ONE MONTH TO GO:
Water Works: Start drinking at least 72 ounces of water a day. “Looking good starts with lots of water,” says Sensible Nutrition Connection’s Debra Wein. “You have to be hydrated to have healthy skin.” Bored stiff by straight H2O? Mix in a packet of orange- or berry-flavored Stevia, an all-natural, calorie-free alternative to Crystal Light.
Snack Smart: Keep your energy level up with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Higher in nutrients and healthy carbohydrates than processed pretzels and crackers, fresh produce fills you up faster and helps eliminate blood-sugar drops. Wein recommends grazing on baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and sugar snap peas during the day.
Give Fat A Chance: Cutting all fat from your diet can backfire. A small daily amount of unsaturated fat promotes shiny hair, clear skin, and increased energy. Add a handful of nuts to a salad, some avocado to a sandwich, or olive oil to a stir-fry, but skip the saturated fats in whole milk, cheese, and creamy sauces.
ONE WEEK BEFORE:
It’s All Mental: Think of yourself as an athlete training for a big event, advises Wein. Don’t binge on Ben & Jerry’s or energy-draining carbs, and set aside time to exercise. (Sorry, parking at the far end of the bakery lot doesn’t count.) If you can’t avoid alcohol entirely, choose red wine over sugary whites or beer.
Salt Watch: High sodium products, like lunchmeat, canned soup, frozen dinners, and fast food can leave you bloated. Wein suggests a simple test for choosing healthy, unprocessed meals: “Find foods where you can actually identify all the ingredients.” (And remember: It takes less time to chop veggies for a salad than it does to cook dinner out of a box.)
Coffee Break: Caffeine can make you jittery, says Wein, so get down to one cup of coffee a day. Replace your 4 p.m. latte with a handful of trail mix or an apple with peanut butter, and keep in mind that even the caffeine in dark chocolate and green tea adds up.
THE MORNING OF:
Wake-Up Call: This is not the day to skip breakfast. A meal high in protein and low in processed sugar will help you beat bridal fatigue. Have some whole-wheat pancakes with a little fruit or yogurt, or oatmeal with almonds and raspberries, and pack a peanut-butter sandwich in your bag.