Although weddings occur throughout the year, many couples plan their big day in May and June. Whether you’re the bride, a member of the wedding party or a guest, you’ll want to look your best this time of year. The good news is what works for the bride – healthy weight loss and exercise – works for all of us.
To help prepare the healthy way for your event, we talked to three experts – David H. Rahm, M.D., author and wellness doctor; Yvette La-Garde, nutrition expert and Chris Juergens, personal trainer. To get the inside scoop on how a bride prepares for her big day, we interviewed Samantha Martin, of Denver, CO. Her wedding is June 23rd in upstate New York.
To look and feel your best for any big event, our experts suggested that you focus on four key areas: healthy weight loss, physical exercise, nutritional supplements and stress management.
Healthy Weight Loss for Your Wedding
“Find a mate – set the date – change your diet before it’s too late!” David H. Rahm, M.D.
Samantha decided to make changes to her diet and lifestyle right after the holidays to help her get ready for her wedding.
“I knew it would be hard to start during the holidays,” said Samantha. “Then my wedding dress arrived in a giant box from Kleinfelds! With a wedding dress fitting coming up I couldn’t procrastinate anymore.”
Samantha wasn’t interested in a crash diet or just exercising like crazy for a few months then quitting. She decided to put the time and effort into creating a healthy diet and exercise plan.
“I am going to the gym more and doing a smarter workout than before, trying to eat fewer carbs and sugar which is really, really hard for me, and eating lots more vegetables,” she said.
David H. Rahm, M.D., who councils patients at his wellness clinic, approves of Samantha’s healthy approach to weight loss. “Crash diets are just knocking pounds off and don’t solve long-term weight loss. Wellness is a balance of nutrition, exercise and supplements,” said Dr. Rahm.
Dr. Rahm suggests that the moment you set your wedding date you should start working on making healthy lifestyle choices like eating healthy and exercising.
“Looking your best all comes down to what you are putting into your body,” he said. “We realize that make-up can work wonders these days but to get truly healthy-looking skin, hair, nails, eyes and lips you must be eating healthy.”
The first step that Dr. Rahm recommends to become healthier is by adding fruits and vegetables to your diet. This approach helps to “crowd out” the unhealthy foods you might be accustomed to eating. By consuming these health-promoting foods, you create a healthy glow that is universally appealing and based on a recent study, may even improve your skin tone.
“These foods contain phytonutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene which not only give your skin a healthy glow but help protect your skin from damaging UV light. Also, fruits and vegetables are mostly water which helps hydrate the skin,” said Dr. Rahm.
For optimal health, Dr. Rahm suggests eating a variety of colors. “The darker the vegetables and fruits the better,” he said. He suggests eating blueberries, raspberries, grapes, oranges and dark leafy greens.
“Don’t forget to drink lots of water,” reminds Dr. Rahm. “Aim for 6-8 glasses a day. Water hydrates the skin creating a healthy beautiful glow.”
Creating healthy weight loss changes takes time and patience. Dr. Rahm suggests following the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80 percent of the time and enjoy life 20 percent of the time.
You can even follow this healthy weight loss program on your honeymoon. There is no reason you have to eat hamburgers and pizza, according to Dr. Rahm. Especially if you are honeymooning on a tropical island like Hawaii, there are so many fruits and veggies to choose from such as pineapple, fresh mangos, papaya and watermelon. This way you can continue to look and feel your best after your wedding day, plus the fruits and veggies help protect you against the sun in tandem with sunscreen.
Although the 80/20 rule allows for some fun, several foods should be avoided completely. “I strongly advise all my patients (and brides too!) to avoid processed, packaged foods, which are terrible for the body and skin. Especially fried foods, as they are the “holy grail” of foods to avoid,” adds Dr. Rahm.
You should also eliminate foods from your diet that are high in sodium. Sodium makes you look and feel bloated. Not surprisingly, most packaged, processed foods contain high amounts of sodium but condiments and cereal also contain high amounts.
We know that pasta is a quick and easy meal but try to stay away from this type of food. Pasta along with bread, bagels, desserts, sodas and other sweetened beverages are simple carbs. These foods rapidly raise your blood sugar levels and are readily stored as fat. A high consumption of simple carbs has been a major contributing factor for overweight and obesity in this country.
Looking for an alternative to pasta? Why not try spaghetti squash? This versatile squash looks and tastes very similar to angel hair pasta. Another great alternative to pasta is quinoa. This ancient grain is a complete protein which keeps you feeling full longer. Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to cook!
If you’re craving something sweet, Dr. Rahm suggests eating a tiny piece of dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao in it. This will satisfy your craving and the phytonutrients in cacao confer health benefits. A recent study shows an association between more frequent chocolate consumption and lower body mass index (BMI)! A win-win chocolate situation.
Remember to pay attention to the amount of alcohol you are drinking. Not only does an average cocktail have several hundred calories, which add up when you are trying to lose a few inches around your waist, but drinking usually leads to poor eating decisions or skipping workouts. If you wish to have a drink once in a while, stick with red wine.
“I’m in my early 30s and if I don’t develop these habits now, it’s only going to get harder,” said Samantha.
Samantha has always struggled with sticking to a regular workout and with the wedding coming up she figured it was “do or die” time.
“My upcoming wedding has given me the motivation to be healthier and incorporate more exercise into my life. The best part? It is an excuse to splurge on a trainer,” she said.
Samantha hasn’t set a specific weight goal and is more concerned about her overall health.
“I’d like to lose weight and be more toned so I can do justice to my wedding dress and look good in photos, but it’s equally or more about finally accomplishing something I’ve thought about for far too long, and to be healthier on an ongoing basis.”
Dr. Rahm agrees, “Wellness and weight loss should go hand in hand. Any weight loss program that doesn’t promote wellness is not a long-term solution to keeping the weight off.”
Chris Juergens is a personal trainer who has worked with over 30 brides to help transform their bodies before their wedding day. He says the most important thing to remember is to feel like your life is in balance. “It should be more of a lifestyle than a wedding goal,” he said.
“Liking how you fit into your clothes is way more important that getting to a number goal. Being happy in your own skin and being healthy is a better more realistic goal,” Chris said.
He encourages his clients to live a balanced life. “You need to get enough sleep, exercise, eat well but don’t be afraid of a french fry, have motivation and have meaningful relationships with your fiancé, husband, co-workers, family and friends.”
Juergens says your exercise goals should be specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely. “Crash diets are not the best, you are less likely to maintain and more likely to fail”, he said.
He encourages his clients to lose weight the healthy way which for most people is about a pound a week. So, if you want to lose 10 pounds before your wedding day, you should start at least 10 weeks or about 3 – 4 months before your wedding. Realizing that in the last month you won’t have as much time to devote to exercising with all of the last minute details that come up for the wedding.
Juergens believes that you should start today no matter when your wedding day is and start creating a healthy lifestyle. “Make being healthy a lifestyle early in your life,” he said.
As Samantha has found out, exercise can help you de-stress, clear your mind and make you happy. She has discovered during her new exercise regimen that working out is actually helping her focus on wedding planning.
“I find that I have more energy for a few hours of ‘wedding work’ if I walk or exercise in the morning beforehand and plan something fun to do afterwards, like going to lunch or shopping at the bookstore.”
Juergens agrees with Sam’s approach with working out in the morning. “Schedule working out and get it done before you go to work, before everything else gets in the way,” he said.
Samantha has also found that she and her fiancé Tom have more productive discussions if they have them while they are on a walk or engaged in another activity.
Dr. Rahm couldn’t agree more. By developing healthy habits now when you are starting your life together as a married couple is a great way to support each other and grow healthy together.
While eating a healthy diet, exercising, drinking plenty of water will go a long way toward helping you reach your wedding day goals, adding some nutritional supplements can play a supportive role.
“Having a healthy diet is of prime importance, but taking supplements can help to cover gaps in your diet,” said Yvette La-Garde.
According to Ms. La-Garde, supplements can help the bride-to-be in a number of ways. “Nutritional supplements support skin health to give you that radiant look, shiny hair and strong nails. But, taking nutritional supplements can enhance energy and mental clarity so you can get the things done on your list and promote rest and relaxation so you don’t stress at night,” she said.
Bride-to-be Samantha has been taking a multi-vitamin to make sure she is getting all of the essential nutrients she needs to be healthy.
Yvette agrees that taking a multi-vitamin & mineral is a great first step for most brides-to-be. She adds, “A high-quality multi-nutrient formula like our Multi-Vitamin & Mineral provides you with all of the essential vitamins and minerals to enhance health, wellness and great-looking skin. Key skin nutrients in the formulation include carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E and the B-complex. She comments, “These nutrients support the development of collagen and elastin, two principal proteins that give skin its support, structure and elasticity.”
If you’re looking for skin benefits, Yvette recommends that you start taking a multi-vitamin & mineral at least one to two months prior to your wedding. She mentions, “That’s because it takes at least 30 days for your skin cells to turn over. And, with age, this process takes even longer. Typically, you won’t see changes in your skin for 30 to 45 days.” Yvette adds, “Of course, the ideal is to take nutritional supplements are part of a long-term health and wellness strategy.”
If you’re trying hard to eat the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day but are falling short, Yvette suggests taking a phytonutrient supplement like Phyto-5.
“Phyto-5 is formulated with a wide variety of superfruits and superveggies. These nutrients are what give fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds their color. But, they also serve to protect the plant from UV radiation. By ingesting these plant compounds, it helps to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Sun exposure is the #1 cause of premature aging,” mentioned Ms. La-Garde.
If you want supple, radiant-looking skin on your wedding day, Yvette recommends that you get plenty of Omega-3s. Foods that are high in Omega-3s include salmon, ground flax seed or walnuts. For most of us, taking an Omega-3 supplement like fish oil or flax seed oil is easiest.
“With aging, we often notice that our skin is dryer due to a combination of factors including less oil production and less hydration. Taking an Omega-3 supplement can help to lubricate the skin internally,” La-Garde said.
For on-the-go brides, Yvette recommends Anti-Aging Formula. “This product combines all of the key vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and Omega-3s into convenient daily packets,” said Yvette. “It takes the guess-work out of taking supplements and is ideal for busy lifestyles.”
Tracy Anderson, a trainer to the stars, such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, highly recommends VitaMedica’s Clear Skin Formula if you have acne-prone skin.
“To avoid needing a lot of make-up, glowing skin is very important,” Tracy said. “I finally got my breakouts under control with Clear Skin packets by VitaMedica. As long as I take them daily, my skin is worlds better.”
Yvette cautions, “You should start taking the Clear Skin Formula at least two months before your wedding day. The supplement contains nutrients that have a detoxifying effect and it is common that you might break out at first as your body detoxifies. But, give it time and your skin will be healthier-looking.”
“Most women are focused on using topical treatments to enhance their skin health,” said Yvette. She continues, “But, if you want great results, the ideal is a bi-directional approach which uses a combination of topicals along with nutritional supplements.”
Her best piece of advice, “Don’t wait until the week before your wedding to start taking supplements. Start today to create a healthy lifestyle.”
The most challenging part as Sam prepares for her wedding is balancing the stress of planning with maintaining excitement and perspective about the real purpose of the day.
“Sometimes the latter gets lost in the former. There are so many details and things to keep track of,” Samantha said.
Being organized and maintaining a regular exercise routine has helped Samantha stay calm during her wedding planning.
When we are stressed and overwhelmed we tend to reach for comfort foods. Brides, you are working hard to get into shape so don’t let a little stress cause you to indulge.
Instead of reaching for ice-cream or any kind of sweets to curb your stress, stop what you are doing and go for a nice long walk, have a cup of green tea or call your best friend and vent.
We think yoga is the ultimate fix for you. Yoga helps to tone the body and relaxes the mind, the perfect combination for brides. Check out a local yoga studio or your gym to find a class that fits into your schedule.
Make sure you are being kind to yourself during your wedding planning process. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep during wedding planning, and especially the night before your wedding. You want to look and feel refreshed when you walk down the aisle.
A nice motivation for you to sleep more is a study that showed dieters who slept an average of 8.5 hours per evening lost a greater proportion of body fat than lean body mass that those who slept just 5.5 hours.
Schedule massages during your planning process and the day before your wedding. It will help calm your mind and give your body some extra love and care.
Meditation is also a great tool to learn during the wedding planning process. Mediation helps clear your head and helps you focus in on your special day. A great app you can download to your cell phone to help guide you through mediation is headspace.
All of the experts agreed that the most important thing to remember during your wedding planning process is to enjoy each moment and not let the meaning of the day get lost in all of the small details.
You can start making healthy choices today. By incorporating our healthy weight loss and exercise tips into your daily routine you will create a healthier, happier version of you.
Whether you are walking down the aisle, or watching your friend or family member get married you will be doing this with more energy, glowing skin and feeling fabulous in your wedding day attire.
Share with Us!
Tell us how you got into shape for your Wedding Day! Share with us a photo of you in your wedding dress. You will then be entered in our Wedding Day contest for a chance to win a gift basket with VitaMedica products!
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.