Having 12 years of experience in the field of nutrition and diet counselling, health and lifestyle coach, Dr Archana Batra believes that a tailored health routine packed with balanced nutritional diets and workout sessions, is all that a would-be bride needs for that gorgeous glow on her dream day. Here she spills the beans on the beauty secrets all future brides must know by heart. By Sushmita Srivastav

What’s the first and foremost fitness tip you’d like to give to our brides-to-be?

I’d like to start with two words–plan ahead! Often, women come all stressed out just a month before their weddings with too many expectations. That’s just not the right way to go about it. Make realistic goals and invest enough time to achieve them. Give your body and mind at least three months to prep for your special day, and pen down all your fitness goals along with deadlines. However, staying fit doesn’t just limit to the body, you must feel emotionally fit for this new journey of your life too. So make sure to keep your stress levels under check.

Dr Archana Batra

What exercise routine a future bride must follow?

Well, forming a routine might sound hard but it’s quite simple, really. Figure out your problem areas and start the exercise programme early–giving the entire routine at least 12 weeks to work is a wise idea. There are many reasons why you must start early; you have ample time to get into that perfect fit of your dream wedding dress, and more time means less stress, and more glowing skin. Research says that strength training can take from few weeks to even a month’s time to tone up your muscles.

Once you are set to start, take help of a personal trainer or make your own personalised workout depending upon your schedule and the focus areas. Make sure to include both cardio and strength training in your exercise. You may add HIIT (high intensity interval training) or a form of dance to the list to make it more fun but there has to be two days a week dedicated to strength training or resistance exercise sessions. But remember, no heavy weights for arms as that may make them bulkier.

It is equally important to know when to leave the exercise routine. Stop your intense workout sessions a week before the wedding day to avoid sore muscles, added weight, water retention, and puffy skin. If you want, you can switch to relaxation and meditation for the final week till the wedding day.

Dr Archana Batra
Expert recommends to pen down fitness goals along with deadlines, which should cover both physical as well as emotional fitness.

Tell us about the best bridal nutrition plan that’s there.

Healthy nutrition is a must to look fresh and radiating on your D-day, and is crucial for overall wellbeing. As per the American Academy of Dermatology, the best bridal diet to prevent a troubled skin and add glow is the low GI diet. What’s that you ask? Well, a low glycaemic index diet means completely staying off the foods that lead to rapid rise in blood glucose leading to a spike in insulin, which can cause inflammation, more sebum production, and hence, acne formation. Bid goodbye to the sugary indulgences and fried or processed foods, and switch to foods with low GI like vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Replace your spicy meals with salads, fruits, nuts and fish. Plus, include yogurt in your daily diet to build up healthy gut microbiota that leads to clearer, healthier skin. However, it is understandable to have a cheat meal once a week as I know you’d like to go out dining or partying with your fiancé, family and friends. You would want to make the most memorable and fun memories during this course of time, I get it, but try not to over indulge until you’re ready to sweat out those extra calories or compensate really hard.

Dr Archana Batra

Superfoods are very popular today. How can those be included in the bridal routine?

Yes, superfoods have some amazing effects on your skin and hair, and have endless health benefits as well. Rich in antioxidants (Vitamin A, C and E) and phytochemicals (lycopene, anthocyanins, and chlorophyll), superfoods are widely used in cosmetic products too. Try lemon, berries, beetroot, bell peppers, broccoli, leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits for healthy collagen formation, repairing damaged skin cells, and adding to the skin glow. Papaya is another superfood with Vitamin A and papain enzyme that helps in skin rejuvenation. It’s a great ingredient for face mask. Pumpkin seeds with zinc, flaxseeds with Omega 3 fatty acids, and chia seeds can also be included in the meal.

Dr Archana Batra
Superfoods have endless health benefits. Rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, superfoods are widely used in cosmetics today, too.

Enlighten us about the required water intake.

Well, it’s not a hidden secret that adequate water intake is more important than anything else for radiant, acne-free skin. Drinking less water can lead to dehydration and water retention that can give you swollen skin and weight gain. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to rid your body off any toxins, increase the elasticity of the skin, vanish wrinkles off your skin, and make your hair shiny and silky. Also, water doesn’t have any calories, so it increases your metabolism and helps in weight loss.

Suggest few delicious and healthy recipes that a bride- to-be can swear by for skin glow and holistic wellness.

Overnight Berry Chia Oats

Start your day with this easy, no-cook breakfast that can include all the superfoods you want. Take half to one small cup of Greek yogurt, half to three-fourth cup of milk of your choice (go vegan with almond or soya milk), one to two tablespoon of raw whole oats, handful of berries you love, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, one tsp of organic honey, and vanilla essence (optional). Mix all the ingredients in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. And voila! Your berry breakfast is ready with zero efforts and almost no fat. You may also enjoy it post your workout session by just adding almond butter or whey protein for that extra protein intake.

Dr Archana Batra

Green Smoothie

This delicious drink can be taken early in the morning for a fresh start. Add your choice of greens (pick from spinach or kale), two fruits of your choice (apple, orange and pineapple go best), and water or brewed green tea for additional antioxidant benefits. Blend and relish. You may also try the yogurt-based apple cinnamon oatmeal smoothie, berry smoothie, or pineapple and banana smoothie.

Spinach, Beetroot, Pomegranate & Feta Cheese Salad

This salad is a miracle worker for your skin. Toss two handfuls of raw spinach leaves into a bowl with half to one pomegranate, one beetroot (raw/partially steamed), half a cup of crumbled feta cheese, and one tbsp of pumpkin seeds. Dress it with vinaigrette or make your own vinegar-based dressing using ACV or balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings of your choice. You can also add chopped tomato to this salad for an added antioxidant called lycopene. Alternative options for this are fruit and nut salad, chicken and avocado salad, and sprouts and cottage cheese salad with tuna.

Dr Archana Batra
Expert recommends consuming superfoods throughout the day and avoiding carbs at night for every bride-to-be.

For Main Course

Try quinoa with chickpeas and veggies, brown rice, moong or arhar dal, and ragi or multigrain aata chapatti for a complete meal. Avoid having carbs at night if you are looking for weight or inch loss.

For In-Between Snacks

Have healthy snacks and drinks like coconut water, spiced buttermilk, freshly-cut fruits, fresh juice, unsalted and home-roasted foxnuts, Greek yogurt, hummus with veggies, guacamole with veggie sticks, nuts and seeds trail mix, and green or peppermint tea to tackle those sudden hunger pangs.

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