You’re newly engaged and experiencing one of the happiest times in your life. You created wedding mood boards, scheduled champagne dates with your girlfriends, and have started to design save the dates. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks shattering your bridal bliss — you have to go on a diet.
Does this sound familiar? Many of my bridal clients have experienced similar moments, and apparently they’re not alone. A study from Cornell University suggests that up to 70% of brides desire to lose weight before their big day, with many women turning to extreme and dangerous methods of weight loss.
Yet crash diets, counting calories, and depriving yourself of nutrition during your engagement is not the answer to a bridal-babe-body or long-term health. If you are looking to get fit, improve your digestion, or simply feel better before the big day, I encourage you to ditch the diets and follow these four simple healthy eating practices.
1. What works for your friends may not work for you.
Your wedding will be a reflection of your unique self, and so should be your diet. One person’s food can be another person’s poison, which means the type of food that suits your best friend, or your favorite celebrity, may not be right for you.
What you should be eating is determined by your age, race, blood type, lifestyle, digestive strength and level of activity, not by the latest magazine trends. Start by focusing on what food makes your body feel great, and those that don’t, to design your perfect, bio-individual bridal meal plan.
Begin your own wellness plan by writing down and reflecting on how you feel. Write down every meal that you eat and how it made you feel:
Energetically – has it made you feel tired, energized or over-buzzed?
Physically — do you feel uncomfortable, such as bloated, constipated or experiencing heartburn, or do you feel satisfied with a calm stomach and no uncomfortable symptoms?
Emotionally — did it change your mood for better or worse? Did it make you happy or sad? Did it cause feelings of guilt or regret?
The food that you need to eat more of makes you feel energized, satisfied, calm and happy.
2. Break the diet industry rules.
There are so many diet industry rules telling you what you can and can’t eat, many of which are contradictory. Fad diets come and go as frequently as wedding trends, but fortunately you don’t need to keep up. Listen to your body to determine which recommendations, if any, make you feel healthy and energized, and then leave the rest.
To find the best eating plan for you, write a list of every nutrition “rule” that you are trying to follow, such as dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, raw, cooked, juiced, paleo, vegan, high-protein, no eating after 9pm, and so on.
Spend a couple of days testing each theory to discover what works for you. Keep in mind that you are the creator of your own lifestyle, which means that you can pick-and-choose from different “rules” to find your perfect nutritional match.
3. Adopt a mindful eating practice.
Do you overeat? Do you struggle with portion control? Have you ever devoured a whole bag of potato chips without even noticing? If so, you need to adopt a mindful eating practice.
When we eat, the brain must experience the pleasures of taste, sensation and aroma to signal to the body that it is properly satiated at the end of a meal. When we eat too fast, or fail to notice what we’re eating, the brain interprets this missed experience as hunger, causing us to overeat.
Mindfulness brings awareness to the act of eating, which aids digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and helps your body to register when it’s had enough. Think of this as internal portion control.
Start your mindful eating journey by being awake at your plate for at least one meal today. Start by minimizing external distractions and don’t use the computer, phone, or television while eating. Then, chew your food properly, aim for 10–15 chews per mouthful. And don’t forget to place your silverware down in between bites.
4. Everything in moderation.
You are experiencing a time in your life that is one of celebration, so it’s unrealistic to think that you would eat perfectly everyday before the wedding. Let’s be honest, why would you want to? By allowing yourself a small treat every day you’ll easily prevent the urge the binge.
With a little awareness, self-exploration, moderation and mindful eating you will attain the bridal body of your dreams while still enjoying tasty treats during your engagement.
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