Even if you’re already in great shape and on top of your diet, that period prior to your wedding day makes you want to go above and beyond. After all, who doesn’t want to look and feel their best on the most important day of their life? While the path to perfection involves addressing a number of topics, your diet is arguably one of the most important ones to focus on. Eating clean, whether your goal is to loose weight, freshen up your appearance, or simply find more day-to-day energy, is definitely a great starting point.
Sounds easy—but is it? Eating clean is not as simple as embarking on a diet; in fact, diets can very much backfire in that aspect. Hence, it’s better to follow a more basic principles of a healthy relationship with food, especially if you’re not sure where to start.
1. Skip the Sugar
Sugar may seem like an obvious one, but it’s incredibly hard to avoid, believe it or not. It’s worth making the effort, however, to try because an excess of sugar in your diet can contribute to weight gain, increased appetite, low energy, and a lackluster appearance. We’re not talking about just sweets, either. Sugar is often disguised under many names, including high fructose corn syrup. You’ll find it in many foods (even ketchup!), so it’s always best to check the label for any sugary contents.
2. Avoid Sugar-Free Anything
While on the topic of sugar, sugar-free alternatives often aren’t any better. We’re not talking about things that are naturally sugar-free, but rather foods or drinks that are sweetened with sugar substitutes. Sugar-free products can be beneficial in the short-term to help you wean off those sparkly white crystals, but they may lead to overeating because your brain can get confused as to why it’s tasting sugar, but not getting any. Sugar-free foods can also contribute to bloat, especially when consumed in large amounts, which is not attractive when you’re trying to fit into your wedding outfit!
3. Stay Hydrated
You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but it’s one of those easy-to-do things that cannot be stressed enough: drink lots of water! It will make you look good and feel good. It can also help curb food cravings and help you feel full without the extra calories.
4. Cut the Salt
This means going above and beyond putting down the salt shaker. For example, most restaurant meals and takeout food tend to rate over-the-top on their sodium content. Many common foods, even plain white bread, can be overloaded with salt simply as a preservative, not to mention any preserved and packaged food such as chips and snacks. This is why it’s always better to eat things freshly prepared out of whole ingredients. Salt, aside from causing bloat, can have plenty of negative health effects. In the long run, it can make it harder to eat well as you’ll get “addicted” to salt itself and other foods will taste bland in its absence.
5. Get Fat!
Not literally, of course. Instead, make sure to include healthy fats in your diet, which can be found in salmon, nuts, avocados, olive oil, flax seeds, and many other things you likely already enjoy eating. Having some healthy fats in your everyday meals is a great way to improve your energy, make your skin glow, and even assure healthier hair in the long-run! You can also take Omega-3 or Omega-6 supplements. But as always, remember that too much of a good thing can be bad, so don’t overdo it. Even though these healthy fats should be part of a balanced diet, they come with extra calories that can quickly add up.
6. Put Down the Alcohol and Cigarettes
If there were any better time to cut down on your vices, your wedding prep period is it. Both alcohol and tobacco are obviously not good for you for many reasons, least of which is that both can dull your complexion and dehydrate your skin. Alcohol is also a massive contributor of empty calories and can increase your appetite at the same time. Don’t worry—there’s no need to cut everything out for good. Taking even a short break will noticeably change how you feel, so start at least a month or two before your big day.