Your bridal body begins now
Spring wedding on the way? Saying 'I do' in summer? It may be mid-winter now but summer bodies are made in winter – and so are wedding-day waistlines.
With a few months to go before the big day, now is the ideal time to devise an effective eating plan to shed kilos, maintain your weight, or shape up to ensure you feel fit and fabulous in your wedding dress – and on your honeymoon.
The question is, where to begin? With a hefty wedding-planning load and a raft of quick-fix diets promising rapid results, it can be tough to find a plan that works with your busy lifestyle and delivers lasting weight loss or weight management rather than a last-minute crash diet. After all, no one wants to turn up 'hangry' as they walk down the aisle.
Linda O'Bryne, nutritionist with Atkins Nutritionals, the original low-carb eating experts, has put together some tips to get your pre-wedding diet plan started – based on reducing your carbohydrate and sugar intake - to ensure you see lasting results in time for the big day, and for anniversaries to come.
Make a plan
Just as you plan your table settings, flowers and photography, you should plan your weight loss. Gaining weight takes time, and losing weight can take a little too, especially if you want to keep it off – so don't leave it until the last minute!
Think long-term loss – not fad fasting
By choosing a diet plan that encourages eating readily available whole foods, such as lean meats, leafy green veggies, and low-sugar fruits such as berries and wholegrains, you'll find it easier to stay on track than with plans which require you to purchase every meal. It's also important to eat meals that are satisfying so you'll be less likely to crave sugary snacks, rather than starve yourself on a soup diet and then blow it all at the burger bar when it gets too tough.
Love is in the air – do it in a pair
Could your betrothed trim down a touch before the big day too? Or your bestie? Why not make losing weight a team effort. By pairing up, especially with your partner, you'll find it easier to make healthy eating a natural part of your marriage. Plan meals together, go shopping for ingredients and make cooking tasty, healthy dinners on date night. If your fiancé happens to be super slim already, rope your Mum or maid of honour in for moral or carb-counting support.
The pantry purge
Whatever your willpower, leaving the pantry packed with binge-worthy foods or filling the fridge with processed high-carb, sugary snacks is setting yourself up for failure. Before you begin your Atkins journey, get rid of foods likely to sabotage your weight loss efforts and stock up on fresh vegetables, lean meat, fish and healthy fats, such as avocados, almonds, and olive oil.
Make a habit of planning your weekly meals and shopping for ingredients at the start of each week to minimise the chance of last-minute takeaways or fast-food deliveries at the end of the day. You can even do a weekend cook-up and freeze favourites ahead of time.
Don't skip meals
The more meals you skip, the more likely you'll binge eat afterwards. Rather than missing meals, try to focus on portion control and eating small, nutritious meals throughout the day such as high-fibre veggie sticks, eggs, chicken and lean meats. Avocados and nuts are great snacks and Greek yoghurt topped with berries and silvered almonds makes a super-speedy, healthy (and yummy) breakfast.
Breakfast is best
We have to agree, breakfast is the most important meal of the day – even though it's also the most likely to be skipped. A healthy breakfast jump starts your metabolism and keeps you feeling full for longer. Short on time? Make a tasty brekky quiche ahead of time, or snack on fruit and an Atkins bar on-the-go when you're short on time.
Tasting food and cakes is one of the most enjoyable parts of wedding planning, and just because you're trying to trim down doesn't mean you should miss out. Sample away before the big day, but make sure that on those tasting days, you pay close attention to sticking with healthy low-carb meals before and after – or go for an extra run or exercise class to make up for those delicious desserts.
You've probably got a wedding folder, or planning app, right? Well, just as you keep track of your costs, orders and suppliers, keep track of your consumption too. Atkins provides free support tools such as meal planners and carb counters to help monitor progress.
Establish a wedding workout
Building your wedding day body is about more than just healthy eating, it's also about moving – and the best way to ensure you'll stick to your exercise plan is to find a workout that works for you – and that you enjoy. Whether it's dance, cycling, netball or bushwalking, exercise will help keep your stress levels and your waistline in check. Join an activity with your partner or wedding party if you're more motivated to go along in a group.
ABOUT ATKINS: Scientifically formulated for safe and effective weight loss, weight management and healthy lifelong eating, Atkins is an easy to follow, flexible four-phased program (start at the phase that best suits you) that helps you build a diet around whole foods rich in vitamins and 'good carbohydrates' including low sugar fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, dairy, good fats, and protein (fish, poultry, meat and tofu) – while at the same time helping you eliminate highly processed carbs such as white flour and sugar. For further information visit atkins.com