Walking down the aisle in that beautiful wedding dress is a vision most of us have had from the time we were just children. We dream about the white lace gown hugging our perfectly svelte figure... Fast-forward a few years, and our busy lives can often take a toll, possibly resulting in a body we may not have envisioned for the big day! We all want to feel our best on our wedding day, and I’m happy to tell you that no matter how close (or far) that date is, nor how far you feel from your ideal physique, it’s not too late to start taking steps toward a healthier, happier, leaner you!
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! While this may seem simple (and it is), it’s incredibly impactful for a few reasons. Number one, the mechanism in our brains often mistakes thirst for hunger. When we think we are hungry, chances are we just need to gulp down some H2O. So before you reach for a handful of crackers to satisfy your cravings, try drinking a large glass of water first. Wait about five minutes and your cravings will most likely subside, leading to less overeating and more effective fat burning during the weeks of wedding prep. In addition to curbing cravings, sufficient water consumption will keep your mind clear and skin glowing. As a standard rule of thumb, aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
2. Reduce sugar intake. I say "reduce" for a reason, because anytime we attempt to cut something out of our diets, we are more likely to think about and obsess over it! Instead of cutting processed sugar cold turkey, try minimizing your intake to a sweet snack just once or twice per week. Not only will this help you cut your calories, it will keep your cravings under control and your mood more stable. No one wants to turn into a Bridezilla.
3. Reduce sodium. Many of us don’t realize the impact sodium has on our bodies! Not only does it increase blood pressure, but it makes us bloated and puffy! I was guilty of this myself. For years, I didn’t realize why my ankles were swollen and my fingers were like sausages by 5PM every night. Once I discovered sodium was the culprit, I reduced my intake and my life changed. Leading up to your wedding, try to keep your sodium levels at 1,500 milligrams per day. This may seem like a lot, but many premade foods are loaded with sodium, so be sure to read labels and choose wisely.
4. Move every day. Whether it’s for five or 50 minutes, set a realistic exercise goal each day and fulfill it. You’ll accelerate any weight loss you are attempting to achieve, as well as keep your endorphins pumping – and the wedding jitters significantly reduced!
5. Eat five small meals per day. Keep your metabolism stimulated by eating within 30 minutes of waking and every three hours thereafter. Smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day will keep you feeling satiated all day long without weighing you down. One rule I live by: Protein first at every meal. Protein is the most immediately satiating macronutrient and will make you feel full right away, which helps to deter overeating at meals. By eating five smaller meals, you will maximize fat burn before your wedding day and avoid blood sugar levels crashing on your big day!
Heidi Powell is a personal trainer, cohost of Extreme Weight Loss, and coauthor of Choose More, Lose More for Life. Visit heidipowell.net for more information.
Opening photo by Callaway Gable; Heidi Powell photo by Allison Tyler Jones.