Plus the expert tips you need to look and feel amazing on your big day
While we’re absolutely not suggesting you need to lose weight before your wedding, chances are you’re here because you want to get in shape for either your own big day or someone else’s. Hence you’ll be needing a wedding diet plan to follow during the run up.
The run up to your wedding can take its toll on your waistline (cake tasting, menu choosings, hen nights, we’re looking at you), but it’s not all doom and gloom. We spoke to Faye Townsend, Accredited Nutritionist at Protein World, to learn more about the lifestyle changes you can adopt 12, six, three and one month before your big day. She’s also shared her top tips for Marie Claire readers to keep to hand while following a wedding diet plan.
So whatever your time scale, there’s a plan of action for you. Don’t sweat it.
12 to 6 months wedding diet plan
Not only are you super organised if you’ve got this long to follow a wedding diet plan, but you have enough time make long-lasting lifestyle changes. ‘With this amount of time, you will be able to lose weight sustainably and gradually, which will hopefully result in keeping the weight off permanently.’
Below Faye has shared her best tips to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for 6-12 months before your wedding day, to ensure you look and feel your best.
Up your protein intake
Try to consume more protein than excess carbohydrates and fats. ‘Protein requires more energy to be broken down by the stomach, therefore it increases your metabolism.’ advises Faye. ‘It also helps to suppress our hunger hormone, ghrelin, which results in feeling fuller for longer, and is responsible for healing, maintaining and revealing lean muscle. It’s what will make you look toned both in and out of your wedding dress!’
So, what’s the right amount of protein for you to consume? This varies, but the general rule for weight loss is to eat 1.6g of protein per kg of body weight. ‘Our bodies can only absorb 20-30g of protein in one sitting, so you’ll need to spread this out throughout the day!
Carbs are your friend
The key with carbs is not to avoid them completely but to focus on unrefined (complex) carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa. ‘These all have a low glycemic index (GI), which means the sugar released into your body is consumed at a aslow rate,’ says Faye.
‘Meanwhile simple sugars, or refined carbs, should be avoided as they have a high GI, which means they satisfy you quicker as a sugar spike but you get hungry again pretty soon after eating them.’
Fibre = fullness
This links to the previous point because hitting your recommended daily intake of fibre is even harder if you avoid carbs. ‘An increase in fibre from fruit and grains will help you hit your target,’ says Faye.
‘These types of fibre sources usually contain minimal calories, and not only help to aid digestion, but it also takes longer to digest, which burns more calories and suppresses hunger.’
The most important meal of the day…
… Breakfast! When you’re trying to lose weight, do not skip it. ‘When we’re sleeping our bodies exhaust our glycogen (energy) stores,’ says Faye. ‘Breakfast is the first opportunity to refuel, so by skipping it our bodies go straight to the next best option, our fat stores.
‘Although it might sound great, it’s not! Fat doesn’t work as well as glycogen in providing fast energy, so it leaves you feeling more prone to fatigue. As our brains function using glycogen, it means this massively important organ won’t be operating at optimum.’ So be sure to have some porridge or a slice of whole wheat toast first thing in the morning to fire up your system.
Little and often is key
Instead of three big meals a day, try to eat five little ones throughout. ‘This will help you moderate your hunger, as it will not be as long between meals, and it also helps to regulate sugar levels, which means cravings will be curbed,’ Faye says.
They don’t all have to be ‘full blown meals’ and could instead be three meals and two snacks, she adds.
Nothing is out of bounds
It’s not about eliminating certain food groups but rather eating them in moderation. ‘Cutting anything out that makes you gain weight isn’t going to stop it from doing so when it’s reintroduced,’ says Faye. ‘The moment you start restricting foods completely, the more you crave them, and the more likely you are to lose control and binge out.
‘Hands up who’s cut out pizza then placed an order as soon as Domino’s has sent out its weekly deals? Allow yourself to have that piece of indulgence every so often. Losing weight for your wedding day doesn’t have to be a punishment, it should be seen as a positive incentive that gives you the push to stick to it. It’s not about what’s good or bad, it’s about being able to make informed decisions and creating a good relationship with food.’
3 month wedding diet plan
‘Although it might seem like a short amount of time, 12 weeks, and with some diets, even four weeks is still a long enough time to make some noticeable changes; it’s not too late to shift the unwanted inches in time for your big day,’ Faye says.
‘However, what we can’t stress enough is that fact that if you really want to lose weight for your wedding day you can do it, but one, it might not be as much as you would like, and two, starving yourself isn’t healthy or sustainable, so do not do this.’
‘A good place to start if you have around 12 weeks left would be to get a rough guide of how many calories your body actually needs. You can do this by using an online calculator to calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is an estimation of how many calories you burn per day when exercise is taken into account, and is calculated by multiplying BMR (basal metabolic rate) by activity level.
Simply consuming less calories per day than your TDEE value, will allow you to lose weight. Try subtracting 500 calories from your TDEE to lose weight even further.
It might be tempting to restrict your calories further than this, but Faye warns you should never let your calorie intake fall below 1,200 per day. Eating too little can slow your metabolism, leading to a loss of muscle and possible nutrient deficiencies, and it’ll impact your mood.
4 week diet plan
Realistically, four weeks is the minimum amount time you can change your diet and expect to lose weight. ‘Any less than this, such as juicing or liquid diets, can lead to a retention of water weight and leave you feeling heavier than you actually are,’ says Faye. She adds that short term diets require a lot of research to ensure they’re right for you and, more importantly, that they’re right for you.
‘The Protein World Slender Plan is designed to help lose weight in a healthy way, but it can also help to shift stubborn fat in a short space of time, as all the products included equal a full 28 day cycle,’ Faye adds. ‘It allows you to control your calorie intake whilst still making sure you are hitting your protein requirements and supplying your body with all the essential nutrients.
‘It includes two of your three meals a day with a choice of porridge or protein shake, and also includes supportive supplements to keep you going throughout the day.’
5 top wedding diet tips from Protein World
Finally, the brains at Protein World have shared the best pieces of advice for losing weight healthily before your wedding day. Keep these tips to hand in the run up to your big day and you’re sure to stay on track!
Manage your stress levels
We get it: What bride doesn’t stress about all aspects of their wedding day? From managing your wedding budget to browsing endless wedding dresses until you find the perfect one, planning your big day can be very overwhelming. Stress can affect both your mental and physical wellbeing as it causes an increase in stress hormone cortisol, which can impact your mood, reduce your sleep quality and make you irritable (not helpful when you’re trying to make decisions). Plus, you’re not going to be in the right frame of mind to focus on your diet and weight goals and are more likely to give up.
Make time in your busy schedule for some down time – this could be taking a bubble bath or spending 10 minutes on meditation or simple breathing exercises.
Of course, a lot of wedding planning involves food, so try to sample smartly. Keep your portion sizes small by just having one or two bites instead of finishing off the plate and going in for seconds. We know it’s exciting, but maintaining control is key.
If you are know you are going to be indulging on wedding cakes, prepare yourself and cut back on sugary foods for the next few days to get yourself back on track.
Limit your alcohol
With the run up to your wedding, there will be lots of reasons to celebrate – including the big hen do! However, it’s best to stay clear of the booze as much as possible as alcohol can be a big hinder when it comes to weight loss. Not only is alcohol extremely energy dense, but it also enhances appetite which leads to those 2am McDonalds binges. You’d be kidding yourself if you were going to stay clear of alcohol completely, so it’s best to practice some moderation with alcohol. Limiting alcohol consumption and sticking to white spirits will help to cut down the calories. G&Ts are the way forward.
Focus on the goal
Whether you’ve got 4 weeks or 12 months until your big day, try to keep your eye on the prize when it comes to weight loss. It’s so important to realise that a year will fly, and by the time you hit the four week mark; the end is in sight. You will feel so good about yourself if you stick to your goals for the big day, and hopefully by that point your diet would’ve turned into a healthy lifestyle. Don’t put things off until Monday, the earlier you start and the more persistent you are the better results will be. Try to set yourself small attainable goals – such as I will workout 4 times this week, or by my next dress fitting I will of lost X amount of weight – and it won’t feel as hard.
The wedding dress fitting
Understandably, an ill-fitting dress is one of the top 10 fears brides have on their wedding day, so if you’re toning up you need to allow for that with your gown.
Fitting into your dream dress is a great way to motivate you into shifting fat, but you need to try and avoid buying a dress that is unrealistically small. Pick a dress size that is only slightly smaller than your current weight – perhaps a dress size smaller. This way, if you do end up losing more weight than anticipated, it will be much easier to take a dress in than it is to take it out.
Prepare yourself for possible last-minute weight loss by booking a fitting a couple of weeks before your wedding and on your final fitting, avoid unwanted bloating by staying clear of salty foods and keeping hydrated.