Rumors are swirling that Kate Middleton and Prince William are trying to slim down before their wedding. Whether you're a member of the royal family or the girl next door it's easy to underestimate how tough it can be to lose it (the weight) without losing it (your mind!). Here’s a quick and dirty guide I shared this week on The Early Show — it applies to brides-to-be or anyone preparing for an upcoming event:
One or More Months Before the Big Day:
Eliminate any liquid calories like soda or fancy coffee drinks — it’s absolutely the easiest way to shed pounds and inches. Research shows that beverage calories tend to not be filling, and you may not think of drinks as "food" but in 30 days time just one 20 oz glass of cola or sweet tea adds up to the equivalent of about 2,000 jelly beans worth of sugar. Stick with water and unsweetened green or black tea, hot or cold. And if you must have your morning cup of Joe doctor it up with skim or soy milk, no more than 1 tsp of sugar in the raw and add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg – they help add flavor so you won’t miss the sugar and they're both antioxidant rich (think glowing skin).
Your eyeballs are your biggest asset — use them to visualize your portions. At lunch and dinner make 50 percent of the bulk of your meals veggies (about 2 cups, the size of 2 baseballs), 25 percent lean protein (tofu, chicken breast, shrimp, the size of a deck of cards) and 25 percent a whole grain (brown or wild rice, quinoa, barley, etc., about half a cup, the size of half a baseball) and include a small amount of a healthy plant-based fat, such as sautéing the veggies in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or sprinkling your plate with 2 tbsp nuts or seeds or a quarter of a ripe avocado. This configuration automatically curbs calories without making you feel starved and creates the best balance of carbs, protein and fat to keep your blood sugar stable, which will energize you as you shrink your fat cells.
Eat breakfast every day — skipping it can slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight. The same configuration applies, but trade the veggies for fruit. Quick and healthy options include a small bowl of warm quick cooking oats topped with berries and a sprinkle of almonds or sunflower seeds, served with a glass of organic skim or soy milk, or a parfait made from organic nonfat Greek yogurt layered with fruit and toasted oats, topped with walnuts.
The Week Before the Wedding:
Get rid of the top bloat triggers: chewing gum, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, drinking through a straw, eating too fast, skipping meals. All of these make you swallow or retain more air in your GI tract, which can swell like a balloon, giving you a pooch.
On the Big Day:
You don’t want to pass out on your way down the aisle so be sure to choose a combo of whole grains, lean protein and "good" fat to energize you and keep your blood sugar steady. If you’re nervous nibble on healthy snacks that can add up to a meal, like golf ball sized portions of unsweetened dried fruit and almonds, a mini babybel or string cheese and some whole grain crackers.
At the reception eat before you take that first sip of champagne. Without food in your belly alcohol gets absorbed almost immediately so your blood alcohol rises quickly. Down some protein, like a few cubes of cheese or a small handful of nuts to create a buffer. Also be sure to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage so you stay hydrated — I’ve heard of many brides passing out before consummating their marriage because of too many champagne toasts without enough food and fluid — don’t let this happen to you!
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.