Alrighty, full disclosure: Eileen Daspin, author of The Manhattan Diet (Wiley, April 2012), is a long-time pal of mine. Her book is a tell-all of sorts about how New York City women stay skinny. I pestered Eileen for some bite-sized, stay-slim info nuggets specifically for brides-to-be, and here's what she said.
If you had to pick five top tips from your book for brides-to-be...
1. Buy a pair of sneakers and use them. One way Manhattan women stay slim is that they walk everywhere. It's a way of sneaking in exercise so you don't notice it. Walking will also get you in a state of mind to do more rigorous exercise.
2. Eat foods that taste good to you, but not too much of them. Portions today are immense. Even coffee servings are obscene. Try less of better quality. Instead of a grande cappuccino at a chain, get a small macchiato at an arty coffeeshop. In New York, I love Sant Ambroeus. The coffee there tastes so much better, and I feel like I am treating myself. And instead of 150 calories (before sugar), it's about 40.
3. Make habit your friend. So many diets have endless suggestions for meals and recipes it's overwhelming. Instead, the women I interviewed told me they eat pretty much the same 50 or so foods again and again. Find what you like and stick with what works. You don't have to be Mario Batali.
4. Eat fat. Foods that have the fat zapped out of them are lower in calories, but less filling (and they taste bad!!) Eat the full-fat yogurt, just less of it. Eat real ice cream, but only half a cup. Use twp teaspoons of high quality olive oil and two teaspoons of vinegar to dress your salad instead of non-fat diet dressing. Good food will be more satisfying.
5. Cook! The biggest surprise to me was how many women I interviewed cooked at home. When you make your own food, you have control over the quality of ingredients and portion. You also feel more connected to what you eat and will pay more attention than if eating food prepared by others.
How can brides keep their expectations in check, and not get TOO obsessed about pre-wedding weight loss? Get Eileen's answer after the jump.