There’s nothing in this world like an engagement ring to motivate you to get serious about weight loss. That dress, wedding photos and don’t even mention the honeymoon! You’re spending a ton of money for a one-time incredible event and will be standing with your husband, back—to tens, maybe even hundreds of guests during your ceremony. With so many amazing things happening on your special day, who wants to worry about their weight and body?
It’s no wonder we go to great strides to look our best on our special day and if your upcoming wedding is serving as motivation for you to solve your fitness or weight issues, that’s perfect. We all need to find our motivation, and an event like wedding has a deadline that can push you to take action.
Problem is, many brides-to-be rely on extreme measures and quick fixes to drop a couple of pounds quickly. Some of those methods may work a little (even if they’re not so safe or healthy), but most of the times they fail—miserably. That’s because quick fixes like diet pills, and extreme exercise plans don’t usually deliver, especially in the long term. When countless studies show that marriage itself tends to pack on the pounds, wouldn’t you rather make smart, reasonable and sustainable changes to your current diet and fitness plan to help prevent the “impossible to stop“ weight gain of wedded bliss? Ones that will not only help you look great by your wedding, but help you stay healthy, fit and svelte as you celebrate your first, second, and 22nd anniversaries? I hope you answered yes.
Even amid the stress of wedding planning, it is possible to stick with or even start a healthy diet and fitness program and lose weight. How? Commit to your plan. You just have to choose to stay in control, one day at a time, no matter what life and wedding planners may throw at you.
1. Track your food. That means all of it, from the spoonful of soup you sampled for your reception menu to the little bites of cake you taste. These “hidden” calories are easy to gloss over but can really add up. Plus, research shows that the simple act of tracking your food can help you lose twice as much weight than if you don’t track at all (mental tracking does not count). If you do nothing else during the final days and weeks before your wedding, track your food diligently every day.
2. Sample smart. A continuation of tip #1, if you know you’re going to be sampling a variety of foods in a short period of time, keep the portions small. Just one or two bites of cake or your caterer’s signature fish dish should be sufficient for taste testing. And if you know you’re going to sample a variety of sweets one day, cut back on sugary foods for the next few days to get back on track. Decide which foods you’ll have (and how much) and use SparkPeople’s free Nutrition Tracker to stay within your calorie range.
3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast is the easiest meal to prepare and it sets the stage for your day. Eat a healthful breakfast to get your metabolism fired up, and then you’ll be more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day—like ordering a smart lunch and swinging by the gym after work. Even better: Eating breakfast can help you lose weight, as studies have shown breakfast eaters tend to consume fewer total calories during the day than people who don’t eat a morning meal.
4. Make fitness a priority. I like to remind people that food is only one part of the equation that determines whether you’ll lose or gain weight. Fitness is just as important. Don’t let your workouts go by the wayside. If anything, you should be trying to work out more than before if you really want to drop a few pounds, especially around the days that you’re sampling all of that rich and delicious food. With a hectic schedule, how will you fit it in? That’s what this next tip is for.
5. Treat your workouts like an appointment. You wouldn’t miss your cake tasting, pre-marriage counseling session or dress fitting, would you? Add your workouts to your calendar so that other obligations don’t get in the way of your gym time. When meeting to discuss plans with your fiancé, parents, bridal party or wedding planner, head out for a walk (or pace around the room if you’re on the phone) for a little multitasking. And when your bridal party wants to schedule your bachelorette party, tell them you’ll be there, but not until after Pilates class lets out.
6. Get support. It can be tough to stay strong and accountable to your goals if you don’t have anyone else cheering you on. It can be even more difficult to do so when people are trying to sabotage your efforts, perhaps unknowingly. The best way to get support is to tell someone—anyone—about your weight and fitness goals and ask for their support. If you feel too uncomfortable to share those details with someone you know, the SparkPeople community is great for that. You can connect with people who have similar goals and get tips, motivation and your own personal cheerleading squad. Be sure to check out our brides-to-be SparkTeams as well because these women know exactly what you’re going through.
7. Limit alcohol. It lowers inhibitions, making it more likely that you’ll forget about your nutrition plan and overindulge. Plus, alcohol alone is pretty high in calories. If you can relax and de-stress without drinking at all, you’ll be better off. If you must drink, nurse your glass slowly, choose diet-friendly drinks, and limit the number of servings. Oh and yes, alcohol does contain calories, so add every drink to your Nutrition Tracker.
8. Catch your zzz’s. Your mind and calendar may be full of to-dos, but is “plenty of sleep” on your agenda each day? It should be. Too little shuteye can hinder your weight-loss efforts, increasing cravings and leading to poor choices. Staying organized will help, but do you best to stick to a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for at least 7-8 hour hours per night—including weekends.
9. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. It’s easy to go over your calories one day and feel like a failure. But remember that it takes much more than one day of overeating to thwart your progress. Accept your slip-ups, learn from them and move on. Here are 25 ways to get back on track today.
10. Steer clear of fads. When someone is desperate to lose weight quickly for wedding, she’ll usually turn to some questionable measures. Be on the lookout for fad diets and don’t fall for fitness gimmicks either. How do you spot them? By their too-good-to-be-true claims. Fad diets don’t work and their results are fleeting. Rather than risk an approach like that, stick with simple, healthy habits that you know make a difference, like the items on this list.