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Food & Health

Shape up before your big day

Engagement rings are great motivators for women to lose weight before their wedding day. Whenever the dress, the wedding photos and the honeymoon come to mind, the words “diet” and “gym” are never far behind.
Brides can face major headaches, cold sores, zits and other physical discomfort right before the wedding. Eating the right food can help prevent all of those from happening.
Arab News spoke to dietician Dr. Manal Fawaz at her private clinic in Riyadh about the best ways to lose extra weight and be in good health for the big day.
Many brides resort to extreme measures to drop those extra kilos as quickly as possible. “Most of these quick diet plans are neither safe nor healthy. I met brides who were on a water-only diet! They ended up in the emergency room on their wedding night,” said Fawaz. “I recommend brides to plan their weight loss program months before the wedding. This will give them time to manage it and stay healthy.”
The best way to start a diet is to start a food diary, to find out where there is room for improvement in your diet. End each day by reviewing the meals and snacks you had.
“I guarantee you will be embarrassed of the pancakes you had for breakfast when you write it down in your diary,” she said. “Think ahead of the challenges you might face during your day and get ready to face them. If your co-workers like their morning coffee with a side of doughnut and you usually join in, make sure you have a healthy snack ready to munch on instead.”
Brides can be stressed out but all they need is to focus on their regime. “Stick to your plan no matter what. After all, your wedding dress will not look good with those love handles. So limit yourself,” said Fawaz. “This does not mean to skip meals. A bride-to-be needs to sit down for a proper meal and healthy snacks through out the day. Her diet should contain lots of water, fruits, vegetables, white meats, vitamins, whole grains and supplements. She should also visit the gym at least three times a week to help lose the weight in a very healthy way.”
When the happy couple leaves on their honeymoon, there will be lots of temptation and treats. Now the trick is to keep the weight off after the wedding. “Studies show that 90 to 95 percent of people who lose weight regain it again in a year or a little more. This leads to a repetitive cycle, which is bad for your health physically and emotionally,” said Fawaz. “Weight gained after significant weight loss usually consists of only fat, not muscle or water. So you may even end up with a higher percent body fat.”
Keeping the weight off is going to need a strong will. Fawaz provided a few supportive steps.
• Sports and exercise are important. The movement will help burn calories and will make you think twice before you eat that chocolate cake.
• Forget about comfort food. The regret of eating it will make you emotionally unstable.
• Get plenty of sleep. Adults need eight hours sleep at night to feel healthy and productive in the morning.
• Keep away from smoking. This bad habit will make you less active in the gym and it causes shortness of breath.
• Cut back on carbohydrates, particularly refined or highly processed ones such as white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white potatoes. Try to avoid sugar in general.
• Weigh yourself weekly on a fixed hour on the same day. This will prevent you from slowly sliding back into your old habits.
• Take a daily dose of vitamins and supplements. This will provide you with the vitamins that you might lose when cutting back on food,
• Always snack on fruits, vegetables and yogurt. Forget about munching on chips, ice cream or cake.
• Stop eating after 8 p.m. You need enough time to digest the food before going to sleep.
• Limit your daily caffeine dose to maximum two cups a day.
• Keep your eyes on the prize and bear in mind that a healthy life needs a healthy body and mind.

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