Be Realistic About A Wedding Diet

Frantic to lose some pounds before your wedding? No matter what the ads for pills, tonics or fad diets might tell, there’s only one way to lose weight safely, and that’s a combination of nutritious eating and regular exercise.

Most of us know the basics of watching our weight: eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, and avoid sweets, fried and fatty foods. Plus many of us could benefit from drinking more water every day to serve our bodies, which are 75 percent water.

Exercise also plays an essential role in weight loss, for many reasons. For instance, dieting without exercise often leads to the loss of lean muscle tissue rather than fat as the body uses lean muscle for energy. You want to hold on to the lean tissue, however. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that stress contributes to weight gain, and we all know that getting ready for a wedding is a time of high stress. So exercise not only puts your body in the right shape, it helps reduce the stress that comes along with pre-wedding activities.

So to lose a safe range of 1 to 2 pounds a week, an average-sized woman should keep her daily calorie intake to about 1,200 calories. Do the math, and it quickly becomes apparently that if you want to lose 20 pounds or more for the wedding, you’ll have to start eating for weight loss at least 6 months beforehand.

To set yourself up for success, follow these guidelines:

1)Pick a good start date for your new diet and exercise regimen to achieve the desired results in time for your wedding.

2)Prepare for your diet by ridding your pantry of any foods that might sabotage your healthy eating plan. Donate problem foods (biscuits or crisps, anyone?) to a local food charity, not to your bridesmaids or your mother!

3)Stock up on nutritious foods. Make a standard shopping list and buy only the foods on the list.

4)As your start date approaches, begin a food diary listing what kind of food you eat, how much and when you eat it, and any emotions connected with your eating. This will help you become aware of your eating habits, including emotion triggers.

Next, assess your fitness level so you’ll start your exercise routine safely. If you have a personal trainer, you can ask for a fitness assessment that measures the ratio of fat to muscle, your cardiovascular fitness, joint flexibility and muscular strength. You can do this yourself by recording your body measurements, how long it takes you to walk or run a mile, and how many sit-ups you can do in 60 seconds.

The best exercise program for weight loss and overall health is one that combines aerobic exercise with strength and flexibility training. “Big muscle” aerobics are recommended for weight loss. These include swimming, cycling, walking, running, hiking, or cross-country skiing. Resistance training, using low weights at first, builds up muscles. Finally, you must stretch after any exercise to increase your flexibility and protect yourself from muscle injury.

The final hurdle is the hardest: Sticking to your new program. After all, these are habits not just for your wedding day, but also to ensure a long and happy life with your beloved. In fact, why don’t both of you start on the plan together, so you can support and encourage one another now and through the years? That’s a plan to get you to your 50th anniversary and beyond!