There's a reason a market exists for workout gear emblazoned with phrases such as "Sweating for the Wedding." Many brides are determined to get in the best shape of their lives before slipping into their dream wedding dresses. But it can be easy to go overboard. The biggest pre-wedding faux pas, says L.A. nutritionist Elissa Goodman, is starting a deprivation diet in order to lose weight. While cutting calories can lead to short-term weight loss, it can also trash your hormones—one of the biggest influencers of your metabolism. "You don't want to mess with that," notes the author of Cancer Hacks, because when you inevitably can't sustain your deprivation diet, "you're likely to gain even more back." She weighs in on what other tactics to avoid.
Much like crash diets, going too long without fueling up can backfire. Cutting out meals "can cause you to feel ravenous," says New York City-based dietitian Brooke Alpert. "That can lead to overeating or making undesirable food choices."
Setting yourself up to fail.
If it's there, you're likely to eat it. Goodman suggests ridding your home of items such as candy, cookies, and chips. "If you have junk in the house, you will reach for it when you're stressed," explains the holistic nutritionist. Instead, stock up on nutrient-dense snacks such as nuts, fruit, pre-cut veggies, and hummus.
Skimping on water.
Not only can a lack of H2O leave you feeling fatigued and bloated, it can also cause you to overeat, "because you may mistake thirst for hunger," says Alpert, founder of B Nutritious. She recommends filling up with eight to 10 glasses a day.
Not planning ahead.
Sticking to a healthy diet is all about advanced planning, says Goodman. She advises picking one day a week to prep your meals. Her go-to: slicing up produce for easy veggie bowls. "Simply prep your ingredients and keep them in separate containers," she says. "It's like having your own salad bar in the fridge!"
Snacks like granola, juice, and bars may seem virtuous, says Alpert, but not all are created equal. Since some are loaded with sugar, she recommends checking out the nutrition label. Nutrient-rich bar options won't have more than five grams of the sweet stuff.
Eating these "healthy" foods.
Filling up on salads or veggie-rich sushi can also be a diet destroyer as both can be loaded with sugar. To keep your salad clean, Goodman recommends swapping bottled dressings for olive oil with either vinegar or lemon juice. And if you're in the mood for sushi, order sashimi rather than rice-laden rolls.
Gorging on veggies.
Don't worry, greens are still good for you. But even when you're eating healthy, you have to be mindful of portion sizes. Explains Alpert, author of the upcoming book, The Diet Detox, "If a bride's goal is weight loss, having too large of portions can be a big roadblock in their path."