It might seem like the only way to get in top-notch shape before your wedding is by cutting your calories in half and refusing to let anything that isn't green pass your lips. Luckily, that's so not the case! Here, a few reasons crash dieting will actually sabotage your wedding-day body, and how to tone up without becoming a hunger-induced bridezilla.
1. It'll kill your mood.
"Crash diets are excessively calorie restrictive, which is unsustainable," says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN, a dietitian at B-Nutritious. When you're depriving yourself so much, there's no way to avoid becoming irritable and stressed to the point where you're cranky with everyone from your groom to your barista.
2. Your body needs the fuel.
Crash dieting leaves you running on empty. "Crash diets often lead to nutrient deficiencies because they eliminate certain essential food groups such as fats and carbohydrates," says Zeitlin. Whole grains give you the energy you need to squeeze in workouts while organizing a wedding, and fats keep you feeling full longer, aka help you avoid reaching for a junky snack when hunger pangs strike.
3. You'll be hungry. All. The. Time.
Since crash diets are missing so much of what your body needs to function, you'll have to deal with the unpleasant rumbling in your stomach around the clock. Plus, it actually makes your body turn to a different, less ideal source for energy. "When your diet doesn't provide the necessary nutrients, your body takes what it needs from your muscles and liver. That leads to unhealthy weight loss and muscle-wasting, not fat loss!" says Zeitlin.
4. You'll gain it all back.
"They're called crash diets because you'll eventually crash and burn!" Zeitlin explains. After the wedding's passed and you're no longer over-restricting, you'll gain all that weight back, probably with some additional pounds tacked on. "It's a reaction to the way you have just essentially starved your body," says Zeitlin.
So, you're convinced crash dieting is not the way to go, but what to do instead? Beyond regular exercise, incorporate healthier foods into your meals rather than cutting out pretty much everything. "Make sure every meal is based around a lean protein source like eggs, fish, or lean cuts of meat, a fiber like a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain, and a healthy fat like avocado or olive oil," says Zeitlin. This mix will boost your energy and keep you satiated while you get through the hectic planning process.
Also, make sure to drink tons of water. "Ample water is key to weight loss and healthy living. An added bonus is that it keeps your hair shiny, your skin glowing and soft, and your nails healthy for the big day," says Zeitlin. Best of all, you officially have permission to snack: eating a healthy mini-meal every three to four hours helps rev your metabolism and keep you level-headed, Zeitlin explains. When you combine these tips for a more measured approach to wedding weight loss, you'll look great, but more importantly, you'll feel even better.