Diets and the big day

Published date: 8th February 2019

First something basic. Do you need to diet? He loves you as you are, even if that’s a few pounds over what you’d consider your ideal weight.

Too many women diet to attain a figure that’s simply not right for them and their physiology and genetic makeup, having catwalk models in mind. But most men like curvaceous women. Page three of the Sun (are they still doing that?) rarely featured models shaped like ironing boards.

Is it actually a diet you want in any case? Exercise – if you’re not doing much already – to speed up your metabolism should make a difference to your weight, and – get some expert help on this – you can work on the areas that will help make your dress show all the better. If it’s strapless upper arms need to be tight; narrow-waisted means working on your tummy; knee-length then your calves will be the focus. You get the idea.

The world is full of people keen to sell magical formulae that will make dieting easy. There may be some merit in the shakes and even the rattles and rolls, and the endless stream of publications that reveal their secret for just £9.99. But if there was an instant solution to weight problems would 50 per cent of Americans still look like the Michelin Man?

Dieting is not easy, and it does take time to adjust your weight. So starting a week before the big Day is bonkers. Far better to set your plan six months or a year ahead and go at it gently.

Dieting that doesn’t split you and future hubby is also to be recommended. If, like most intendeds, you live together already, then you eat most meals together. Forcing your diet on him could cause strain. Some diets have unfortunate consequences. One recent craze reputedly left aficionados with breath like an orc with no toothbrush, and saved them a fortune on toilet paper. Another generated flatulence that if weaponised would be subject to UN intervention. Starving yourself is bound to make you crabby, and that means arguments. Go gently.

There are some (relatively) easy ways to cut back the calories. If you drink two 125ml glasses of wine a day (and home measures tend to be more) that’s over 1000 calories a week, or half a normal daily calorie intake for a woman. Adjusting your eating habits slightly makes a difference – so for example go for lean meat, take the skin off poultry, eat fish plain, and steamed rather than fried.

The body is complex. Nutrition still appears an imperfect science. Individuals differ. But two regimes that do seem to have something going for them in general terms are the 5/2 diet and using GI (glycaemic index) information in your food planning. The former is about tricking your body into thinking it is starving, so it burns fat. The latter avoids your body’s insulin levels rising after you ingest certain foods, so it helps keep fat levels from rising.

In the end long-term healthy eating makes more sense than dieting. Are you getting your five no seven no nine… a day? But a few tricks may help – a squeeze of lemon on say a chicken breast helps slow how long you take to digest it, so you feel fuller longer.

Wholegrains take longer to digest than processed white rice and white bread, to the same effect. Chilli may speed your metabolism. Not missing a meal means you don’t feel tempted to reach for chocolate. Reducing your salt intake (but we need salt to live) can help shed retained water. Small plates fool us into thinking a portion is bigger. Eating slowly satisfies more than wolfing stuff down.

Dieting can take its toll, crash dieting doubly so – do you really want to faint on the way to the altar? Or have drawn grey skin and halitosis? If you have a lot of weight to lose, consult your doctor. But if you have a few pounds to shed, start early, eat more healthily – you already know how – and do a bit more exercise. Simple. And remember he loves you, not some vision of you several dress sizes smaller.

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