Too many brides busy preparing for their big day neglect to include getting in shape on their long to-do lists
But brides-to-be who start getting in shape today for a summer wedding won’t be tempted to turn to a last-minute crash diet to help them get into their dream wedding dress.
For those who need to lose a few pounds, we recommend the slow, steady, and sensible approach
5 important don’ts before saying I do
DON’T: Skip meals
Why it’s bad: Skipping meals can contribute to excess calorie intake and overeating at a later meal. The bigger the meal, the more likely excess calories will be stored as body fat, especially if the meals are fatty.
Alternative: Plan to eat at least four to five times a day; perhaps three meals, two small snacks. Try to include foods rich in protein and fiber (like an apple and a small handful of nuts) each time you eat to taper hunger, keep blood sugar steady and prevent overeating. For busy days at boutiques and bridal shops, prepare portable snacks, and plan in advance so that a nutrition snack is always on hand.
DON’T: Dramatically cut calorie intake
Why it’s bad: Consuming too few calories is hard to sustain post-wedding and won’t provide enough nutrients to maintain health. More importantly, without enough calories, the body will lack energy for big events like the bachelorette party, bridal showers, and honeymoon!
Alternative: Don’t let total calorie intake dip below 1,500 or 1,600 calories a day. Trim calories to that level with small steps: take a few less bites at meals, switch from a bagel to a whole wheat English muffin, or one slice of cheese on a sandwich instead of two. When cake and menu tasting, take just enough to determine what tastes best, no need to finish every sample.
DON’T: Over exercise
Why it’s bad: Over exercising increases risk for injury, important information for anybody planning to walk down an aisle this summer. Also, a heavy workout routine may be hard to sustain, especially if combined with too few of calories, leaving any bride-to-be sapped of energy.
Alternative: Start or pump up regular exercise, but do so gradually in the months prior to the wedding. Select enjoyable activities, like biking or swimming, and do them more often. An easy addition is to walk more; every minute walking (and not sitting) helps burn precious calories. Make sure to create a workout routine that can be maintained and adjusted for the long-term, particularly so results and routine are manageable after the big day.
DON’T: Avoid carbs and load up on proteins
Why it’s bad: The body needs carbohydrates for energy. Carbohydrates provide glucose, which powers the brain and nervous system. Cutting carbs also may cut fibre, which could result in GI problems, not the sexiest thing to be concerned about, especially on your wedding day.
Alternative: Include carbohydrates in daily intake, but be mindful of portions. Choose whole grains such as oats, popcorn, and whole wheat bread. Stay within dietary guidelines to keep amounts adequate. Most women need five grain servings, and three or more cups of fruit daily.
DON’T: Drink your calories
Why it’s bad: Alcoholic beverages, sports drinks, soda, decadent coffee beverages, and sugary beverages add calories, and oftentimes sugar and fat. Throughout the engagement there will be plenty of celebrations that include alcohol. Because drinks don’t fill up like a meal, high calorie intake is easily overlooked.
Alternative: Limit liquid calories. Read labels to avoid drinks with too many calories and sugar and/or fat. While at parties and events, limit intake to one or two drinks and alternate alcoholic beverages with non-caloric drinks. At the coffee shop, ask for drinks made with skim milk and sans whipped cream.
Our “do’s” for healthy weight loss
Create a healthful diet you can follow for life-— one that includes all the key food groups, one that’s adequate in calories and nutrients to meet the bride-to-be’s individual needs, and a diet or pattern of eating that is safe, sensible and sustainable and can be followed for life and in the real world.
Small subtle changes over time really add up and can help you lose weight slowly and gradually — then you’ll have a much better chance of keeping the weight off long term and staying healthy along the way.
■ Skip a few bites at meal times, watch liquid calories and have no more than one drink a day (like a five-ounce glass of wine).
■ Skip soda and instead load up on water, seltzer, and only have skim/1% milk and up to one cup a day of 100 per cent fruit juice like orange juice.
■ Eat only at a table, when you’re truly hungry, and eat until satisfied and not full.
■ Keep things like breath strips and sugar-free mints to have on hand to pop in your mouth at meals when you’ve had enough.
■ As much as possible, plan all meals and snacks ahead of time to get rid of guesswork (and the potential for choosing less healthful, more caloric foods) when it’s time to eat.
■ Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods and include small portions of lean meats and fish.
■ Beans, nuts and seeds daily are also helpful.
■ Keep treats to a minimum — like 100 or 200 calories a day.
For more hints and tips on healthy eating and wedding planning, check out our other blog posts