Every woman dreams of looking stunning on her big day. While that is important, what is of equal, if not more significance, is feeling good on the day.
But embarking on a crash diet a month before your wedding is really not the best solution to feeling like a million bucks.
The four weeks preceding your wedding is the worst time to attempt any weight loss. A quick-fix diet will only slow down your metabolism, make you lose muscle and take away that wedding glow from your skin. Plus, don’t forget that the weight will return with a vengeance when you’re on your honeymoon.
Instead the need of the hour is to adopt a sensibly balanced liver cleanse. This will help you lose some inches, especially around your waist, and give you clearer skin and shinier hair.
To help you count down to your big day in style, turn over for a four-week bridal detox that will help you look and feel great inside out. However, do this only after consulting a dietitian.
In a nutshell, milk, whole wheat and refined sugars – even brown sugar, jaggery and honey – are strict no-nos.
Week 4: The debloat phase
This is the time to start eliminating some inflammatory foods from your diet. This will help you relieve water retention and your gut will start to heal. You can expect your digestion to improve, which will help with weight loss as well. Here are a few guidelines for Week 4:
1. Start your day with 1 tbsp ghee or butter or organic coconut oil, followed by a herbal infusion or green tea. The good fats will not only give you better skin but will also help in better absorption of fat-soluble supplements like Vitamin A, D, E and K, which are all very powerful antioxidants.
2. Eliminate refined sugars completely from your diet, including brown sugar, jaggery or honey. It’s a myth that these are better than refined white sugar. Granola bars, cereals, biscuits, fruit juices (natural or packaged) all have sugar in them. Stay clear of all these too.
3. Eliminate artificial sweeteners that can be found in diet drinks. They are gimmicks and wreck havoc on your digestive tract, making you feel bloated. What’s worse, they tend to increase your carb cravings.
4. If you have acne, polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) or insulin resistance, you should avoid whole wheat and associated products due to its gluten content, and milk and milk products due to its lactose content. You will then see a drastic positive change in your skin’s health within a week.
5. Focus on eating good carbs such as sweet potato, white rice, vegetables, fruits and sugar in the form of dates, figs and some really dark (about 80 per cent or more) chocolate.
Trade your solid breakfast for a smoothie made of avocado, berries, almond milk and a tbsp of flaxseed powder.
Week 3: Hydrate and supplement
Along with the Debloat phase, in this week it’s time to add the Hydrate and Supplement routine to your detox regime. Focus on increasing the amount of fluids you are consuming and stocking up on supplements. You can be on the best diet, but if you are dehydrated, losing fat efficiently can be challenging.
1. After the tablespoon of good fat in the morning, swap your solid breakfast for a wholesome smoothie that includes one avocado, some berries, almond milk and a tablespoon of flaxseed powder. You can also try a mango and coconut milk smoothie since mangoes are in season now. Mangoes do contain sugar but they are also loaded with antioxidants like Vitamin A.
2. To lose weight, have dinner by 7pm as it improves metabolism. If you feel hungry later on, snack on nuts and seeds.
3. Drink at least three litres of water through the day. Add some fresh lemon juice to one litre. The concoction of lemon and water is a bile thinner and will help you mobilise fat faster.
4. Take sole vitamins instead of multivitamins. Have omega-3 for your skin and hormones, Vitamin C for your skin, B complex for a healthy metabolism and zinc for your hair.
To see instant changes, go on a 14-hour fast and a 10-hour feed, and time your workout during the feeding period.
Week 2: Intermittent fast
If you are looking to cleanse furthermore and feel more toned, this is the time to try an Intermittent fast. Again, remember you need to continue with the Debloat phase and the Hydrate and Supplement regimens.
The Intermittent fast will help you step up your metabolism, stabilise insulin, regulate your appetite and help with cellular repair by accelerating the rate at which cells remove wastes. Most women respond very well to a 14-hour fasting period and a 10-hour feeding period in the day. For example, you should eat between 8am and 6pm and fast between 6pm and 8am. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
1. Pick your 10 hours of feeding period when you are the busiest so you can eat and not feel weak. Try and time your workout within the feeding period too.
2. You must have fluids like water, green tea, lemon water and ice tea minus the sugar, or herbal infusions with Stevia during the fast. This will help with the hunger pangs and keep you hydrated too. Your skin starts feeling and looking better within three days of the fast.
3. During the feeding period, ensure your first and last meals are larger by going heavy on good carbohydrates that are anti-inflammatory, such as rice, pasta, sweet potato or quinoa.
4. Keep your protein intake high with eggs, fish, meat, lentils and nuts. Not getting enough protein can make you lose muscle and water, which will take away that toned look.
5. If fasting for 14 hours seems too much, you can start with 12 hours and progress to 14, or you could fast for two days and eat at normal times the other two days.
The levels of human growth hormone can go up by five times on this eating pattern so you will start to see changes around your waist within the first two days of following it.
In the last week, have about three glasses of veggie juice with ginger and lemon before each of your meals.
Week 1: Alkaline phase
In the last week of your detox regimen, in combination with the other three phases, it’s time to go high on alkaline foods and cut back on acidic ones. This will aid gut health, helps your skin look clearer and boosts energy levels. It also keeps your mood elevated.
1. Stay away from acid-forming foods such as meat, wheat, dairy, sugar and processed foods.
2. Add a bowl of raw or lightly cooked greens to your lunch and dinner. The greens are highly alkaline and help with the cleanse. Plus they give you a whole lot of nutrients such as iron, calcium and other important minerals.
3. Have two to three glasses of green vegetable juice with ginger and lemon before each of your major meals.
4. Good fats like avocados, nuts and seeds are highly alkaline and packed with minerals. These can be had as snacks. If you wish to continue with this regime after marriage, consult a doctor.