We do believe in whole foods and regular exercise for a healthy weight, but what about when you’ve got a hot date in days, not weeks? We found a few sneaky tricks to get washboard abs by first drinks.

When the party’s in: 3 days

T J Bonaretti's flat tum diet:
KEEP

  • Easy-to-digest lean meats (think poultry and fish). Difficulty with digestion can equal bloating (and the protein will fill you up so you don’t want the carbs).
  • Garden salad vegies. Lettuce is a good way to bulk up your food volume, as it’s primarily water.
  • H20. Against logic, dehydration actually encourages your body to retain fluid – cue swelling. A couple of litres will flush out the toxins, too.
  • Peppermint tea. The party girl’s beverage bestie, it makes digestion a doddle for your body, so it’s less likely to retaliate by bloating.

CUT

  • Brassica vegies. Lay off the Brussels sprouts, turnip and cabbage, which are hard to digest and can cause bloating.
  • Salt. Put away the salt shaker and check food labels for sodium. It’s an express ticket to fluid retention.
  • Carbs and sugar. Ever ‘gained’ a kilo overnight, complete with extra centimetres? Blame carbs. When your body stores glycogen for ready energy, the glycogen comes with water, with your body holding onto 3g of water for every  glycogen gram. It’s temporary but can take days to deplete, so lay off for about three days.
  • High fibre foods. Go easy on the fruit, high fibre veg, and nuts.
  • Alcohol. A toughie in festive season, but skip the vino  with dinner for a few days to avert dehydration and the bloating effect of carbonation (as a bonus, you’ll also save a few calories to channel into the canapés platter).
  • Dairy and beans. Many women suffer bloating from lactose, but while you’re taking milk off the menu, ban the beans. They’re a recipe for bloat-daster.
  • Caffeine. Coffee, tea and cola  are diuretics, so go decaf to minimise dehydration.
  • Artificial sweeteners and carbonated drinks. These cause gas-related bloating.
  • Your ‘bloat foods’. If you have any food sensitivities, or know you swell from certain foods, be extra vigilant with menus this week. If in doubt, ask.

When the party’s: Tonight

To keep your tum first-thing-in-the-morning flat for tonight, blacklist these bloat culprits.

  • Chewing gum makes you swallow air, which gets trapped in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and results in a balloon-like bloating effect.
  • Diet foods often contain artificial sweeteners containing sugar alcohols (look for names such as xylitol and maltitol), which cause gas.
  • Raw vegies take up more space than their cooked counterparts, distending your stomach.
  • Spicy dishes can cause irritation that translates to a stick-out tum.
  • Gas-inducing foods Beans and cabbage are the best-known bloaters, but onions, peppers and citrus fruits can also swell your middle region. Fizzy drinks, it goes without saying, are out.
  • Tea and coffee contain acids that can irk your GI tract – cue extra cms.
  • Speed eating When you eat too quickly, you swallow air, which translates to a protruding tummy. Slow down.

 

When the party’s in: half an hour

Got minutes, not hours? Try:

Figure-hugging frock
Cheat your way Alba-sleek with a discreet ab aide.
TRY: Bras ‘n Things Curve Control brief, $44.99. brasnthings.com.

Cut-out dress

If your obliques are out and not so proud in this season’s cut-out dress, a coat of instant colour will make them look contoured and toned.
TRY: Pure Bronze instant tan, $29.95. puretan.com.au.

Make it work

“Ideally you’d have two to three days eating in this manner, to yield the best results,” PT Jay Bonaretti suggests. Just remember it’s a quick, temporary fix, not a balanced, sustainable diet plan. “The approach to fix bloating permanently would be quite different.”

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