According to Brides.com, 80 percent of brides will attempt to eat less or exercise more in anticipation of their wedding. This can be challenging enough during the rest of the year, but how on earth do you manage a new weight-loss or -maintenance program during the holidays?
Celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah with friends and family is supposed to be a joyful occasion, not one that causes you more stress at the thought of losing the battle to fit into your perfect dress. So when you’re surrounded by mouth-watering turkey and stuffing, sinfully decadent hot buttered rum and eggnog, and Grandma’s homemade mincemeat pies, sitting quietly and nibbling on your celery sticks and rice cakes is probably not a reality you’re going to experience.
Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy the holiday season without losing sight of your goal to look your best on your big day.
Don’t Be Afraid To Eat
This may sound counter-intuitive, but it is important that brides don’t cut calories too much. When you diet drastically, what you’re doing is throwing your internal cues out of whack and triggering a biological response that actually causes you to overeat. According to Fit Woman, this abuse of our hunger cues also negatively affects our hormonal system. In other words, starving yourself can turn you into a ‘bridezilla’–not to mention cause health issues.
Know What To Eat
So rather than dieting or alternately binging and then eating nothing, focus on eating healthful foods that provide the body with the nutrients it needs. This is beneficial for both your physical and your emotional health. Filling up on healthy food like protein and veggies also leaves less room and cravings for dessert. So you can still enjoy Christmas dinner, but just go light on the gravy, potatoes, and stuffing. And rather than nibbling on chocolates and other sweets, be sure to have plenty of seeds, nuts, and tangerines on hand.
Treat Yourself Now and Again
Not only is acceptable to splurge on occasion, but some professionals even recommend it. They say that those who allow themselves an occasional treat are more likely to stay focused on their fitness goals in the long run. The key is to decide ahead of time which day of the week is your treat day. For example, a slice of pie at Thanksgiving, a slice of cake on Christmas or the first night of Hanukkah, and a small chocolate treat once a week between these two holidays will allow you to celebrate and enjoy your food without getting too far off track.
If your family thrives on high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sugar foods during the holiday celebrations, consider bringing your own healthy desert to the party. No one even has to know that you’re dieting! For example, this chocolate cheese cake substitutes cottage cheese for cream cheese, lowering calories and fat without losing taste. And this ginger angel food cake in another fantastic, low-cal choice.
In addition to eating correctly, part of getting into shape to fit your wedding dress includes regular exercise. Physical activity such as resistance training builds muscle which actually allows your body to burn fat more efficiently. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, but it is also more condensed, which means that while the numbers on your scale might not decrease to your satisfaction, your dress size definitely will.
Exercise can be particularly beneficial during the holiday season because it can be a fantastic stress reliever. Women’s Health Magazine notes that small intervals of regular exercise can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Since wedding planning in general can be stressful, and the regular tension produced by the holidays only adds to the problem, maintaining an exercise routine can be immensely helpful. Yoga is an especially good practice for stress relief, both for the body and the mind.
Fortunately, exercise does not have to be long to be productive. Women’s Health Magazine notes an Australian study that found that women who did high-intensity training just three days a week for 20 minutes lost more fat than those who exercised for 40 minutes at low intensity over the same time period. Engaging in 10 to 20 minutes of exercise a day can be enough to help your mood and your waistline. The holidays tend to make it difficult to keep up with an intensive exercise regime, so doing something for a few minutes a day will ensure that you do not lose the muscle mass and tone you have achieved.
Preparing for your wedding is an exciting yet stressful time. Trying to get in shape for the big day is a high priority on the list of many brides and doing so during the holidays can be a challenge. By focusing on the tips here, and remembering above all to be compassionate with yourself, you can have a fantastic holiday season without losing sight of your goals.