We’ve all been there. That moment when you finally undo the buttons on your ever-tightening jeans and turn sideways in the mirror, rubbing your hand over your belly while exclaiming, “Wow, I actually look like I’m five months pregnant.” At home, where you can slip into your elasticated-waist PJs, it’s not a problem, but just imagine if you woke up on the big day feeling this bloated? That gorgeous dress that has been designed to fit like a glove suddenly won’t look or feel like you imagined. After all those gym sessions, what’s made your tum turn against you? We spoke to nutritional therapist Angelique Panagos to find out what those stomach-swelling culprits really are, so the only thing you wake up to on the morning of your wedding is butterflies in your tummy.
1. Pull the trigger
Bloating can be caused by all manner of things from the well-known offenders, such as baked beans (you know the rhyme…) to something as innocent as a simple glass of water. “The easiest way to identify triggers is to eliminate each food that you suspect of causing bloating for a couple of weeks, before reintroducing them slowly,” says Angelique. “If you’re avoiding multiple foods, reintroduce these one at a time and watch your body for changes in energy and swell.”
2. Sip, don’t slurp
You might not feel like you have time to luxuriate over a long lunch when you’ve got suppliers to call and bridesmaid dresses to choose, but going slow is important when it comes to food and drink so you don’t take in extra air. “Make sure you sip rather than gulp your fluids,” says Angelique. “Smoothies can be a great option if you’re pressed for time as their liquid nature limits the digestive burden when sipped slowly. Plus, they’re quick to make and a portable way of upping your nutrients.” Try this delicious smoothie.
3. Keep calm
Stress is particularly bad for your gut, so try not to enter bridezilla territory. “It can throw the whole digestive system squiffy (stress messages override your digestive messages, alongside every other message in your body!), plus it makes you eat faster and gobble extra air in the process,” says Angelique.
4. Start early
Adding “start gut elimination diet” to your to-do list is about as sexy as going shopping for Spanx; but if you’re prone to bloating, it’s a necessary evil – after all, we never said wedmin was all drinking champagne and tasting cakes! “If you’re embarking on a diet overhaul, you need to allow more time for your body to adjust,” says Angelique. “The digestive impact of a sudden increase in fibre can be hard for your system to take, for example. I recommend brides review their diet as soon as they’re looking at dresses, then they can make small changes along the way.”
5. Say no to sugar
Cutting out the white stuff can be a wrench for most of us but it’s a surefire way to make sure you look your bridal best. “Sugar and refined carbs – basically anything white, sweet and fluffy – are two of the biggest causes of face puffiness and bloating, alongside dehydration,” says Angelique. “Natural sugars also need to be enjoyed in moderation, so limit whole fruits to two portions daily and increase your vegetables to five portions a day.”
Angelique’s wedding eve menu
Make sure the day before W-day is full of quality protein, healthy fats and plenty of fresh vegetables.
Drink: A cleansing hot water and lemon.
Breakfast: A small bowl of oat porridge with ground flax seeds and fresh berries; or eggs with a green side salad; or a protein smoothie with rice protein powder and berries.
Lunch: A hydrating courgetti and avocado salad with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. You can add a portion of chicken, fish or egg (if you didn’t eat these for breakfast).
Dinner: Good Mood Super Bowl (find the recipe at angeliquepanagos.com). It will help keep your brain calm as well as your stomach.
Snacks: An apple with a little organic almond butter, a handful of seeds and berries, or some organic chicken dipped in pesto.