Singaporebrides | Beauty
Shed Those Pounds Before Taking The Plunge!
Your wedding is fast approaching, and you just can’t seem to squeeze into that size 0 number? Well, don’t scream or starve yourself – you can look your best without going overboard. SingaporeBrides shows you how to slim down and shape up – the healthy way, of course – for your Big Day.
To prepare for her royal wedding, Kate Middleton went on the Dukan diet, jogged, cycled and amped up on her rowing practice to sculpt those upper body muscles. Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon added yoga to her fitness regime, while American TV personality Jessica Simpson hired celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson and reportedly dropped 20 pounds in just under two months.
It is only natural for a bride-to-be to want to look her best on the wedding day. In the quest to fit into that dream dress, some brides-to-be may actually be tempted to try quick-fix weight-loss solutions. And it’s only too easy to succumb to the promises of fad diets, extreme dieting, inadvisable over-the-counter slimming pills and dietary supplements, and ineffective exercise machines.
But beware: While these products and methods may promise a fast and easy solution, they may not always work in your best interests. Dr Tham Kwang Wei, consultant at the Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, says: “It is important to realise that there is no magic pill to weight loss. Without a well-balanced diet, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
There’s a healthier way to lose weight. Dr Tham adds: “First, you have to understand that our current lifestyles make us what we are. Weight gain is caused by excessive caloric intake coupled with the lack of physical activity.” So if you’re looking to shed those pounds, a combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise is the way to go.
“The first step towards achieving healthy weight loss would be to formulate an action plan, and follow it through,” suggests Dr Tham. Here’s how:
1. Find a motivation! As a bride-to-be, you already have your motivation: To be a glowing and gorgeous bride on your big day. That’s the good news. Dr Tan Hong Chang, associate consultant at the Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, advises: “As you make a conscious decision to lose weight, also ensure that you’re mentally ready to embark on certain lifestyle changes.”
2. Identify the problem areas: Try to find out what could be wrong with your diet. Dr Tan observes: “Besides what you are eating, it could also be the irregular meal times, frequent snacking, late-night suppers or drinking with friends. Other lifestyle factors like stress and lack of good quality sleep can also play a part.”
3. Set your weight-loss goal: A weight loss target of five to 10 per cent of your initial weight in three to six months is generally attainable and safe for health. Dr Tan adds: “Be fair to yourself and don’t harbour any unrealistic expectations – like losing 20 kilograms in two months!”
4. Start a food diary: Reducing calories and eating healthily are vital to weight loss. Dr Tan advises: “Record down what and how much of each dish you eat every day. Be as precise as you can. Then, play detective and identify elements of high fat or hidden calories, like sugary drinks and foods with a lot of gravy.”
5. Make small changes: Then, simply start cutting high-calorie foods out! Set feasible, sustainable goals like “I will only have supper once a week” or “I will only eat fried foods twice a week”. Dr Tan advises: “Slowly build up these goals. Unrealistic goals, like “I will not touch chicken wings at all”, is generally unattainable by most people in the long run.”
6. Eat the right foods: Foods like desserts, candies, fatty and processed foods are considered energy-dense foods. Meanwhile, other foods like fruits and vegetables have low-energy density. “This means you can fill up on fruits and vegetables without loading your body with calories,” says Dr Tan. “This actually makes you feel better about your meals.”
7. Maintain a healthy diet: To make your diet healthier, you can eat more plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grain carbohydrates. Dr Tan adds: “Also take more of lean sources of proteins like soy and lean meats. Eat small amounts of fat and stick to low-fat dairy products and ensure that they come from a heart-healthy source.”
8. Get support! Rope in family and friends to push you towards your goals. “You can get Mum to cook with less oil, or not leaving too much dinner for you when you return from work,” suggests Dr Tan. “Or, you can encourage friends to eat healthily with you.”
9. Consult a professional: Besides researching online on ways to change your diet for the better, you can also seek the advice of nutritionists, dieticians and medical doctors before you begin. Dr Tan: “Professionals will be able to help you lose weight with the goals of health and wellness in mind.”
It will not be enough to merely make dietary changes – you will have to work that body too. Abraham Nikhil, director and boot camp instructor at Phyzique Pte Ltd lists five easy-to-achieve weight-loss tips:
1. Start early: Don’t wait till a month before your wedding to start working out – you will only panic when you can’t drop those pounds and feel demoralised. Nikhil advises: “Get started at least six months before your Big Day, as a good average is to lose about 2 kilograms a month.”
2. Do cardio: Cardiovascular exercises like jogging (working on the stepper or striders in the gym will count too) burn calories effectively. “Get 30 minutes of cardio a day for about five to six times a week, before having a rest day,” advises Nikhil. “To prevent boredom, do a variety of cardio exercises.”
3. Add strength-training exercises too: Many women shy away from strength-building exercises because they mistakenly believe that it will make them look bulky. But according to Nikhil, strength-building exercises like lifting dumbbells can help you to get more love from the weighing scale. He explains: “If you do a lot of cardio exercises, you will lose weight. But you will also pile it back on when you stop your fitness regime. It will be better to add strength-building exercises to your regime three times a week to set yourself up for long-term change.”
4. Take baby steps! There’s no point telling yourself that you will hit the gym every single day – because you won’t. Nikhil suggests using small strategies that will help you become more active in general. “Park the car a bit further from your destination so you will need to walk more, or use the stairs instead of the lift. It’s just about adding movement to your daily life that will increase your calorie-burning on a daily basis. Remember: Even a few minutes of exercise is better than no exercise!”
5. Engage a health coach: If you’re constantly making excuses not to exercise, you might benefit from the professional guidance of a health coach. Nikhil explains: “When brides-to-be come to us, they fill out a questionnaire so we can find out more about their dietary and lifestyle habits. We then do a body composition evaluation, as well as a fitness evaluation, to see what we should focus on – both in terms of diet and exercise.”
As you try your best to shed those pounds, don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the process of getting fitter – and realise that your fiancé loves you for who you are!