Imagine yourself on your wedding day, everyone's eyes
on you as you start down the aisle in your dream dress. If this scenario sounds
more stressful than blissful, it's time to start on to the path to revealing a
thinner and healthier you in time for your wedding day. Most brides plan on
losing weight for the wedding, but with all the other tasks on your wedding
planning checklist, is it a manageable goal? Don't worry. With these insider tips
just for brides, your dream weight will become a reality.
Where Do I Start?
The first step to healthier living -- and fitting into your dress -- is to
assess your diet and fitness patterns.
your BMI, or body mass index, to determine whether your weight is in a
healthy range, and track your diet to see how many calories a day you are
eating. Next, analyze your diet to see if the foods you choose are healthy.
While scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist for a detailed breakdown of
your diet is certainly helpful -- and might make a great engagement present to
yourself -- you can determine whether your habits are healthy by asking yourself
a few key questions: Do you eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables
every day? Do you include two milk servings in your daily diet? Do you choose
lean sources of protein, such as skinless poultry, rather than hot dogs and
hamburgers? Do your carbohydrates come from whole grains, such as brown rice and
whole wheat bread?
Ready, Set, Goals
Your next step is to establish goals. Whether you want to lose those five
troubling pounds or those five troubling dress sizes, make sure that you set a
reasonable time frame. So, for example, if you want to lose ten pounds, give
yourself about 6-8 weeks. Keep in mind that losing more than 1-2 pounds a week
is considered unhealthy, so make sure you stay within this range, no matter when
your wedding date may fall.
Once you have your long-term goal, break it down into smaller steps -- such as
walking to your wedding appointments, or going for a jog with your maid of honor
-- that you can achieve every week. Remember to concentrate on more than just
you're eating; a successful weight loss program involves changing your life to
become a more fit and active person. And certainly don't forget the best part --
rewarding yourself with some old-fashioned pampering, such as a relaxing massage
or a pedicure, when you hit your targets.
You might think that you don't have the time for setting goals, let alone
reaching them, when you already have so many planning tasks on your calendar.
The trick is to treat your weight loss program as if it is an important step in
the wedding planning process. Schedule times for exercise and for planning your
meals for the week, and write them down as appointments in you calendar. You
wouldn't miss a meeting with your caterer, and you should treat your weight loss
appointments with the same respect.
Start Your Engines
You've got your goals firmly in mind, and you're geared up to go. But what steps
should a bride take to start a shiny new fitness regime? The first thing is to
cut your food intake. According to Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientist for
Weight Watchers, the caloric level needed for gradual weight loss varies
according to each person's physique. However, a good rule of thumb is to not dip
below 1,200 calories a day. As you're starting out, measure your progress by
keeping a detailed food diary alongside your wedding planning calendar. As
Miller-Kovach says, "You can't change what you're doing if you don't know
what you are doing."
One of the easiest ways of cutting calories is by keeping an eye on portion
size. Many brides are astounded to find that a serving of pasta is only half a
cup. If you have a hard time visualizing what a healthy portion looks like,
check with the nutrition panel on your food packaging. When you control your
portion size, even foods high in calories are not off limits. After all, as
Miller-Kovach says, "Burgers didn't make us the world's heaviest nation,
extra value meals did."
Keep On Track
You've been sticking to your routine, and your fiancé says you've never looked
better. Your energy level astounds even your peppy wedding planner. But then one
day it happens. You hit a dreaded weight loss plateau, or are sabotaged by a
sneak attack of the munchies while out cake tasting with your fiancé. How can
you deal with bumps in the road to revealing the thinner you?
The good news for brides with that wedding date looming is that plateaus are a
myth. Miller-Kovach maintains that most plateaus are caused by relaxed adherence
to your diet and fitness regimen. Wedding planning can be stressful, and often
brides fall back on food for comfort or relaxation. Beware when your daily cup
of rice becomes a cup and a quarter, or your half hour runs slip off the
schedule. A good way to break out of a plateau is to start journaling your food
intake and exercise patterns again to see where you might be sliding. You might
also want to set goals based on important wedding dates, such as your first
bridal shower. You'll find yourself back on track by your next dress fitting.
Perhaps you've kicked a plateau, but are having problems with cravings,
especially at events such as showers or pre-wedding parties. One method to
beating those niggling yearnings is to distract yourself. Ask your future
mother-in-law to tell you a story about your fiancé's childhood or about her
own wedding, but occupy your mind with something other than that too-tempting
chocolate cake. Miller-Kovach says that another successful method is to indulge
your craving. Treating yourself to a reasonable portion of your favorite food,
as long as you hit your daily caloric target, should not throw you off track.
It's controlling overeating, rather than eliminating all your favorite treats,
that you should concentrate on.
As you get ready for your wedding, remember not to beat yourself up for the
occasional slip up. Eating right is a life-long commitment, and if you slide one
day, another day in which to eat well will always come. The most important thing
of all is to feel good about yourself and the steps you are taking towards a
healthier lifestyle. Trust us, when a bride gives a smile full of joy and
confidence on her wedding day, no one is looking at her waistline.