Dear Thriving Bride,
It is 11 days before my wedding, and like most brides, I want to look good on my wedding day. Actually, that’s a whole bunch of bull. I want to look fabulous! You are probably feeling the same way. You want people to say you look beautiful, which they will say no matter how much weight you did or did not lose in order to fit into that dress. Now, here’s where I want you to pay attention. I had to write about wedding diets because sometimes well-intentioned brides find that their wedding diets turn into wedding disasters.
Did you know that countless brides buy dresses that are two to three sizes too small as motivation for weight loss? Even if you are one of those women who might think this is crazy, you too are still part of the population of American women who are thinking about shedding a few pounds before your wedding. If you say that’s not true, I have a hard time believing you. It’s fine to want to lose some weight, the problems usually arise in how you handle your weight loss.
How are you not supposed to think about it? We get such mixed messages in our culture around beauty and acceptance. On the one hand, we are supposed to love ourselves as we are and on the other hand we’re supposed to do all we can to fit into a dress for one day.
According to The New York Time’s Article titled “Bridal Hunger Games”, many brides do over the top things to lose weight. In general, most statistics state that brides tend to want to lose 15-20 pounds before their wedding day. Fair enough. Who am I to tell you that you should not move towards a healthier lifestyle as you embark on this next journey of your life? But here’s the thing: crash diets, fad diets, weight loss injections and only drinking water in hopes of some miracle is not a healthy lifestyle. You are about to get married and you will need all your health and happiness. So, take care of your body!
Before I got engaged, I had a pretty healthy diet so I did not think much about weight loss. I did not think about weight loss at all. I thought about feeling great! I know I have not told you everything you need to know to understand where I am coming from, so I will tell you.
14 years ago, I was 20 years old and enjoying my summer break from college. That summer I went to Nigeria to attend my older sister’s wedding. When I returned, I found myself bedridden within a few days. I literally felt like I had been knocked down by a massive truck. Turns out I picked up a nasty bug in Nigeria that would continue to affect my life for several years.
My immune system went down the drain. I was allergic to every and any thing. I experimented with different dietary changes in order to feel better. I had a condition that would get better, then I’d be very sick. This past year, I went through a severe treatment of antibiotics, and afterwards my system was so overloaded that my doctor told me I could only feel better if I did not eat sugar for least a month before the wedding. I stopped eating sugar, and within days I felt so much better.
I tell you all of this because as I get ready to walk down the aisle, I am thinking about feeling well and energized and less about what the scale says. I’m not telling you this to say that you should not consider shedding a few pounds if you really feel that this will add to your health on your big day. What I am saying i that if you focus on being healthy and feeling good on that day, you will most likely lose weight and feel great at the same time. So, here are a few things I’m doing to feel great on my wedding day:*
1. Drink 6-8 glasses of water with lime every day. Lime has so many benefits. It has helped to balance the PH levels in my body after so many antibiotics, keep my immune system strong, and so many other things as well.
2. Sweat every day, but make sure it is something you enjoy doing. You can go running, go to yoga or go to a class at the gym. I love to sweat everyday, so do it!
3. Decrease your sugar intake. Most foods end up turning into sugar in our bodies, but this is especially true for artificial sugars. I think it’s a recipe for disaster if you cut sugar out all together, so focus on cutting out artificial sugars. By the way, you can still get a sweet taste with natural (I don’t like artificial) sweeteners. I love Agave Syrup, an all natural sweetener that just hits the spot. A teaspoon is enough for your cup of coffee in the morning.
4. Swap out processed grains for whole grains. Brown rice instead of white rice anyone? How about whole wheat pasta in place of regular pasta? The nutritional value is a lot higher, and you get more energy from these foods as well. Enough said!
5. Ask your partner to help you get there. I asked for PJ’s help since I’ve been on my “ridding my system of antibiotics” diet, and he has been very helpful. Let your partner know that you are doing this to feel great on your special day, and have a conversation about how he can help you.
6. Do Yoga! I have been a runner since I was pretty young, and usually I prefer exercise when I am outdoors and in my running shoes, but I do have to make an exception with yoga. It helps your mind and your body. Now, how can you go wrong with that?
7. Change your mindset. Instead of thinking about being on a “wedding day diet”, think about the fact that you are creating a healthy lifestyle now and for the future.
8. Get enough sleep! Feeling great on your wedding day isn’t just about what you are putting into your body, but what you are doing to it as well. Of course you are busy with wedding planning and working as well, but you’ve got to let your head hit that pillow as many times as you can during this journey. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain and hypertension. I don’t think you want to go down that road!
9. Don’t forget to enjoy, but don’t indulge. Basically, as soon as you get engaged everyone will want to celebrate with you in one way or another. I think the whole “none for me please” response usually makes you want the whole box later. I won’t be able to do anything for you when your fiance finds you locked in a closet scarfing down the extra box of cupcakes. This attitude usually leads to emotional eating, and you know what happens when you eat instead of expressing how you are feeling. So, listen now! Just have one, savor it and move on.
The point of this whole thing is that you’ve got to be healthy and full of energy so you can celebrate with all the loved ones around you. Sorry to bum you out, but last time I checked carrot sticks don’t give you much energy!
*Disclaimer: All and any of these tips are things that I am doing to stay healthy for my wedding and they simply represent my opinions based on what has helped me stay healthy. I am not a medical doctor and am not advising you from that perspective, so please check with your medical practitioner before doing any one of these things and just to make sure you are generally healthy overall.