There's enough to think about on your wedding day - so you definitely don't want to be worrying about bingo wings or sucking in your stomach for photos! Many brides embark on new diet and exercise routines in a bid to tone up and slim down for that all-important wedding dress, but with so much conflicting advice it can be hard to know where to begin.
With all eyes on future bride Meghan Markle, the soon-to-be royal has reportedly been following daily yoga workouts ahead of the royal wedding - and eating so well that even Prince Harry is losing pounds thanks to her healthy influence! Of course with numerous ways from workouts to lifestyle changes that you can make to ensure you're looking and feeling your best on your big day, it can be hard to know where to start. We've caught up with a couple of experts to give you the lowdown on the best ways to get in shape for your wedding...
Avoid alcohol, sugar and refined carbs
There's no getting away from it, if you want to look your best on your wedding day, you're going to have to ditch the ready meals. Katie Hipwell, Nutritionist at Almased UK, says the three key things brides should avoid in the lead-up to their big day are alcohol, processed food (usually high in sugar, salt and saturated fat) and refined carbohydrates. A great start is to swap white bread, white rice and white pasta for their wholegrain counterparts.
You may also want to consider trying meal replacement drinks such as Almased, which will ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need without having to spend your precious wedding planning time cooking or prepping diet-friendly meals. "Germany's No.1 meal replacement* is very quick to prepare and can easily fit into a busy lifestyle, during times of wedding prep. If brides have a weight loss goal in mind, they can achieve this with Almased," Katie said, explaining that the drink is "calorie-controlled, but nutrient-rich, containing high-quality nourishing ingredients - soya, yogurt and enzyme-rich honey. It also provides essential amino acids, enzymes for digestion and is fortified with vitamins and minerals."
Not only is this meal replacement fortified with the vitamins and minerals you need to support energy levels (1), reduce tiredness and fatigue (2) and improve appearance of skin, hair and nails (3), it is also gluten-free, vegetarian and suitable for those with diabetes. Almased is a clean product, with no artificial flavours, fillers or preservatives, making it an ideal weight loss aid in the lead-up to your big day.
Eat lots of fruit and veg for great skin
It's not all just about weight loss; eating a healthy, balanced diet will leave you with a radiant glow that no amount of makeup can provide. According to our nutritionist, the best way to get glowing skin is "by following a whole food, fibrous diet - diets that are unprocessed, high in fruit and veg, wholegrain carbohydrates, plant-based proteins and lean meats."
So, up your intake of fruit and vegetables, aiming to eat a variety of different types. "In particular, foods with purple skins, (berries, purple cabbage, aubergine), leafy greens, sweet potatoes, peppers and tomatoes," Katie advises. "These contain high amounts of carotenoids which have antioxidant properties as well as vitamin A (4) which contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin." You'll also find that eating more essential healthy fats (found in foods such as oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds), and reducing your alcohol and caffeine consumption will help you to achieve that beautiful bridal glow.
Reduce stress by getting active
Of course, along with a healthy diet, you'll want to ensure you're following a regular exercise routine. Not only will this help aid any weight loss, but it can also improve blood flow to the skin and improve your mood, making it a great stress reducer when wedding planning all gets a bit too much. "Brides would benefit from doing a combination of cardio (running, swimming, cycling) and resistant, conditioning training (weights, yoga, pilates)," Katie said.
Drinking Almased will also benefit your exercise routine. The product, which has been voted the Most Trusted Weight Loss Brand (5) in Germany, contains more protein than any other meal replacement in the UK, meaning no hunger pangs and you'll get the protein you need for muscle repair and growth after your workouts.
Give yourself as long as you can
Celebrity trainer Jane Wake agrees, advising brides to start focusing on exercise as early as possible to ensure the best results. "Many brides get so hectic in the last few months in the run up to the big day so I definitely think the longer you give yourself the better, and definitely don't leave it until the last minute" Jane says. "When you book your wedding day you should also be booking in regular time to spend on looking after yourself, and that includes your workout program. So if you've got a year - use it! The absolute minimum time to make a significant difference is 12 weeks, but factor in that in the last month before the big day your time is likely to be a little short and you're less likely to be able to maintain the same level of exercise - so build to a peak a month before your wedding and then you can survive on a maintenance program which is slightly less intense in the run up."
Almased offer two different diet plans depending on the amount of time you have to achieve your goals; the 14-day plan is ideal for quick and effective weight loss before your big day, or if you have a little more time, the long-term plan will help those with greater weight loss goals.
Get long, lean muscles with Pilates
Jane recommends avoiding isolated bulking moves and instead trying dynamic Pilates and yoga classes, which will help you to develop lean muscle and improve your posture. "Posture is everything and you need to practise walking tall with good posture," the trainer said. "Good posture is so slimming on the waist, and in addition to some good deep core work will make you look amazing in your dream dress. We practice dynamic Pilates, where we work on not only toning all these muscles but also lengthening the muscles that shorten you and pull you into poor postural positions- giving you a long and lean look. I'd recommend Pilates all the way if you want to achieve this look."
Commit to the three Cs
You could also invest in a couple of sessions with an experienced personal trainer, who will give you a programme to follow that will help you to achieve your goals. Last but not least, Jane says you should adopt the 'Three Cs'. She explains: "Consistency is key - find exercise that you can keep going with and maintain 3-5 x week. Challenge your body by upping what you do. Always be in control - you want to push but always feel you've got this! An injury is the last thing you want."
Helping you to maintain consistency are Almased's new single-serving sachets, which you can always carry around with you and enjoy on the go, ensuring you don't slip up and break your healthy diet.
REAL LIFE BRIDAL TRANSFORMATION:
Ina lost six stones through a combination of Almased and exercise. Her wedding day was her motivation. She reached a healthy weight and continued to maintain it by replacing one evening meal with Almased.
"After I started training for my new job I found myself getting bigger and bigger. In the evening, because I felt stressed, I just stuffed myself with anything I could get my hands on. I was horrified when I stepped onto the scales and decided it was time to do something especially as I was getting married the following year," she said. "I started using Almased, losing weight gradually and at a healthy rate. I began to see an improvement in my fitness by combining Almased with exercise. Following my weight loss, I continued taking an Almased drink in the evening, simply because it made me feel so good. Almased helped me reach my ideal weight in time for my wedding day. It was the best day of my life!"
* IMS Health (2016)
- 1) B12 contributes to normal energy release
- 2) Folate aids in the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
- 3) Zinc supports the maintenance of normal skin, hair and nails
- 4) Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin
- 5) Reader's Digest. Trusted Brands 2018. Germany.