If you’re a bride-to-be or aiming to get in shape to feel great for a holiday, party or big event, then you will want to feel like the best version of yourself when the big day arrives. For my own wedding in the summer of 2014, I didn’t want to lose weight, but I did want to feel lean, toned, confident and healthy. I focused on the following body confidence tips in the lead-up to my big day, and they really helped me to look and feel my best.
1. AVOID REFINED SUGAR
Found in biscuits, cakes, crackers and baked treats to sweets, ice cream, sorbet, cereal, jam, yogurts, chocolate, soups, pasta sauces, breads, sweetened plant milks and fizzy drinks, refined sugar is one of the most damaging foods for your skin and body.
If you regularly eat sugary foods or add sugar to hot drinks, then my advice is to try to wean yourself off it in plenty of time before your wedding day, holiday, party or important event, as it takes around 21 days to break the habit and really feel the benefits. Get
used to reading labels carefully in order to avoid added refined sugar and other processed ingredients. All my recipes are free from refined sugar, are fibre rich and are designed to stabilise blood sugar levels.
2. BANISH BLOATING FOODS
Feeling bloated? There may be a large number of reasons why. Constipation can be an issue for many people, and is undoubtedly one of the main causes of bloating. However, eating a diet high in fibre-rich plant foods and drinking more water can make a big difference for a lot of people.
For many women, it’s simply hormonal and an annoying symptom of that time of the month. For others, it can be a result of eating too quickly and gulping in excess air, not chewing food correctly, eating foods that your body may find difficult to digest and is sensitive to, or the carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks.
My recipes maximise your intake of fibre. We’re all different, so certain foods that can cause bloating for some may have no effect on others. If you do suffer from bloating, then I encourage you to keep a food diary to try to find a link between the foods you’re eating regularly and when you feel excessively bloated.
3. DRINK ALCOHOL IN MODERATION
Alcohol is not a friend to your waistline. It can trigger stomach fat to build up around your mid-section because it’s quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and deposited in the stomach area. It may cause you to gain many unwanted pounds due in part to the hundreds of extra calories in sugary cocktails and mixers, while wine and beer are also high in sugar and calories. But alcohol itself is a simple sugar, which hits your bloodstream fast and causes insulin levels to increase, encouraging fat storage. Drinking alcohol may also slow down your metabolism because the liver prioritises the metabolism of alcohol before it can process energy from the food you have eaten. So for a certain period of time, it may actually prevent your body from burning fat efficiently.
4. DAILY GREENS
I speak at length about the importance of consuming abundant leafy greens, as calorie for calorie, they’re the most nutritionally dense type of food that you can eat, packed with fibre, minerals and protective phytonutrients. Many people find it easier to ingest them in smoothie or juice form than in a salad, which is why you’ll find a number of green smoothie recipes in my book. Enjoying blended greens really helps to boost your complexion, hair growth and encourage a flat stomach.
5. WEIGHT TRAIN
I’ve spoken about how effective weight training is for both men and women, especially if you’re trying to tone up and shift some body fat before your wedding day or a holiday. I increased my workouts and upped their intensity even more in the lead-up to my wedding to help me feel my most strong and confident. It’s obviously important to train all your major muscle groups each week, but as my dress had a full skirt and a fitted waist with my shoulders and arms on show, I placed plenty of focus on training my upper body. I made sure to train my chest, shoulder, triceps, biceps and back each week and did plenty of Pilates to strengthen and lengthen muscles and improve posture.