Fitness Expert Fiona Kirk gives you some tips to ensure your groom is the best man he can be on the big day
It goes without saying that it’s going to be a fabulous day and you are going to look amazing! You have read all the magazines, planned everything to within an inch of it’s life, got the dress and embarked on your diet and fitness programme – all carefully timed to produce the perfect ‘look’ on the big day to ensure the wedding photos show you off at your absolute best.
But, what about ‘the groom’? Bear in mind, you have to look at these photos for years to come! Is he ‘perfect in every way’ (in which case, you needn’t read on) or is he in danger of letting you down? Has he been keeping a careful eye on what he is eating and drinking, taking lots of regular exercise and looking after himself to ensure that you both look great on the day?
No, I thought not. They just don’t see what all the fuss is about, do they?
Well, here’s a cunning and devious plan to help him look and feel like Keanu Reeves (or whoever ‘rocks your boat’!) on one of the most important days of your life (and his!):-
1. If you have the kind of relationship where he will regard your ‘interference’ as that of a caring and concerned future wife, share your plan with him. If not, DON’T TELL HIM! If he thinks you are ‘on a mission’, he’s likely to throw a tantrum and put obstacles in the way – all the way!
2. Make a list of the things that could be improved (both for your long-term sanity and for his long-term health and wellbeing). Planning your ‘big day’ is all about lists after all – this is just another one!
Is he overweight (and not bothered)?
Is work ‘stressing him out’?
Is he often too tired to go out?
Is he ‘delivering’ in the bedroom?
Is his skin bad?
Is he losing his hair rather too fast?
Does he ‘never find time’ to exercise?
If some (or all) of the above feature on your list, read on for some ‘tips’ on how to introduce a few new foods, drinks, eating and lifestyle habits that could really make a difference.
Does he do breakfast? Your metabolic ‘engine’ slows down overnight and if you don’t give it a kick-start in the morning, it will stay sluggish all day and won’t ‘burn’ your foods (and any excess fat) to provide energy, so it’s vital that you eat something within an hour of getting up. To ensure the ‘drip feed’ effect of glucose (blood sugar) into the bloodstream, a combination of dense carbohydrates, protein and ‘good’ fats is the key. Instead of a bowl of sugary cereal and milk, toast and marmalade, a couple of croissants or a ‘latte and a muffin’ grabbed on the way to work, suggest some of these:-
Porridge with milk, chopped banana and a squirt of honey
A toasted whole wheat bagel with low fat cream cheese and strips of smoked salmon
A bowl of raw oats soaked with a little apple juice, a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt and a handful of berries and mixed fresh nuts and seeds
Scrambled eggs on dark brown toast or a couple of boiled eggs with brown ‘soldiers’
‘low sugar/low salt’ baked beans on mixed grain brown toast
If he can only manage to grab something on the way to work occasionally, suggest fruit smoothies (with yoghurt), bags of fresh mixed nuts, ‘breakfast bars’ (if sugar or anything ending with the letters ‘-ose’ are listed in the first few ingredients, give it a wide berth – it’s more sugar than nourishment!), granola, mixed fresh fruit salads or vegetably, meaty, beany and fishy soups with a brown bagel
If he can’t resist a ‘Full English’ at the weekend, a couple of venison sausages, a few slices of lean, organic, back bacon, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, low sugar/low salt baked beans, scrambled or poached eggs and a couple of slices of whole wheat toast will do him a lot more favours ‘health-wise’ than a the typical ‘greasy fry-up’.
We should all aim to eat something every 3 hours between breakfast and dinner and try to include protein every time. Guys have more muscle than us girls and protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle. And, muscle is more metabolically active (uses more calories) than fat and therefore very important for weight-loss. The addition of protein to every meal and snack also slows down the rate at which ‘sugars’ are released into the bloodstream, thus avoiding the ‘energy dips’ which result in loss of concentration, the ‘mid-afternoon’ slump, cravings for stimulants (coffee, cigarettes, biscuits, crisps, cakes etc.) and the likelihood that the grand plan to ‘hit the gym’ on the way home just doesn’t happen. Some of these meal and snack suggestions could be just what he needs to ‘stay on track’:-
Soup – huge variety out there! Filling, nutritious and ‘hearty’, available on every street in every town from John ‘O Groats to Land’s End, easy to make yourself (if time allows) and a fabulous alternative to ‘junk’ or ‘fast’ meals or snacks. Stay away from the creamy ones and go for those with protein (beany, brothy, meaty, fishy)
Baked potatoes (or baked sweet potatoes) filled with baked beans, cottage cheese + pineapple, roasted mixed vegetables, tuna (watch the mayo), hummus with cucumber + tomatoes, yoghurt mixed with salsa + cold cooked chicken
Pick up a selection of salads from the ‘deli’ – avoid all the ones with mayonnaise and go for greens, vegetables, rice, couscous, lentils, beans, fish, shellfish, chicken, duck (one large or two small), sling on some roasted nuts and dress with hummus or tzatziki. Bin those little packets of sugary dressings that often accompany!
Sushi works! Go for the ones with fish or seafood and have a mug of soup, a couple of oatcakes and some fruit
If a roll or a sandwich is unavoidable, head for the ‘takeaways’ where you ‘design your own’ and ask for the brownest bun, loads of salad stuffs, lean meat or chicken, a ‘yoghurty’ sauce and find some fruit and fresh nuts and seeds to nibble on while you deliberate
Other good snacks include:- a couple of cold boiled eggs, a cold cooked chicken leg, sardines on toast, mini oatcakes with a small pot of hummus, fresh fruit with parma ham and mini mozzarella balls, tray of baby raw vegetables with cottage cheese, tzatziki or guacamole, mixed olives with feta cheese, fresh dates stuffed with almonds or pistachios, mini pitta pockets filled with tinned tuna and cucumber, vegetable wraps.
Ditch the starchy carbs at dinner time. Unless he has done some serious physical exercise after work (and should definitely re-stock the glycogen stores), starchy carbs will only slow him down, ‘bag him up’ and encourage weight gain. Steer him towards good sources of protein - lean meat and game, fish and shellfish, beans, lentils and tofu (unlikely but worth a try!), hard cheeses or eggs and fill the plate with a host of vegetables (steamed, stir fried, roasted, baked). Not quite so easy if he is eating out but there are loads of ‘better choices’:-
Chinese/Thai/Malaysian - choose boiled rice over fried rice and opt for soup, stir fry or spicy noodle dishes and lots of steamed ‘greens’
Indian - swap creamy kormas and fried pakoras for a tandoori. The hot, dry and spicy combination really turns up the ‘fat burning’ mechanism. Tomato-based dhansak or pathia are also a good choice. Add a lentil or chick-pea dahl and opt for boiled rice or poppadoms rather than pilau rice
Italian - go for a tomato and chilli-based pasta dishes like penne arrabiatta or puttanesca rather than a creamy carbonara or lasagne
Japanese - raw fish, boiled rice, noodle soup…almost everything in the Japanese kitchen can be considered ‘healthy’, so enjoy! Just go easy on the salty soy sauce
Mexican - chargrilled dishes such as cajun spiced fish or fajitas are a good option. Avoid the sour cream and cheese but load up on guacamole and salsa.
Does he like a pint? Alcohol is not the ‘demon’ it was once thought to be and can help you relax and de-stress. But, the perceived health benefits of the much-researched heart-friendly antioxidant nutrients can only be reaped when the ‘little and often’ approach is employed. No more than one or two drinks per day for men is the recommendation. A couple of glasses of good red wine top the list and while beer and cider provide extra nourishment, they are not the best choice for weight loss. Coffee and tea aren’t all bad either (more antioxidants), but stick to a macchiato rather than a milky cappuccino or latte and choose black or green tea. One coffee and two teas per day should be the max. And, ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST ONE LARGE GLASS (OR A SMALL BOTTLE) OF WATER EVERY 3 HOURS. Your brain, your skin cells, your digestive system, your heart, your lungs and your muscles can only work efficiently if they are regularly hydrated.
The above suggestions provide a range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals important for your man’s energy levels, heart, digestive and skin health, immune system, weight management/maintenance, stress levels and libido:-
Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant which boosts sex drive, maintains healthy bones and teeth, provides resistance to infection, controls blood cholesterol levels, produces anti-stress hormones and promotes brain and nerve transmission. Good food sources:- all vegetables, fruit and sprouted beans (alfalfa, mung beans etc).
The B vitamins – help to convert glucose into energy and allow more blood to the ‘parts that matter’, regulate testosterone levels, increase libido and the ‘feel good’ factor, promote good digestion and maintain healthy skin. Good food sources:- whole grains (especially brown rice, nuts, lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy produce, avocados and broccoli).
Vitamin A – vital for eye health and the strength of bones and teeth. Also a primary antioxidant for heart and cardiovascular health. Good food sources:- yellow and orange fruit and vegetables, dark green ‘leafies’, liver, dairy produce, eggs and oily fish.
Vitamin E – works together with vitamin C to protect the heart and cardiovascular system, maintain the quality of hair and skin and vital for sexual health and vitality. Good food sources:- brown rice, nuts and seeds and their oils and butters, avocados, oats and green ‘leafies’.
Zinc – very important for the guys. Vital for sperm health and production, essential for skin, hair and nail health, ‘key’ to optimising taste and smell and avoiding susceptibility to infections. Good food sources:- shellfish and seafood (particularly oysters and sardines), eggs, hard cheese, lamb, chicken, turkey, lean steak, brown rice, lentils, pine nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Magnesium – essential for balancing sex hormones, for stamina and regulating muscle contraction and relaxation of the heart. Also ensures calcium gets into the bones for strength. Good food sources:- Green leafy vegetables, nuts, hard cheese, bananas, cereal grains, caviar and seafood.
Calcium – essential for cardiovascular health, bone strength and growth. Also for nerve transmission and the sensitivity of ‘touch’. Good food sources:- dairy products, green leafy vegetables, beans, dried fruit, nuts, canned fish with bones.
Iodine – stimulates the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism and produces energy. Good food sources:- fish and shellfish, seaweeds, squash, spinach.
Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3s and 6s which govern hormonal balance, nerve transmission, the acuteness of the senses, supple skin and ‘fat burning’. Good food sources:- fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds (and their oils and butters).
See Fiona's website Fat Bust Forever for more advice and to find out about her weight loss diets .....