WORTH THE WEIGHT
Just before the wedding is not the time for major lifestyle changes -- but small tweaks can help with losing a few pounds. There's no magic cure here; losing weight requires effort applied to both diet and exercise (with muscle-toning and strength-building being even more important than cutting out dietary staples such as meat or cheese). These tips are designed to avoid feelings of deprivation and may even help spark some long-lasting, healthy changes.
TAKE HOT BATHS OR LONG TRIPS TO THE SAUNA
The most luxurious way to lose a few pounds, a hot bath or half-hour in the sauna can help burn calories and have positive effects on blood sugar -- which is especially good for those who tend to pack on the pounds because of insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes. A daily bath won't do the trick on its own, but can accelerate weight loss with other efforts.
CUT OUT SUGARY BEVERAGES
Natural juices are healthier than sodas, but ultimately it's all about the extra calories. Even squeezing a fresh orange into a glass and drinking it can lead to weight gain, whereas eating a whole orange can help with weight loss, due to the fiber in the pulp and non-juicy bits. Try to avoid all sweet beverages, including juices, sodas, and sweetened coffee or tea, to see the numbers on the scale drop.
EAT OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest foods to eat, especially if made from long-cooking steel-cut oats. Its fiber slows the absorption of energy into the body, helping you feel full for longer, leading to less food cravings. Since it's just one meal a day, it's an easy change to follow for a week or two.
CUT OUT ALCOHOL
Alcohol has a lot of calories, and even more when served in cocktails with extras such as juice and sugar. Cutting out the daily or almost-daily drink or two (or three) for a week or two will reduce caloric load significantly.
It's not as scary or difficult as it sounds. The idea is to eat during only eight or nine hours a day -- for example, moving breakfast to 10 a.m. and dinner to 7 p.m. This allows the body more time to burn off the energy you consume, and cuts out extra intake. Don't eat after 7 p.m. even if you aren't fasting. Late-night snacking after dinner leads to more "stored energy," or fat.
ADD TWO EXTRA DAYS OF WEIGHT TRAINING
If you hate cardio, you'll be happy to learn that many fitness experts say weight training actually supports weight loss better than cardio. Adding two days of weight training to a weekly exercise routine is enough to see results in as little as two weeks.
REPLACE LUNCH OR DINNER WITH A PROTEIN SHAKE
Lean protein is helpful for weight loss, and drinking protein shakes is a surefire way to get enough in a diet while avoiding hidden sources of fat and sugar. Meal replacement shakes might get boring after one or two weeks, but they can help build anticipation for the indulgent food waiting at a reception or on a honeymoon.
CUT OUT DAIRY
While delicious, dairy is not very healthy for most people as it's mostly saturated fat and salt. Cutting it out temporarily can significantly lower saturated fat content, especially for those who consume a lot of it. Alternatives such as almond milk and avocado provide healthy unsaturated fats to stay satisfied during a cheese and milk hiatus.
GO VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN
Most people notice significant weight loss when quitting meat and switching to a plant-based diet, even temporarily. Remember not to lean too heavily on cheese (if vegetarian), or substitutes such as vegan cheese and coconut ice cream. Instead, focus on meals made up of unprocessed plants in their natural states.
START THE DAY WITH EXERCISE FIVE TIMES A WEEK
Whether it's running, yoga, lifting weights, or a brisk walk, getting the blood pumping first thing in the morning sets the body up to burn energy throughout the day rather than packing on the pounds. This good habit is one that we could all benefit from all the time.