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  • Meera Shah, MS, RD

The Wedding Diet

Planning a wedding is stressful! I got married about a year & half ago; While the weekend itself was filled with love, excitement, and joy, the time leading up to the big day was no walk in the park. I wanted every detail of my big fat Indian wedding planned out for success. The process involved sleepless nights & quick meals. Unfortunately, this was working counter to one of my most important goals: To look and feel my best on my wedding day.

There were a few things that kept me on track & energetic (aside from my favorite: coffee). Exercise was an important piece of the puzzle, and so was proper nutrition. When we hear "wedding diet", often times we think of a very strict diet regimen which involves cutting out foods entirely (desserts, carbs, whole meals), and/or following some sort "detox" therapy. At times, this can lead to more harm than good in the form of low energy, altered mood, or increased irritability. See the list below for 3 quick pieces of "wedding diet" advice that may help you before your big day!

  • Consider taking a daily multivitamin and a probiotic.

Let's start with an easy one - supplements. A daily multivitamin can help replenish your body especially if you are cutting calories or significantly restricting your diet. There is little to no downside to taking a daily multivitamin. I simply caution not to over do it - 1000% of a vitamin is not better than 100% - look for values closer to 100% (it's ok if they are less). The probiotic will support your GI health, which is important since 80% of your immunity is located in the gut! Especially if you have had issues with diarrhea or are taking antibiotics for any reason. Probiotics are also naturally found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, pickles, kimchi, and kombucha. There is little to no downside to taking a probiotic supplement.

  • Start early if you're looking to lose weight, tone-up, or improve your overall health.

Starting at least 3-6 months before your big day (depending on your goals) allows you time to safely and sustainably achieve your goals. Healthy and sustainable weight loss is usually 1-2 pounds a week which means, if you're looking to lose ~10 pounds, it would take 5-10 weeks minimum. Start eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and unsaturated fats and keep hydrated to nourish your body before your special weekend. Try to limit sugar, alcohol, processed, and fried foods. The goal is to choose nutritious/nutrient-dense foods, as opposed to simply cutting foods out. If you're looking for extra help, a dietitian can assist with meal planning, accountability, and more.

  • If you only have 6-10 weeks or less & are feeling swamped and not where you want to be with your weight, a carb restricted diet may help you with short-term weight loss.

If you're looking to lose weight quick (more than 1-2 pounds a week) because you don't have 3-6 months at this point, a carb-restricted diet may help you lose weight fast by putting your body in a state of ketosis. It is not recommended for the long haul, but scientifically shown effective for short term weight loss. A varying degree of carb restriction works for different people, but the main idea is to reduce the amount of carbs you are consuming. Now for the disclaimers! As mentioned, a very low carb diet is generally unsustainable and terrible in the long run; our bodies main/preferred source of energy is carbohydrates. "Yo-yo diets" that lead to rapid weight loss fluctuation are associated with increased mortality. You may also experience bad breath, fatigue, headache, irritability, cramps, stomachache, constipation and/or have trouble sleeping.

What about even closer to the BIG DAY?

  • Limit cruciferous vegetables that may cause bloating such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts (which are usually great for you, so if you never have an issue with these, then don't worry about it).

  • Cut down on salt (in deli meat, jerky, processed foods, or hot sauces) that will make you retain water.

  • Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration which can present as fatigue, headache, constipation, and/or dry skin.

Otherwise, stick to what you have been doing (no drastic last minute changes) and enjoy your weekend of love!

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