My Pre-Wedding Diet Starts Here

my-pre-weddng-diet-and-exercise-routineThe countdown is on! I'm about 7 months, 2 weeks and 1 day away from my wedding and the days just seem to get shorter and shorter. On paper it appears as though I've got plenty of time to get in shape for the big day but in reality, I don't. In just a few short months I've got my engagement shoot to be ready for and then before I know it I'll be walking down the aisle. That's why it's time to get my sh*t together and put my plan on paper - my pre- wedding diet and fitness plan. So here it is, my goals and visions on the line for the world to see. It's at this point where I go from the "out of sight, out of mind" method to holding myself accountable in front of the world. This is it, it's now or never. My Pre- Wedding Diet Starts Here. After reading this article you'll understand why I'm not your average dieting bride. In fact, I don't plan on dieting at all. Considering I'm a Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist my daily eats are naturally very clean and consistent. Because of that I plan to use exercise as my primary source of weight loss. That doesn't mean I can eat anything I want. What it means is that I plan to keep my diet the same as it is now (with small manipulations and variations here and there) while increasing the amount of cardiovascular exercise I put in each week. That being said, below is a typical example of my pre- wedding diet with weight loss in mind:

Meal #1 (aka breakfast): Protein Pancakes with PB and J 1 cup of black coffee + 2 packets Splenda + 1 tablespoon Half N Half

Meal #2 (lunch): 3-4 ounces grilled chicken breast or turkey/ground beef burger with reduced sugar ketchup 2 cups romaine lettuce salad topped with handful of slivered almonds, balsamic vinegar or Light Gingerly organic salad dressing and 4 or 5 baby carrots water to drink

Meal #3 (snack): 1 scoop chocolate protein powder sweetened with Splenda and mixed with water and 1 tablespoon half n' half (the protein I use is a blend of whey isolate, casein and egg white protein) 1 medium or large green apple sliced 2-3 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Meal #4 (dinner): 3-4 ounces grilled chicken breast or turkey/ground beef burger with reduced sugar ketchup 2 cups romaine lettuce salad topped with handful of slivered almonds (~1 ounce), balsamic vinegar and 4 or 5 baby carrots water to drink 1 medium pear or apple 1 small plum (if I'm still hungry)

Sometimes I will make Brisket, Ground beef or another type of red meat for dinner often using the Crock Pot.

I have no idea how many calories this is equivalent to. Often I'll eat more or less depending upon how hungry I feel. Breakfast and lunch tend to be the same every day, it's other meals and snacks where there might be some discrepancies.

Ok, on to my pre- wedding workout plan:

Monday thru Friday I head over to CrossFit Stony Brook for a workout. On the weekends it's a tad bit difficult for me to get over to the gym for a workout since I work from early in the morning to late afternoon. By the time I'm out of work on back on this side of town the gym has been closed for 5 hours. On those days my goal is to head outside for a run around my neighborhood if the weather and my body permits. During the week I plan to add an additional 3 days of morning cardio like running or rowing (I have an indoor rower). Here is how my schedule is going to look:

M - AM Cardio; PM CrossFit T - PM Crossfit W - AM Cardio; PM CrossFit Th - PM Crossfit F - AM Cardio; PM CrossFit S - Off (optional cardio in the evening) Sun - Off (optional cardio in the evening)

Home cardio workouts will consist of one of the following: - 2.5 mile run around neighborhood (~30 - 35 minutes in duration) - Intervals on the Rower (~15 minutes total) - CrossFit style workout using body weight movements, box jumps, kettlebells, wall balls, situps and jump rope (~20 minute workout)

The key to my morning cardio workouts is that I plan to do them first thing in the morning before breakfast. I find that this method works well for me to help get rid of this stubborn body fat.

Speaking of stubborn body fat. I plan to record my weekly progress right here on my blog. Starting with today. My weight this morning was a staggering 143 lbs! Ugh! Before the holidays I was doing exactly what I have posted above consistently and I was losing weight. I lost a total of 7 lbs! My weight was down to 139 which is the lowest I've been in over 3 years! And now, it seems like it's creeping back up slowly and I'm not cool with that.

Every Monday morning I'm going to weigh myself when I wake up. Then I'm going to lace up my running shoes and hit the sidewalk. My goal is not to see a certain number on the scale, but more to feel confident in my body and fit in to smaller clothes. My first milestone marker will be the engagement session we have yet to book with our amazing photographers Alexis Stein Photography. I've not yet set the date for this photoshoot but I would imagine it will be at minimum set for 2-3 months from now. That means I've got about 9 or 10 weeks to make some progress. I'm ready to make things happen and I can't wait to see how our engagement photos turn out, especially after I am in better shape!

This road is not going to be an easy one but I am going to do my best to make things happen and feel good in my skin no matter what the outcome turns out to be.

Got any tips or tricks to help me feel and look my best on my big day?

The DIY Diet

Fad diets and body cleanses are becoming a thing of the past. With a never-ending recession and the explosion of Pinterest, it’s no surprise the DIY-ers are taking over. So why not take the DIY route when it comes to your diet too!

The freedom that comes with the DIY diet is what makes it so sustainable. No longer will you have to follow a hard-back book or count points. DIY-ing your diet is the answer to your diet woes – all it takes is a little bit of time and effort and you’ll be on your way.

You can create a DIY diet many different ways, but what I’m providing for you here are 3 different variations that you can easily DIY based on your personal goals. Because every body is different, your diet will be different than your girlfriend’s diet even if she has the same goals. And you can take this diet to whatever level works best for you meaning that you can choose to only use the steps to success or you can take it up a notch by calculating your macro-nutrient needs and measure your foods accordingly. Either way you will have success as long as you stick with it for at least 4 weeks. FYI it takes 3-4 weeks for you to see any changes to your body, 6 weeks for your friends and family, and 2-3 months for the rest of the world. So get started!

Steps for Success:

1.    Your first assignment is to figure out how many meals you can commit to eating daily. When I say meals I’m not talking about Thanksgiving size servings. What I am saying is that snacks are considered meals too, so those count. At minimum you should have 3 meals per day. However, my suggestion is that you opt for 4-6 meals per day instead to help you avoid cravings and overeating at any one given meal. Eating more often has also been shown to boost your metabolism by keeping the furnace burning.

The easiest way to determine the amount of meals you can commit to eating per day is to think about your daily schedule. Are you an early riser and late to bed? If so, you should have more meals than someone who maybe goes to bed early every night. Can you eat at your desk at work? Etc. etc. Write down your schedule and pencil in times at which you plan to eat breakfast, lunch, snack then dinner, etc. etc.

2.    Protein is your friend – eat it at every meal! The key to a healthy diet is to incorporate lean proteins in to your day with every meal and snack. This could be as simple as making a smoothie for breakfast with Greek yogurt (your protein source), fresh berries and tossing in some crushed almonds or grilling chicken (protein) for dinner and having leftovers for lunch the next day. Keep it simple and prepare food in advance for best results.

3.    Fill up on nutrient dense foods like complex carbs, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Carbs provide energy your body needs to get through the day and an intense workout. Choose healthy ones like oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain breads, pastas and fruits. Healthy fats keep you feeling fuller longer, promote soft skin and hair, and help boost weight loss. When it comes to healthy fats – stick with oils (olive, sunflower, coconut, etc), avocado, low fat cheeses and mixed nuts.

4.    Fruits and Veggies are free foods. If you’re feeling hungry after lunch or dinner, have an apple or an orange. It's a much better choice than seconds or dessert and you'll find yourself full and that your craving for something to eat has been satisfied. It’s amazing how hard it is to overeat fruit - it’s just not something most people can stomach.

5.    Plan for success. A great way to stay on track is to plan out what you’d like to eat for each meal every day of the week. Write it out on paper so you can see it visually, then prep as much as you can in advance and make sure you have everything on hand in the house for when you need it. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. So write it down, shop for supplies, and prep. If you work outside of the home, prepare your lunch and snacks for the day the night before, that way you can throw it all in a lunch tote with some ice packs before heading out the door in the morning  you won’t end up picking up something expensive and unhealthy for lunch elsewhere.

Up a Notch:

For those of you who feel ease with a set diet to follow, here is your chance to calculate your own diet and DIY-it. The macro-nutrient numbers below are estimates and do account for actual food consumed. These numbers are also geared toward someone who is exercising 5-6 days per week. Choose your goal and follow the calculations below. Once you have your numbers you should then divide each by the number of meals you want to eat per day. Those numbers will then be the amount of protein, carbs and healthy fats you should be having at each meal.

1.    Weight Loss – Protein: 1.2 grams per lb. of body weight Carbs: 1g per lb. body weight Fats: divide carbs by 2

2.    Muscle Building – Protein: 1.5-2 grams per lb. of body weight Carbs: 1.2 – 1.5 grams per lb. of body weight Fats: divide carbs by 3

3.    Maintenance – Protein: 1.2 grams per lb. of body weight Carbs: 1.2 g per lb. of body weight Fats: multiply carbs by 0.6

Example using a 125lb girl who is looking to lose weight: a girl who weighs 125 lbs. should have 150 grams of protein (at 1.2g/lb. bw) per day; 125 grams of carbs and 62.5 grams of fat (round up to 63).

These are all estimates. Eating slightly over or under is perfectly acceptable and will not hurt your progress. This diet is equivalent to about 1667 calories per day.

Her diet might look as such: -    Meal #1: 40g Protein; 50g Carbs; 20g fat -    Meal #2: 35g Protein; 40g Carbs; 13 g fat -    Meal #3: 35g Protein; 30g Carbs; 10g fat -    Meal #4: 40g Protein: 30g Carbs; 20g fat

A great way to use this method without getting in to the nitty gritty is to simply use these numbers as an ideal of what you plan to eat at each meal. What I mean is that you keep this stuff in your head and when you go to serve yourself a meal you will have a roundabout portion size appropriate for your goals. Knowing that you want to have about 40g of protein for breakfast you can easily opt for 3 or 4 egg whites with a protein smoothie made with 1 scoop protein powder and fruit with a side of whole-wheat toast with natural peanut butter on top. You get the point – hopefully.

Don’t be afraid of herbs, spices and condiments. Get creative with your meals and change things up often to avoid diet boredom. The benefit of a DIY diet is that you get to choose what you want to eat and when. And if after 4 weeks you are not seeing the results you want, that means it may be time to re-evaluate and make a change. Until then, stick with the plan and have confidence - the results will follow. Good luck!