This article originally appeared in the latest August issue of Foodie: Wedded to Deliciousness. Read it here!
Every bride deserves to look and feel her best on her wedding day. However, nerves can often frazzle with the amount of last minute planning and anxiety. Not to worry, we have a solution! Our health and nutrition expert Michelle Lau has prepared a guide with practical tips to make that walk down the aisle stress-free.
Here are our Dos before the “I Dos” for achieving the best you inside-out:
DO choose a workout you enjoy and commit to it.
For weight loss, cardio exercises such as running and swimming, combined with high intensity interval training are ideal. If you get bored easily exercising, try joining a group training class.
Photo credit: Heikki Siltala
DO focus on diet and find a meal plan that works for you.
You truly are what you eat. Increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables so that it fills up half your plate and decrease your intake of processed foods.
DO drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
This simple tip will keep you hydrated and help prevent you from overeating since our bodies’ signal for thirst is very similar to that of hunger.
DO eat a small snack or meal every few hours.
Consuming a small meal or snack every 2-4 hours will help maintain your blood sugar level, keep your metabolism up and prevent you from overeating.
DO eat a wholesome breakfast.
Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, it is a MUST for those who want to lose weight! Skipping breakfast will increase your likelihood of overeating when hunger pangs strike.
Photo credit: Katherine Bowman
DO get adequate sleep.
Studies have shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep are more likely to gain weight. Ghrelin, a hormone which helps control appetite, is affected by sleep quality and quantity.
Foods for radiant skin, nails, hair:
Moisturisers, scrubs, and spa treatments might make you look radiant on the outside but it’s what you put in your system that will make you look great from the inside out.
Try adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ALA, DHA, EPA) found in foods such as salmon, halibut, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed are essential for skin health and elasticity. These fatty acids also help protect against the damaging effects of sunlight by suppressing the accumulation of prostaglandin (inflammatory causing molecules).
Beans, lentils, and peas are great sources of dietary B vitamins, a necessity for normal functioning skin. Vitamin B7 (biotin) is a very important vitamin for skin health as it forms the basis of skin and hair cells.
Antioxidant-packed leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, collard greens, and other leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin A, which helps combat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, wounds, burns, and sunburns. In addition, leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, which helps reverse dark circles under the eyes, zinc that helps collagen formation and calcium that is important for healthy teeth and nails.
Photo credit: Peter Roome
Hydration is the key to healthy skin, hair, and nails. Foods like watermelon, grapefruit, and lettuces are not only high in water content but also rich in antioxidants and fibre.
Avoid salty and processed foods
Sodium is one of the most common causes of water retention around the abdominal area. Processed, packaged foods and fast foods are those with the highest amount of sodium.
Avoid carbonated beverages
Carbonated drinks (yes, that includes champagne!) causes that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Try water with lemon, or antioxidant-rich green tea if you crave flavoured drinks.
Cut down on hard to digest foods
Foods that are high in gluten or are dairy-based are harder to digest, and can lead to bloating, so keep those mitts away from breads, pastas, and baked goods!
De-puff with these foods.
Consume foods that are high in potassium, which balances sodium levels. Some potassium rich foods include bananas, beets greens, sweet potatoes, and prunes. Ginger and papaya contain protein-digestive enzymes which help reduce bloating and gas caused by protein rich foods. Natural yoghurt contains healthy probiotic bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium, which aid digestion and normalise healthy flora in the intestines, thereby preventing bloating.
Photo credit: Charles Roffey
There is no magical solution to weight loss, but what we do know is that quicker, long lasting results happen when the body gets enough calories from nutrient-dense foods.
We’ve put together a sample meal plan for the month leading up to the wedding, so that brides can indulge in healthy dishes that won’t break the calorie bank. Our sample meal plan aims for a daily calorie intake of between 1500 and 1700 calories.
Savoury Belgium Cheesy Waffle (400 calories)
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup diced bacon, ¼ cup grated low fat cheese, 1 tablespoon minced chives and 1 cup chopped baby tomatoes. Pour 1 cup waffle mix batter on waffle iron and cook, and serve with desired toppings.
Photo credit: Young Sok Yun
Mediterranean Veggie Wrap (300 calories)
Combine 1/4 cup hummus, 1 sliced tomato, 1 tablespoon feta, and 4 chopped black olives and wrap all ingredients in a whole-wheat tortilla.
BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese (400 calories)
In a blender, combine 1 cup steamed cauliflower, 1/4 cup 2 percent milk, 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt. Puree until smooth. Add cheese mixture to 1/2 cup cooked brown rice elbow noodles. Serve noodles with 2 1/2 ounces grilled chicken breast topped with 2 teaspoons barbeque sauce and 1 cup steamed green beans.
Nutty Professor Protein Bites (300 calories)
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, and 1/2 teaspoon honey. Form into 2 round bites.
The bottom line on weight loss:
Cutting 500 calories daily can help you lose a pound per week so fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy, whole grains and a limited amount of healthy fat.
Burn it off!
No sweat no gain (or, in this case, loss) as a daily 30 minutes of exercise is imperative to healthy weight loss, and to keeping the weight off afterwards! Variety is key in order to avoid a weight loss plateau, hence, commit to a combination of calorie-burning workouts such as running, swimming, kickboxing and spinning. Strength training two to three times a week will help build muscle, which consequently, helps burn fat more efficiently. We are huge fans of high intensity interval training to work all the major muscle groups, and keep adrenaline high.
Michelle is a certified nutritionist, and a wellness coach who specialises in sports nutrition and weight management. She received her Masters degree in Human Nutrition from McGill University. Check out her blog
For more details on how to look glowing and fabulous on the Big Day, visit the Foodie website