by Vaishali Sudan Sharma
Getting married? Have plans of crash dieting? Here’s are some healthy weight loss tips for a bride-to-be
Late last year, a very dear friend decided to get married. It was a sudden decision and there wasn’t much time for her D-day (just about 3 months). She has never been obsessed with her weight or her figure to be honest. However, on the day of her engagement, when she revealed her plans of going on a diet, it took me by surprise. Nothing wrong with that, but I would always think that there was no reason anybody needed to be dieting. Just that if she required one, then perhaps everybody under the sun should be dieting too!
I must admit that I did not notice much change in those three months except what I saw was positive. She looked pretty, her mood was great, hair looked healthy, there was a beautiful glow and above all, she looked happy-fit. So I asked her how in the world she achieved it in such short notice. Here is what she said, “Aim for 1500 calories a day. Some reasonable amount of exercise could be swimming, walking, running or even climbing up the stairs. Whatever motivates you and obviously, eating a balanced diet keeps your weight under control”.
This is how her one-day meal plan looked like —
|Breakfast||Oats with berries and nuts + 1 Orange|
|In between meals||Fruits Smoothie/ Butter Milk|
|Lunch||Roasted chickpeas/ peanuts; Green Salad with/without a slice of baked salmon as a side dish|
|In between meals||Coconut water/lemonade with a pinch of sugar and salt + an apple|
|Dinner||A bowl of vermicelli with vegetables (shredded carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions)|
My friend didn’t have a lot of weight to lose, so crash diet was a strict no-no. Instead, she opted for a healthy diet and some workout packed in her daily schedule. In fact, I reckon, ladies who try a lot with crash diets always have issues of putting back weight in doubles as soon as they stop. Take for example Riaa Gulati, 25, an ex consultant who is getting married this winters. She thinks crash diet should be avoided whatsoever. According to her, “there is a lot of pressure to look good on the wedding day. I have heard of brides who just stop eating at all and go in for crash diets. But because I’ve done that before, therefore, I feel it’s a bad idea. It’s temporary. Best way to deal with this pressure is to exercise regularly. I generally avoid carbs at night. That has surely helped me lose weight without losing the glow.”
Shweta Kshetrapal, a 27 year old PR executive follows an extremely healthy diet, which is a good mix of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Like Riaa, Shweta also consciously keeps it low on carbohydrates but her meals are rich in proteins and vitamins. According to Kshetrapal, “Water and greens is a must have for all! The best way to keep it all balanced is to eat after every 2 hours, but it has to be low in calories. It doesn’t make you hungry and keeps you full yet light.”
A good mix of hale-and-hearty food along with reasonably healthy lifestyle always goes a long way. As per Katrina James, a 30 year old Welsh with an extremely active lifestyle and an October wedding, has provided her with a good opportunity to focus on toning up her arms. She says, “I plan to wear a long dress so my focus is on arms.” James started out on the 5:2 diet and found it quite easy. She lost 2 kgs, but then she saw this research on fasting diet conducted by Bath University and decided she was best just eating healthily!
Katrina and her fiancé have just got a new house with a big garden, so they have grown a lot of their own vegetables this year. This summer most of their meals have been focused on home-grown vegetables with fish or meat, no potatoes or pasta most of the time. The couple has been gorging on carrots. She says, “It’s really good to snack on raw at work. I am also eating a lot of berries at the moment, and fresh fruits”.
I agree with Katrina. The fast diet, also known as 5:2 is all about consuming 500 calories (a day) for 2 days and eating whatever one wishes to for the next 5 days. It really works for some but according to me, is not a healthy practice. This type of diet pattern can have adverse effects on one’s lifestyle, especially if she is not used to fasting. It may lead to lethargy.
Here is what I suggest can really help in gradual weight loss :-
- High Fibre: 30 grams of fibre a day is recommended. How to include it in your diet? Add broccoli to your omelette or salad. Oat bran instead of oat meal for breakfast. One orange or sweet potato chaat as an in between snack. Mix flaxseed in yogurt for lunch. Include spinach, cauliflower or carrots in your dinner.
- Cooked Veggies: Go for non-starchy vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli
- Fruit Basket: Intake of 1 fruit a day. It could be an apple or 250 grams of blueberries/ strawberries/ raspberries
- Fishy fishy fish: Salmon and Cod are nutritious and delicious
- P is for Pulses: A bowl full of chickpeas, lentils and other legumes
- Specialist Bread: Whole wheat or rye bread
A few handy tips to ensure you don’t cheat :-
- Plan in advance: Make a list of food items mentioned in your diet chart. Accordingly, go for grocery shopping. If planning to go out for lunch or dinner, I recommend you go through the menu online. This will help you stick to your plan without regretting later.
- Opt for healthier options: Fruits and veggies rich in anti-oxidants are loaded with beneficial nutrients and have heaps of fibre. So, opt for a piece of dark chocolate over milk chocolate bars, spinach over iceberg lettuce, blueberries over banana, buttermilk over a glass of cola
- Good fat is not fattening: Some fat-rich food has Omega 3 which is not made in the body, hence, one needs to get them from their diet. Go for avocados, salmon, beans, nuts, olive oil (do not ever heat this oil much for it loses its beneficial properties).
- Count your calories: Keep a track of what you eat by logging in your daily diet. You can maintain a diet journal online on my-calorie-counter.com or other similar websites with free access to all.
Your workout regime
Exercise is not just crucial for losing weight but also to maintain lost weight. It keeps your body and mind exceptionally healthy. No less than an hour of daily workout is suggested. If you don’t feel like hitting the gym, then try some basic but highly effective exercises at home. A cocktail of 15 Squats, 10 tricep push-ups, 10 plank crawls, 10 back extensions or at least 6 yoga asanas such as Suryanamaskar, Dhanurasana, Padahastasana, Ustrasana for 5 minutes each can really do wonders!
Katrina’s daily workout routine includes yoga and gym. According to her, “I’ve added weights to my gym routine to burn calories. It will also tone up my arms.” Ria does regular cardio and circuit for an hour. However, Shweta, due to her long working hours finds it difficult to stick to an extensive workout session. She prefers a 20 minute walk after dinner extremely rejuvenating. It calms her down and puts her to good sleep.
Daily workout should be fun and definitely not boring. There are plenty of ways to make it motivating. Katerina enjoys running, and has also been borrowing her neighbors dogs to take on long walks with her. They keep her nice and occupied and make daily exercise a good fun.
As for my friend, I have got something interesting to share. She has been able to maintain that glow and happy-fitness even after all the post-wedding hullabaloo. I met her a while ago and couldn’t help asking this one eager question. “What happened to you the other day when you suddenly decided to go on a diet?” Her response took me by revelation. She said, “I didn’t do it for the wedding pictures or for the wedding attire. My fiancé has never ever created any fuss about how I look but he cares for me and it worries him to see me eating unhealthy food, also later detesting myself for it. He cares about something that is more than skin deep, you see. I did it for myself. Marriage provided an excellent platform to put my act together and become self-disciplined.”
“Getting engaged was a beautiful thing to happen in my life and marriage is the best thing ever. I am going to start a new life. I want to look my best on that special day.” Shweta puts it right. Indeed it’s about looking your best for the greatest day of your life.
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