For women, the pressure to look perfect is present every day, but it can skyrocket in the months and weeks leading up to their wedding day.
A lot of this pressure comes from within the wedding industry. Bridal magazines and publications feature dozens of articles on “shedding for the wedding,” giving a variety of suggestions for dropping excess weight in time for your big day. These diet tips can range from the sensible (exercise regularly, reduce your sugar intake, eat more veggies) to the downright bizarre (eat a grapefruit a day, try a colonic, chew your food until it’s liquid).
Some brides feel the pressure of having all eyes on them as they walk down the aisle. While many others fear the judgmental eye of the camera lens or social media feed weighing them down. Still, others are nervously trying to fit into the perfect, fairy tale dress.
This pressure, coupled with the stress of planning a wedding, can lead to a dangerous regimen of faddish, crash diets.
According to a study from Cornell University, 70 percent of brides are looking to shed a few – if not more – pounds before their big day. On average, these brides are looking to lose about 23 pounds.
Few are immune to the pressures of impending nuptials. Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, turned to an excessively restrictive diet called the Sirtfood Diet, which limits users to 20 food items, in the weeks before her wedding. The diet also calls for users to limit themselves to as little as 1,000 calories on some days.
These types of diets will often push your body to the extreme.
One popular crash diet, the Master Cleanse, encourages dieters to sustain themselves on six to 12 glasses of “lemonade” made of maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water for weeks at a time.
Consuming fewer than 1,200 calories per day over a long period of time can actually prevent long-term weight loss. Starvation-based diets often slow your metabolism and can lead to other negative side effects.
Crash dieting weakens your immune system and increases your risk of severe side effects such as dehydration and heart muscle loss. These diets also deplete your body of important vitamins and nutrients such as potassium and magnesium.
If you still feel the need to shed that last 5 or 10 pounds before walking down the aisle, be sure to do so sensibly and consider the following tips.
- Before beginning any rigorous diet or exercise plan, consult with your physician or a registered dietitian to ensure the regimen works well for you and your current health needs.
- Be sure to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your weight loss goals. The amount of time you need depends heavily on how much weight you want to lose. If you’re looking to drop that last 5-10 pounds, start your weight loss plan about two months before the big day. For those looking to lose more, around 20-30 pounds, we advise starting about six months out.
- If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to creating an exercise plan, consider enlisting the help of a personal trainer to get started. If a personal trainer is not in the budget, websites and smartphone apps, such as Couch to 5k, can give you a little direction.
- Make weight-loss fun by partnering with your fiancÃ© or a fellow bride-to-be to lose weight together and hold each other accountable.
- Stay safe by never limiting yourself to fewer than 1,200 calories per day and avoid cleanses and detoxes.