I feel a little bit nervous about this post. There is a lot of talk in the media about feminism, beauty and the ridiculous standards we hold ourselves to as women, in order to fit in with what others deem the right weight, shape and/or look. I could probably wax lyrical about my take on the subject but I won’t bore you. What I will say is, the last thing I want to do is tell someone they need to lose weight or shape up for their wedding day, in no way do I think this is the case. I disagree with ‘dieting’ in general, plus I am not one to talk, I exercise sporadically and I am addicted to sugar like the rest of the world. However as a resource for brides to be, (and hopefully grooms too!) I am aware that health and fitness does play a role in wedding prep. Given that all eyes will be on you for your wedding day it is only natural to want to look your best so why not talk about it in a sensible way.
Diet (by this I mean what we eat not reducing what we eat) and exercise are a massive part of looking and more importantly feeling good, but it’s not always easy to develop will power where none existed before. Trust me, I know. As I have said, I am not suggesting we should all be dieting and trying to change ourselves for one day, but I do think it is always a good idea to be healthy and look after ourselves.
A friend of mine, at some point last year, started following the key principles of James Duigans clean and lean healthy eating plan. This wasn’t a quick fix diet; she didn’t loose 2 stone in 6 weeks, she took her time, ate well and made life changes, or maybe just better food choices. She did this in part for her wedding but mainly for herself and she looks and feels fabulous for it.
Inspired by my friend thought I would have a go. In essence the book talks about what foods fuel us best, and encourages eating not starving. It takes in to account the time of day and what you might be doing, as well as providing bad, better, best tables, helping you pick the right foods. Another basic guide advocated is, foods that are as close to the natural state as possible are better for you. For example margarine, marketed as low fat and good for you, is a proceed food, therefore in clean and lean terms should be avoided in favour of natural fats. Even butter in moderation is a better choice. So I am now attempting to change a few of my bad habits, chocolate and bread, and cultivate some good ones, yoga and kale.
So far I would say I am succeeding about 50% of the time (I’m 3 weeks in) and I do feel better, less bloated, more energy etc. when I am being good. So why can I only stick to it 3 days out of 7?!
Something I try and keep in mind is that Im not doing this to fit in my jeans better. While that looming thought of a bikini might inspire me for a day, the goal of striking a better relationship with food and exercise long term, seems a more worthwhile goal. A crash diet can always start tomorrow. Life is now. Hopefully this will help keep me healthy 5 days out of 7!
A wedding, like that bikini, is a great motivator to loose weight in the short term but if like me you are not a natural to exercise, and you love all things cheese, the drive can be fleeting. Moreover forever chasing that perfect size or shape once the day has been and gone, and kids have arrived, can be a little depressing.
So my advice (take it or leave it) would be to find a goal that is something you want for life, not just your wedding. Find a sustainable way of doing it, eating only watermelon and white fish is not. I’ve tried. Eat good food that is good for you. Have treats in moderation and have fun. If the gym is not for you try and find a way of being active that you enjoy. I have previously taken pole dance classes and I love them, its fun, challenging and confidence boosting. I just don’t have a class I can can get to at the moment.
Over the next few months I am hoping to post some great tips for exercise that you can easily fit in to your day, along with tired and tested recipes that are healthy and yummy. You can also check out my pinterest page for ideas and inspiration.
I would love to hear what works for you when it comes to being healthy and any recipes in particular, so don’t be shy, come and say hello!
You can buy Clean and Lean by James Duigan here.