Kayley George, RD, Lead Dietitian at Bells & Barbells, is breaking down the Ultimate Wedding Diet Guide. Her signature program, “Lose the Weight By the Date” has been supporting brides as they reset their eating habits since 2018.
In this exclusive guest post, Kayley George shares her 12-month guide for restructuring your eating habits and pushing through weight-loss plateaus on your path to optimal bridal health, fitness and…fabulousness!
Let the wedding countdown begin! Whether your countdown is 500 days, 365 days, or just a few short months, it’s never too late to jumpstart your wedding diet plan! It’s tempting for a bride-to-be to push off healthy eating until it’s crunch time. But easing into your plan will make your wedding diet more sustainable and enjoyable! So, let’s break down a foolproof diet plan leading up to your big day.
12+ Months Out: Make Some Changes
With a whole year before the wedding bells, there’s plenty of time to shift into healthier eating habits without jumping into an intense and unrealistic crash diet. If you’re in this time frame, it’s important to focus on cleaning up your overall diet.
Limit Processed Foods and Added Sugars
One simple first step towards cleaner eating is limiting processed foods and added sugars. Instead, focus on whole foods that provide a bigger nutrient punch for your body. If you are picking up a packaged food item, make sure that the label states less than 10g of added sugars. Opting for nutrient-dense foods will not only support weight loss, but also give you a boost of much-needed energy.
Cut Back on Alcohol and Eating Out
You’ll also want to consider cutting back on alcohol and eating out. When you eat out, it’s easy to overindulge and lose track of exactly how much you’re consuming, especially if you’re out with a group. Limiting the drinks will also help you save money, eliminate unnecessary calories, and feel like the best possible bride-to-be in the months leading up to your wedding.
6-12 Months Out: Watch Calorie and Macronutrient Targets
You’re officially less than a year out from saying “I do,” and are beginning to envision how you will look and feel walking down the aisle. Don’t fret! Even if you didn’t start cleaning up your diet yet, it is not too late!
Whether you have followed the guidelines for 12+ months out or are reading this for the first time now, it’s time to start focusing some attention on your calorie and macronutrient targets. The key to weight loss is finding the sweet spot for your metabolism, meaning the calories you burn in a day exceed the calories you consume without going into “starvation mode.” You can estimate your calories using the trick of 14-16 calories/lb of body weight which determines the number of calories you need to maintain your current scale status. Depending on your weight-loss goals, you can adjust your calories to a deficit of around 20% less than the maintenance number.
It’s also important to focus on your consumption of macros (aka macronutrients): protein, carbs, and fats. For fat loss, it’s crucial to focus on protein intake, as protein reduces hunger hormones and cravings. A realistic breakdown of macros is about 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fats. These numbers can and should be adjusted as you move through your weight loss journey.
3-6 Months Out: Stay Motivated
The big day is getting closer and the challenges of planning a wedding may be overwhelming you, but don’t let your diet add to that stress! Plateaus are totally normal and expected in a health journey. You have made it this far, so don’t give up now!
Continue to push yourself out of your comfort zone in both diet and exercise. Now is a great opportunity to switch up your workouts, cook new recipes, and refocus your health goals. Remember, this journey is just as much a mental game as it is physical, so hone in on your mindset to push past any plateaus, and get yourself back in weight-loss mode.
1 Month Out: Cut Back on Carbs
You’re officially in the home stretch! Some final small adjustments will help you in this final month. Looking back at the macros previously followed, it’s now time to cut back on carbohydrates for the final weight loss push (think 15-20%).
Limiting carbs will lower your insulin levels, which in turn causes your body to burn stored fat. Instead of burning off the carbs you consume, your body will be forced to burn your remaining body fat to make energy!
1 Week Out: Focus on Whole Foods and Hydrate
It’s T-minus-seven days till “I do’s,” and contrary to popular belief, it’s not time for a detox or for eating as little as possible! Instead, focus on your favorite whole foods, while also limiting processed foods, excess salt, added sugars, dairy and alcohol. Avoiding these culprits will help to keep off fat and bloating, and reduce the chance of breakouts.
Don’t worry about any extra last-minute weight loss, as this could be problematic for your carefully fitted dress. This is also not the time to experiment with new foods, since you don’t know how your body will react (no new Chinese takeout)!
Lastly, and super importantly: Drink water! It’s so important to stay hydrated in order to feel and look your best
Don’t let the stress of creating a diet for wedding season keep you from getting started! Just follow this plan and ease into an all-around healthier lifestyle while getting wedding-day ready.
Contact Kayley George today to schedule your free bridal assessment!