#BuroBrides: How to debloat and look your best before the big day
About to embark on that new fad diet to lose more than a couple of pounds before your nuptials? Before you start adding butter into your coffee, hit the pause button and rethink your diet strategy—do you want to look good for the big day and continue on a healthier route to a wholesome lifestyle after the wedding? If your answers are yes and yes, read on for pro advice on how you can fit your dress perfectly sans a bloated tummy (or face!)
While bloating happens over the span of a few days, and is attributed to gas and water, gaining weight is a whole other topic entirely. Below, we speak to nutritionist, gourmet caterer and chef Alexandra Prabaharan on the best foods to eat before the wedding, along with debloating tips that are useful for your wedding day and beyond:
1. Would you recommend brides-to-be to go on detox diets before the wedding?
Yes and no. While I do not recommend extreme crash detoxes or diets, I would suggest cutting out processed foods, sugars and anything that causes bloating or that is hard to digest. Changing the diet to something more plant-based and easy on the digestion tract will ensure that you are not bloated and you'll have clear skin, eyes and shiny hair.
I recently developed a seven-day cleanse with nutritionist and fitness trainer, Marissa Parry. On this cleanse we recommend you start the day with lemon water or celery juice. You then go on to make a fruit and vegetable smoothie that is to be consumed for breakfast and morning snack and then we deliver lunch, snack and dinner.
This cleanse is completely plant-based and is gluten-free, grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, soy-free and corn-free. Doing something like this where you don't starve but you eat wholesome and nutrient dense foods will ensure you look your best for the wedding.
2. Is calorie-counting important or necessary when it comes to eating healthy?
It is best to be on a caloric deficit if you'd like to look your best on the big day. Eat foods that will deliver big on nutrients that will ensure your skin and hair glows. I suggest cutting out refined carbs and sugar; and eating a variety of colourful vegetables and oily fish such as salmon, sardines and cod.
If you aren't able to find healthy meals around then use an app so that you have access to a calorie counter—this gives you an idea of how many calories you'll be taking in with each meal. This way even if you can't eat the right foods you can ensure you have a calorie deficit by consuming the right portions.
3. How early on before the big day should a bride-to-be start on a healthy eating plan?
Give it at least a month so that your body has time to adapt to the new eating plan and that you will look and feel your best. If you're pinched for time then ensure you have at least 14 days before the wedding to look your absolute best. Drink a lot of water during this time and cut out sugar and salt from your diet so that your body doesn't retain water unnecessarily—then you will beat the bloat.
4. What kind of foods would you recommend for the said eating plan?
Eat fermented foods such a yogurt, tempeh and kimchi in the month before the wedding to boost the good bacteria in your system. This also helps combat the bad bacteria which makes bloating an issue. Snack on celery as it's a diuretic that helps to flush the system out. Ginger and mint tea helps relieve the body from bloating and wind so that you'd look as lean as you can.
Switch to a diet rich in baked or grilled fish with a side of steamed veggies. Start the day with a protein heavy breakfast such as eggs with sautéed spinach to ensure you have energy and aren't eating refined carbs which can make you bloat, feel lethargic and consume unnecessary calories. And most importantly—drink a lot of water.
5. What kind of foods should she steer clear of a day before the wedding?
Cut out all processed foods and sugar. Say no to chips, cookies, crisps, fries, soda, alcohol, cakes and other baked goods. All these are empty calories with zero nutritional benefits, which means your food isn't working for you to promote a lithe figure, a boost of energy, glowing skin and more.
6. Are there any apps or online websites that you can recommend to keep track of one's eating habits?
I personally use Healthify Me to help keep track of my calories and movement. It also offer packages that give you access to working with a dietician or a personal trainer to hit your specific health and fitness goals. Working with brides-to-be is something they are very familiar with as well.
If you don't have time to pack your meals for lunch or if the food options around you aren't healthy, order from a site such as Nourish Me and get your meals with macronutrient counts delivered to your office.
7. Can brides-to-be include cheat meals or days in their diet before the big day?
I would stay away from cheat days and/or meals during the month leading up to the wedding. Just one day can set you back in your efforts and will leave you feeling demotivated. Picture yourself on your wedding day looking trim and healthy with luscious locks and glowing skin— all this is possible by cutting out processed foods and sugar. Don't derail it with just one day of pleasure.
8. What are some of the biggest dietary no-nos that women do when it comes to embarking on a weight loss plan?
I've seen some women commit to extreme dieting and that is not what I would recommend, no matter what your goal is. It's important to learn how to make healthy eating part of your lifestyle instead of something that is not sustainable.
Extreme diets may lead you to lose weight in the short term but you'll usually gain it back (and more) especially if you don't understand the role food plays in your life. Work with a nutritionist or dietician to make overall lifestyle changes that you can stick to and pass this advice on to your growing family.
9. What is one advice you can give to brides-to-be with regards to sticking to healthy goals?
Think of this as a change you're making to embark on your new future with your partner and eventual kids. If you can make positive lifestyle changes for yourself, you will be able to take care of your family and ensure they too eat the right way and never have a need for a diet in their lifetime.