Beat the Belly Bloat

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: Belly bloat is all too common on important days, isn’t it? Luckily, we know just how to beat it!

In an effort to look fit for your wedding day, you’ll hit the gym three times a week for a whole year — bravo! But what do you do if you have belly bloat on the day of your wedding? Don’t give up hope; here are tips to help fight the battle of the (belly) bulge.

A Valley bride asks: “I’m putting in a great deal of effort to look svelte for my wedding day so that my gown, which has an eye-catching mid-section, will look great. I’m worried though; sometimes I develop a “belly pooch” despite all the exercising. How can I make sure I don’t bloat up on my special day?”

Dear Valley bride: Kudos on your exercise routine! Belly bloat happens to the best of us, so try to incorporate these tips about three to five days before your wedding. First and foremost, cut back on salty foods. (Salt intake leads to water retention.) Check the sodium content in your meals; particular culprits include canned soups, pickles, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sauerkraut, canned vegetables, canned tuna, and other processed items. Anything with more than 400 milligrams of sodium per serving should be a no-no.

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You should also stay away from soda and other carbonated beverages. This includes seemingly “safe” drinks like sparkling water; the bubbles trap air inside the large intestine and cause gas and bloating. Stick to water — and drink lots of it. Water is actually a natural diuretic that minimizes the amount of puffiness that you retain, especially around your belly. Aim for eight full glasses of water a day. Limit your alcohol and coffee intake to a maximum of one and two per day, respectively. These are dehydrating drinks and can cause your body to maintain fluid.

Watch what you eat! This may be obvious, but certain foods cause gas. Although rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, beans, bean dips, fruits, and vegetables are all gassy foods. If you have to consume these, try an anti-gas product like Beano. Certain carbohydrates — such as those in white flour — can also cause water retention; so, for the week or so before your wedding, stick to lean proteins like turkey or chicken breast and small amounts of complex carbs like brown rice. These are really good sources of energy and don’t usually cause bloat. Lastly, stay away from dairy products high in fat, like cheese.

Prospective brides tell me that doing Pilates helps slim their stomachs. These abdominal exercises won’t reduce bloat, but they do train you how to lift your abs by strengthening your core muscles, which makes your belly look flatter (and is great for maintaining excellent posture). Last but not least, try to make time for cardio exercise, like jogging. Building up a good sweat will rid your body of fluids. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be doing what you can to keep belly bloat away on your wedding day! Good luck!

Readers, got any other tricks for beating the bloat? Share your tips in the comments box below.

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at

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