You’re engaged! You’ve found your soul mate and both families are thrilled. Now it’s time for your engagement party. Your hair looks great, the dress is fabulous, but as you bend down to put on your sassiest high heels, you catch a glimpse of your backside in the mirror. The next few minutes are a blur. Sound familiar?
It seems many brides want to get back in shape before their Big Day. For most women, the pressure of being the center of attention makes them want to improve their current body shape and lose weight. After all, you’ve got to look good in that wedding dress and put those bridesmaids to shame. And like your mother says, Aunt Milly is known to criticize!
As most health professionals will tell you, a combination of physical activity and a balanced diet is key to achieving a healthy and fit physique. But where to begin?
People who set unrealistic goals like trying to lose 100 pounds in a short period of time or signing up for heavy weight training right away are going to be disappointed. In order to succeed, you must (1) be honest in your self-evaluation, (2) set realistic goals, and (3) be open to reassessment and changes. A bride I know said her goal was to fit into the “dream dress” she bought 2 sizes too small!
The first thing to do is to flip the switch. Decide that this is something you are going to be dedicated to by looking at the commitment as a new way of life – not just a diet.
Next, consult your doctor or a nutritionist to help you devise a plan that will work best for you. Write down what you will and will not eat, and when and how you will exercise. Challenge yourself gradually by setting achievable goals in both the number of pounds to be lost and the frequency and kind of exercise you undertake, and know that you can re-evaluate along the way. If you’ve never been one for Sweating to the Oldies, try stretching and walking every day, or take yoga classes. Also, if you are someone who is used to eating three large meals a day, begin by cutting down on your food intake by limiting portion size and cutting out trans fats.
When it comes to exercise, remember that it doesn’t have to be boring or ritualistic. There are all kinds of group step, dance, callisthenic, and spinning classes. There’s also kickboxing, running, Pilates, and personal trainers that can help you with circuit weight training if you belong to a gym. The more fun you have, the better results you will see. And mixing things up will also keep you interested.
One bride told me that she was 100 pounds overweight. She consulted her doctor about possibly undergoing gastric bypass surgery and was told to give weight loss a serious try first. That, she said, was the best advice she ever got. She set an initial goal of losing 50 pounds in a year and ended up losing 80 pounds by eating lots of salads and going to “hot yoga” classes – something she loved and looked forward to every day!
It may also comfort you to know that grooms-to-be often feel the same way. One very busy overweight lawyer I know said that as soon as he got engaged, he promised his fiancé that she would have a groom she would be proud of. He completely changed his whole attitude toward food and immediately began scheduling exercise into his daily routine. He ate healthier by limiting carbs and completely cutting out foods that were bad for him. By the time his wedding came, his friends and relatives barely recognized him!
So good planning and taking it slow seem to be good advice if you have a year in which to lose your desired weight. But what about if your wedding is set for the near future?
Experts say that if you try a crash diet, your body may not get the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs, which could seriously compromise your immune system and leave you feeling weak and sick on your wedding day. Also, not giving your body enough fuel to burn (i.e., good food) can lower your metabolism, thus making the whole painful process result in losing little or no weight at all.
With a time allotment of six months or less, the best approach is to first consult your doctor to help you with your dietary needs. He may suggest that you take a multivitamin or other nutritional supplement. It’s also important to count calories, drink plenty of water, and exercise faithfully each day. Another great tip is to “think thin!” Visualizing your body as already being the size you want helps make your efforts easier and makes the new you a more believable and accessible reality.