Wedding planning “to-do” lists seem endless at times. Choose a color palette. Pick a cake. Find a music vendor. Search for the best deal on ‘Save the Dates’ (oh, and get them out on time). And of course, find the perfect dress that makes you feel like the most beautiful bride in the world.
And while it’s ok to wait until the 11th hour to do certain things on your list (like schedule your mani-pedi, get your highlights touched up, and shop for a few cute outfits for your honeymoon), getting your nutrition and fitness plan on track to rock that amazing dress on your big day is NOT something that should be left until the last minute.
As if you don’t have enough on your plate as a bride, adding in a complete overhaul to your nutrition, and trying to get to the gym seven days a week when your wedding day is quickly approaching is just NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA.
Here are three reasons why you should forgo the crash diet to reach your #weddingdaygoals:
Crash Diet Fail #1: Cutting calories doesn't always mean fat loss. Wait whhaaa? If you’re thinking that just because you “eat less” your body will automatically start burning fat, think again. Your body is a lot smarter than you may realize. When you drastically cut calories, your body will actually pump the breaks on your metabolism in an effort to conserve energy. If your body doesn’t think you’ll be eating again for awhile (which happens when you cut calories really low for long periods of time), you start to STORE body fat and burn muscle. This is because fat contains more calories than muscle, and your body wants to keep the highest calorie energy source around to make sure it can function with less calories coming in. No fair, right?
Fit Bride Tip: Instead of cutting calories drastically, consider trying one or more of the following strategies from E Squared Health Coach, Nichole. Depending on how far out your wedding is, you can implement one or more of these tactics. ● Don’t eat anything 1-2 hours before bedtime to give your body a chance to “rest and digest” overnight. ● Instead of skipping meals entirely, try eating consistently 4x/day (i.e. breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner) rather than random grazing all day long. ● Don’t cut calories; change where your calories are coming from. A calorie isn’t just a calorie. Some calories (like sugary foods and beverages, pastries, cereal, bagels, etc.) tell your body to store fat, whereas other calories (like quality protein, veggies, berries, and healthy fats) help your body burn fat throughout the day.
Coach Nichole also recommends working with an expert to make sure that you’re measuring true “fat loss” versus just weight loss (which could be from water or muscle). You want to make sure any changes you’re making are truly driving fat loss and/or muscle gain versus just losing weight. The best way to do this is to measure your body composition (aka your body fat percent) in addition to your weight.
Crash Diet Fail #2: You’re already stressed! “Dieting” will likely make you feel worse, not better. Most brides don’t make it all the way to the altar without periods of anxiety, excessive worrying, fatigue, restless nights, reliance on caffeine (and wine, anyone?), and the ongoing feeling of “wait-I-thought-wedding-planning-was-supposed-to-be-fun?” Crash dieting is going to add MORE stress to the mix, not less. Now, might you feel a little hungry or have to practice some self-restraint when getting in shape for your wedding? Sure! But when you crash diet, you will likely feel drained and tired throughout the day -- the feeling when all you think about is food, and you count down the days until you can eat like a normal person again.
Fit Bride Tip: Instead of crash dieting, follow these guidelines to choose what and how much to eat throughout the day, rather than just eating less of everything.
E Squared Health Coach, Lauren, RD recommends asking yourself the following questions each time you eat as a starting place for creating balanced meals, rather than just focusing on eating less.
1. Do you have a palm-sized portion of protein on your plate?
2. Do you have two handfuls of veggies on your plate?
3. Do you have at least a “thumb-sized” portion of fat?
4. Did you just workout? If yes, include a fist-sized portion of carbs. If not, skip the carbs for this meal.
By starting with these questions, you can begin to take the stress out of healthy eating instead of feeling like you have to start out of the gate with a super intense diet.
Crash Diet Fail #3: You might look good on your wedding day, but if you crash diet you’re more likely to gain the weight back (and then some) after your wedding. If you do decide to make more extreme changes right before your wedding (like cutting calories, drastically increasing workouts, or a combination of both), it is crucial that you know the right way to ease back into your previous eating and exercise habits to avoid putting on body fat and gaining back more weight than you lost. As mentioned above, if you drastically cut calories, your metabolism is likely to slow down to conserve energy. When the big day is over and you start eating like you did pre-crash diet and add in a lot of calories all at once, you’ll be at risk for putting on extra pounds (of fat, not of muscle). Your metabolism can be slowed down, but it can also be sped up -- if you use the right strategies.
Fit Bride Tip: Coach Andrew, Movement Specialist with E Squared Health recommends slowly adding calories (good calories, of course) back in to help boost your metabolism and avoid gaining a lot of weight all at once. Also, if you were exercising to get ready for your wedding, you will likely want to cut back some after the big day, but don’t stop all together. If you’re looking to reach a certain goal for your wedding day -- liked toned shoulders and arms for your strapless dress, a smaller waist, toned legs for your honeymoon, or just want to have more energy and shed a few pounds, we recommend partnering with an expert in nutrition and fitness to create a customized plan to help you reach your wedding day goals.
E Squared Health offers personal, 1:1 virtual health coaching to meet you where you are as an individual, help you create realistic and meaningful goals, and use realistic strategies to achieve those goals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your first appointment or schedule online at https://esquaredhealth.com/schedule/ now.
advice // E2 Health