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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ten Expert Weight-Loss Tips

Words by Jennifer Christman
Photos courtesy of Body Stunning Canada

Being engaged is one of the happiest and most exciting times in your life. It can also be one of the most stressful, especially when you’re worried about fitting into your dream dress/suit for your destination wedding. Fortunately, by making realistic lifestyle changes that are easy to maintain, you can look and feel great for your wedding and beyond.

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  1. Get a head start. Eating breakfast can rev-up your metabolism for the day, ensure you won’t overeat later on in the day and give you the energy you need to tackle wedding planning. Be sure to choose something with protein and fiber to fill you up and stave-off hunger for hours. A vegetable and egg-white frittata or fresh berries with cottage cheese are good ideas. In a rush and need something on-the-go? Try one of Medifast’s ready to drink shakes or bars, like our Mocha Shake or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar.
  2. Be armed with good nutrition. When you’re out touring venues, be sure to bring something healthy along to snack on. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and skip a meal, but if you go too long without eating, you may be tempted to hit the drive-thru. To prevent that from happening, keep discreet snacks in your purse like a pack of almonds or one of Medifast’s pre-portioned foods like the Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks or Parmesan Cheese Puffs.
  3. Less is more. When it’s time to do tastings and sample decadent wedding cakes, remember not to overdo it. Don’t go to the tasting hungry. Instead, eat a light and balanced meal beforehand that includes lean protein, whole grains and plenty of vegetables. Enlist the help of your fiancé, family and close friends to help you narrow down which caterer you want to go with, so that you don’t have to take too many discriminating bites. You’ll know whether or not you like the food after the first bite or two.
  4. Drink in beauty. Instead of buying expensive products and relying on your makeup artist to transform your skin, perfect your complexion naturally. Drinking water will not only benefit your skin, it will help keep your metabolism active. In addition, often times we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty, so staying hydrated can prevent us from taking in extra calories out of confusion. Fruits and vegetables are also full of water, so be sure to eat plenty of those in addition to 64 ounces of water daily.
  5. Patrol your pantry. If you’re cohabiting with your fiancé, it may be hard to keep junk food out of the house. Involve your fiancé in meal planning, make a grocery list together and stick with it. If they aren’t interested in the health benefits, remind them of the financial benefits. Controlling food choices will also control costs and make joint-budgeting easier. If they still want to have a few goodies in the house, be sure to choose ones that aren’t your favorite so you’re less tempted to indulge and make sure you have a healthy alternative. No sugar-added Greek yogurts and Medifast Brownies or Chocolate Chip Soft Bakes will satisfy your taste buds without excessive calories.
  6. Choose the best way to de-stress. After a long day of wedding planning, you may want to plop down in front of the TV for hours or lay in bed scrolling through Instagram. Instead, get your own body in better shape by engaging in physical activity. Whether it’s a scenic jog, a stroll with your dog or a full-body boot camp, be sure it’s something you enjoy so that you’re likely to stay consistent. Consider yoga, Pilates and meditation for mind-body benefits. These activities can reduce your stress and even make it easier to fall asleep.
  7. Make sleep a priority. Sleep actually regulates the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. If you don’t get enough, these hormones can become out of whack. This can make you feel hungrier and less satisfied after eating than you would if you were well-rested. Going over wedding details in your mind can keep you up all night, so find ways to make falling asleep easier. Getting physical activity can help. If that’s not enough, try taking a warm bath, keeping your room cool and comfortable, and shutting off phones, tablets and the TV a few hours before. Avoid heavy meals and alcohol later in the day and limit your caffeine intake. You can also try a natural supplement like melatonin. If you want to track your sleep time and quality, consider using a FitBit Activity and Sleep Tracker.  
  8. Make the most out of your pre-wedding events. Engagement parties, wedding showers and rehearsal dinners often focus around food – especially high-calorie dishes. Instead, try to make these events more about you and your fiancé. Keep your mouth busy by sharing stories about your relationship and keep your feet moving on the dance floor. If you’re able to have input into the menu, ask for fruits and vegetables, healthy dips like guacamole and hummus and lean protein like salmon and shrimp.
  9. Don’t pop the cork until your wedding night. An effective and simple way to reduce your calorie intake is to avoid drinking alcohol. Not only does it add unnecessary calories, it can dehydrate you and lower your inhibitions which may lead to eating unhealthy food. Save the calories for your Champagne toast once you’re already in your dream wedding dress.
  10. Make health a team effort. Remember you have a partner to help you through all of this! Share your goals with your fiancé and ask for his/her support. It will be twice as exciting if you can share your achievements. Take healthy cooking classes together, make a day out of picking out fresh and exotic produce from the farmer’s market, prepare healthy meals together and do couples workouts!  This will not only strengthen your body, but also your bond.

These easy tips can help you slim down for your special day in a healthy way. Avoid crash dieting which can be dangerous and ineffective, causing you to gain the weight back in a short amount of time. By practicing healthy habits that are sustainable, you can ensure you’ll be in great shape after the wedding for your honeymoon, too!

Jennifer Christman, RD, LDN: As the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Medifast, Inc., Jennifer helps to organize all of the nutrition content that goes into our marketing materials. When she is not busy keeping up on the latest and greatest nutrition information, she is helping to guide our clients and customers on their weight-loss journey. Jennifer brings 10-plus years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and is super passionate about getting you healthy.

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