the a to z of bridal health and diet
Here’s the skinny to looking and feeling your best on your big day!
A is for… Alcohol
Packed with empty calories and sugar, your weekend binge might just be what’s stopping you from hitting your goal weight. Simply put: you booze, you lose.
B is for… Boot camp
Sign up for a group training programme or find a fitness buddy to train with. Let’s be honest, a little bit of competition does us good and a boot camp full of girls just like you wanting to tone up and lose weight is great motivation, and not to mention a lot of fun!
C is for… Cortisol
The stress hormone cortisol is responsible for dumping fat around the belly area, as well as increasing your appetite. Stress eating is not just a myth – especially for a bride trying to coordinate her big day! Book in for a massage, do some yoga and make time to chill out before you burn out.
D is for… Dumbbells
Pick them up. And not the 2kg ones, either. When it comes to the bridal body, beautiful arms are right up there. Strength training is essential for melting fat, toning up and increasing your metabolism long after you’ve left the weight room floor.
E is for… Estimation
Learn to control your portions and develop an eye for the right serving sizes. Commit these visuals to memory:
- A serving of lean meat = a deck of playing cards
- ½ a cup of fruit, vegetables or grains = a tennis ball
- A block of cheese = a matchbox
- Salad = should make up half of your plate
F is for… Fitness
Come on, there’s no excuse. Get out there and improve your fitness for your big day. You and your significant other should make this part of your daily routine.
G is for… Goals
Write them down and put them where you can see them: on the fridge, in your diary, on your desktop – wherever! Mental repetition and visualisation is half the job done.
H is for… Hydration
Studies have shown that drinking water can slightly increase your caloric burn rate. Researchers estimate that sipping six extra glasses a day can burn up to 17 400 more calories a year! Plus it clears your skin, fills you up and is a natural detoxer.
I is for… Interval training
Pick your cardio of choice (bike, elliptical, treadmill, pool, rowing machine, walking or running) and then alternate a moderate pace with a few minutes of going all out as hard as you can. You’ll burn more calories, increase your metabolism and get fitter than you would plodding along the treadmill for thirty minutes at the same pace.
J is for… Journal
Writing down what you eat helps to track eating habits and make healthy changes. Remember three things when keeping a food journal: write down everything immediately, be honest about what and how much and make a note of how you were feeling at the time: happy, relaxed, stressed?
K is for… Ketosis
This is the fat-burning state that your body goes into when you cut out carbohydrates. Restricting your carb intake is a great way to kick-start a diet, but after dropping those initial kilos it’s okay to have a bit of bread and pasta again (in moderation).
L is for… Liquid breakfast
Replace your usual toast or cereal with a protein shake and see how it keeps you fuller for longer.
M is for… Moves to suit your dress
Tailor your workout to suit your dress style. For a fishtail dress, work your bum and thighs; for a strapless dress, work on your back, shoulders and arms; for a short dress, concentrate on your calves.
N is for… No excuses
Just ten minutes a day is better than nothing. If you really can’t face it, throw yourself on the floor and do a few sit-ups, and then some housework to burn extra calories.
O is for… Organisation
A good diet doesn’t just happen. You need to plan your meals for the week ahead, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and stock the fridge and pantry.
P is for… Persistence
Persistence pays in the end – remember your goals!
Q is for… Quinoa
Pronounced keen-wa, this super grain has more hunger-taming protein and fibre than other whole grains, and has a wholesome, nutty taste. Swap it for white rice or couscous, or add it to your salad.
R is for… Rest
Give your body and mind time to relax and do what makes you happy. Healthy body, healthy mind.
S is for… Skipping
Skipping is one of the most underrated fat burners out there. It can be done anywhere, anytime and is no longer confined to the playground. Skipping will help improve cardio-respiratory fitness, flexibility and hand-eye co-ordination, and it also activates the core. As a high-impact exercise, skipping is great for building bones and great to trim hips, thighs and bums..
T is for… Tea
The antioxidant benefits of green tea will also help bust fat, because it acts as a natural appetite suppressant. The catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells, which slows the rise of blood sugar and prevents high insulin and subsequent fat storage. And when your blood sugar is more stable so is your hunger.
U is for… Upside-down yoga
Aerial Yoga combines aspects of traditional yoga, Pilates, aerial arts and strength training to increase strength, mobility and flexibility. The class consists of floor work and aerial exercises, stretches and relaxation, and focuses around a low-lying soft fabric hammock which is suspended from the ceiling.
V is for… Vitamin D
Naturally available in very few foods, vitamin D is easily gained from a bit of good old sunshine. If you’re inside most of the day a vitamin D supplement might be a good idea.
W is for… Weekend control
You’re totally controlled Monday to Thursday, but come Friday night you’re ordering a pizza and sipping on cocktails… sound familiar? Don’t sabotage your hard work with two or three days of what you think is rewarding yourself.
X is for… X-Factor moves
Don’t forget to dance! Sign up for a dance class like ballet, pole dancing or Zumba. If your fiancé is keen, look into dance classes so you can wow your guests with your first dance as well as burn some calories while practising.
Y is for… Yes, yes, yes!
It sounds too good to be true, but sex is actually a great calorie burner! It also reduces stress, boosts the immune system and releases feel-good hormones such as endorphins and oxytocin. Half an hour of between-the-sheets action burns 85 calories on average – need we say more?
Z is for… Zzzz
When you skimp on sleep, your brain thinks you’re low on fuel and sends a message to your stomach to start growling. Want to stay slim? Go to bed.