Bride on a bright day

There is no way around it. Eating on the run, happy hour with the bridesmaids and sitting on the couch thumbing through wedding magazines can take its toll. The pounds can creep up on you. That gown that fit so perfectly at the fitting can be busting buttons by the big day if you are not careful.

There is no magic pill. You do need to watch the desserts, limit the alcohol and exercise regularly to manage your weight. But instead of focusing on what you can’t do, let’s talk about some tasty things you can do to whittle the waist, burn the belly fat and rock that wedding gown.

1. Protein and fiber with each meal — managing weight, no big deal.

It’s not about deprivation. It’s about balance. This is what a healthy balance looks like.

On a 10-inch plate:

  • one-fourth of that plate is clean lean protein
  • one-fourth whole grains or starch
  • half veggies
  • a spritz or dollop of good fat (e.g. olive oil, nut, seed, avocado.)

This combination has been shown to support the following:

  • It slows digestion, making you feel more satisfied and less likely to go back for seconds.
  • It controls the absorption of sugar. This helps ward off future cravings.
  • It stokes the fat-burning fires.
  • It provides the key nutrients. Rich in vitamins and minerals, this plate supports a healthy immune system, glowing skin and mood stability.

2. Spice it up to keep it off.

Who said eating healthy was dull? Here are some tasty spices that can help burn belly fat.

Black Pepper (piperine): Studies have found that piperine interferes with the formation of new fat cells.

Cinnamon: A series of studies printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a heaping teaspoon cinnamon to a starchy meal stabilizes blood sugar.

Cayenne (capsaicin): A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily consumption of capsaicin improved abdominal fat loss.

Mustard Seed: Scientists at England's Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that by eating 1 teaspoon of mustard (no sugar added) can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after eating.

3. Daily caffeine can help make you lean.

A couple cups of coffee a day has been shown to stoke fat burning fires by an impressive 3-13 percent. Coffee stimulates "brown fat.” Brown fat is different from the fat we find in the gut and butt. Brown fat helps your body burn sugar and fat for energy. (Of course, avoid caffeine if you are sensitive to it. You need your sleep too!)

Final tip: On that wedding day, there are no rules but one. Have a blast!

Don’t forget to check with your supervising health professional before making diet and lifestyle changes.

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Certified Life and Wellness Coach Author/columnist, motivational speaker Certified Trainer for TLS Weight Loss Solution

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