All of us at some point may have felt the pressure or need to diet, but brides, their grooms, and other guests may feel an enhanced urge to shed a few pounds before the big day. We just got through the first few weeks of the New Year, the part of the year where we redeem ourselves for the splurge from the past year’s holidays, and start fresh. Whether or not you have tried a diet yourself, I assume most people are familiar with dieting; magic weight loss pills, and cleanses. Who can honestly say, “I love dieting! I love not feeling satisfied! I love feeling guilty when I slip up and eat that stupid piece of chocolate!” No one.
Other than the fact that dieting is physical and emotional torture on our bodies (and possibly wallets - cleanses and pills are expensive and not conducive to a wedding budget), dieting does not work! Well, let me rephrase that last statement. In a short time frame people can be successful on a diet and lose some weight. However, rarely anyone can maintain a diet for a lifetime, and even if you could, why would you want to? In dieting, or cleansing, or whatever other measures you choose to take, you may not be providing your body with sufficient nutrients. Think of your body like a beautiful car. Cars will not run without fuel – just as our bodies will not run without fuel, or food. We must properly fuel our body if we want it to perform. Or if you are not feeling the car metaphor, lovely lilies and hydrangeas will begin to wilt without sufficient water. Not eating enough, or enough of the right nutrient-dense foods will cause our bodies to become fatigued. Fatigue prevents us from doing the things we want or need to do - like planning our wedding, being active, working, and enjoying the winter sunshine. Just to clarify, when I say nutrient-dense food, I am talking about whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and low fat dairy products - not a dense piece of German chocolate cake.
We cannot meet our weight loss goal and just go back to doing what we have always done…which was what got us into the predicament of needing to lose weight in the first place. If we always do what we've always done then we will always be what we've always been.
Weddings are a major life event, an event that will be photographed and remembered for a lifetime. Why not make a lifestyle change that will last as long as the memory of your wedding. A lifestyle change is something that we will be able to maintain throughout our lifetime – by itself it is not drastic or earth shattering, but over time will add years to your life, and quality to those years.
So how do we go about making a lifestyle change?
- Start with something that really matters to you – not media, not your friends – just you. Choosing something that really matters to you keeps you motivated to maintain the change.
- Start small. You do not want to make a huge change that cannot be achieved – that is essentially what dieting is all about. An example of a small change may be switching from a grande mocha with whip cream (330 calories) to a tall mocha without whip cream (200 calories). This small change would save you 130 calories each cup. Say you did this small change 4 days a week, that would save you 520 calories a week or 2,080 calories a month, or 24,960 calories a year. This minor change would save you from gaining over 7 pounds throughout one year! You are not eliminating your daily coffee; you are just modifying the size. This would be a change you could maintain for a long period of time, without feeling deprived.
- Make one change at a time. Choosing to take on too many changes at once can be overwhelming. Feeling overwhelmed can cause us to give up on our goals.
- If it helps, involve a friend, or ask for help. Being surrounded by people who support your new change will help you be more successful. That may mean having a walking buddy to meet you at the park or gym, or getting your fiance on board with a small nutrition change (like switching from full fat milk to a lower fat choice.)
- Remember that NO ONE is perfect. It would be ridiculous to assume perfection for anyone. We are human. The best thing to do after a slip-up is to get right back on the horse. Do not think that just because you slipped up one time, you have to wait until Monday (or after vacation, or the holidays, etc.) to get back on the saddle. If you splurged at lunch, have a healthy dinner. Or if you haven’t exercised in a few days, get up off the couch and go for a walk.
Here's to a happy engagement, amazing wedding, perfect honeymoon, and long healthy life with your other half!