seem like the smart choice before heading down the aisle, but we know better! Artificial sweeteners usually contain sugar alcohol, which can cause bloating. Best course of action is to cut down on sweets altogether before the big day.
As we’ve already mentioned, Canadian and American diets are packed with almost double the daily-recommended amount of sodium. Salt causes the body to retain water and bloat around the midsection. Before walking the aisle, put down the chips, pretzels and other salty treats, because every handful contains half of your recommended daily allowance. Substitute crunchy vegetables and small portions of raw almonds.
5. Junk Food
The fat, sodium and sugar packed into junk food can leave us feeling like we are on top of the world. That is, until we crash 30 minutes later. No bride wants to look like they just conquered a behemoth burger challenge on their wedding day. Saying goodbye to junk food is a simple and effective way to banish food-induced baby bumps.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
You may be surprised to find vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts on this list. It’s because these veggies contain a similar sugar to beans and require methane-releasing bacteria to break them down in the digestive track. Swap these veggies for dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale.
Swap traditional calcium channels for dark leafy greens. Dairy contains an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for lactose intolerance in 75% of the world’s population. Our bodies struggle to break down dairy, and digestion causes gas and bloating. Skip the cheese plate for a couple weeks and swap cow’s milk for a dairy-free variety — you’ll be feeling slim and sexy in no time.
8. Fizzy Drinks
The bubbles found in soda, beer and champagne are generated by carbon dioxide. When we drink something fizzy, we also ingest those gases, which cause bloating and expansion around our midsection. Swap fizzy drinks for water with a splash a lemon — a detoxifying drink that is refreshing and delicious.
9. Refined Carbohydrates
Some people tell you to eliminate gluten when you are trying to de-bloat. If you have an allergy or intolerance, then going gluten-free is a very good call. For others, this is simply not possible. Instead, swap refined empty carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, potatoes and sugar for fibre-rich “slow” carbs, like small portions of quinoa or brown rice.
10. Chewing Gum
Who would have guessed that freshening your breath can make you bloated? Turns out that many chewing gums use sugar alcohols in production. As with artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols cause bloating — not to mention that a single stick of gum can pack five calories and up to six grams of sugar.
A smart back-up plan here is to remove junk food and other unhealthy temptations from your kitchen, and restock with vegetables, fruits, high-fibre grains and lean proteins. This simple strategy helps prevent cheating and encourages you to make better meal choices even if you are running between dress fittings and seating chart melt downs. Bloating is nobody’s best friend. Conquer it by banishing these gas-causing foods for at least two weeks and you’ll feel like you’re strutting down a catwalk instead of an aisle!
Amanda Garbutt is a bride-to-be living in Toronto. Amanda is an entrepreneur who runs The Hot Plate, an online cooking resource and recipe development company. Her upbeat attitude and attention to detail keep her busy whether she’s in the kitchen or planning her urban Toronto wedding. Follow her @TheHotPlate.