Trying to lose that last inch before your big day? A jam-packed schedule, seemingly non-stop appointments and, not to mention, balancing a full-time job on top of planning a wedding isn't exactly the recipe for a successful weight-loss routine — but these simple, easy-to-implement tricks will help you nudge that stubborn scale.
Ditch the cocktails.
Between bachelorette bashes and shower toasts, brides have endless opps to imbibe. Alcohol's empty calories are a killer, so abstaining can make a big difference, says Lauren Slayton, a nutritionist in New York City and author of The Little Book of Thin. "I recently worked with a bride who cut out alcohol three weeks before her wedding, and she lost six pounds," she says. If you can't bear to quit the booze entirely, alternate each drink with a glass of water, and choose white-wine spritzers over beer or sugary cocktails. You'll slash those calories and hydrate at the same time.
Keep snacks simple.
"You want something rich in either protein or fiber so you feel fuller longer," says Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University. That means choosing fail-safe options like string cheese, fruit, jerky, or preportioned nuts or hummus. Whatever you munch on between meals, pick two or three favorites and stick to them religiously. "The more variety we have, the more we eat," says Slayton. "It's better to bore yourself thin."
Get creative with your veggies.
As you know, they're filled with fiber and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. "And if you're eating them, you're not eating something else — like cookies!" says Young. Aim for two cups a couple of times a day. Jazz them up with hot sauce, turmeric, or ginger; toss them into smoothies and soups; or try "spiralizing," a.k.a. using a special tool that creates "noodles" out of veggies like zucchini or squash to take the place of pasta.
Make a plan.
You're mapping out your reception to perfection, so why not your meals? "Planning is everything," says Young. "When you don't have anything lined up, you end up grabbing whatever's available." Take five minutes each morning to picture exactly what you're going to eat for your meals and snacks. If you're going to be at work or running errands, pack your purse with healthy stuff so you're not tempted by the siren song of Dunkin' Donuts. Apples, pears, and individual packets of nut butter are great options.
Supercharge your workout regimen.
Going through the same motions on the elliptical every time? Congratulations: You've likely hit a plateau. Shock your system by adding a weekly "double session" workout. Think indoor cycling in the morning and weight lifting that night or a prework run followed by an after-work barre class. You should also up your general activity. "You need to move. The more you sit, the fewer calories you burn," says New York City trainer David Kirsch, who suggests quick sessions of squats, stretches, or push-ups throughout the day. "These little things add up and help keep you mindful of your end goal."
__Try a cleanse — but don't starve yourself. __
Liquid-only plans leave you ravenous and are often packed with sugar, Slayton says, "but food-based cleanses add good fats and roughage." We like the wellness kits from Urban Remedy, which combine organic juices with veggie-based meals, snacks, and even desserts. DIY-ing your own juice cleanse? Don't be afraid to supplement with healthy foods like salmon or almonds. "That doesn't mean you're a failure," says Slayton. "It just means you're normal!"