Brides put a lot of pressure on themselves to look good on their wedding day and, for many, losing weight is part of the process. They're not the only ones though - I'm sure many people have thought about losing weight for a wedding, whether it's their own wedding or just a wedding they've been invited to.
The desire to shed pounds could be a result of wanting to fit into the wedding dress or suit, or maybe it's just to look good in photos. Either way, the question is: what's the best way to lose the weight?
Before we begin, I'd like to point out that I'm not a certified fitness trainer or expert - I can only share my experiences and what I've learned over the last few years from my own endeavour to get healthy (notice I wrote "get healthy" and not "lose weight"). I'll get into the tips shortly, but first I'd like to bring some crucial points to your attention:
Starving yourself is dangerous and silly if you don't know what you're doing. Don't do it unless you are following an intermittent fasting approach (e.g. the 5-2 method or 8 hour window).
Exercise alone is not enough. You can smash out workouts all day long but you'll be ruining your results if you're eating junk all the time. What you eat is probably more important than any exercise/training you do.
Seeking to be 'healthy' is much better than seeking to 'lose weight'. Weight can be lost quickly through extreme methods but chances are you'll put the weight back on just as quickly - you might even put on more weight than you lost! Seek to make lifestyle changes that you can maintain in the future.
Being healthy is about a lifestyle change that will last a long time (yes I know that is a commonly used cliché, but it's true). Losing weight is a short term goal that will see you eventually go back to old habits once you've lost the weight.
Good, long-lasting results take time, so be consistent and persistent. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a healthy body.
Let's move onto the tips...
Before doing anything, you have to figure out what your motivation is i.e. what's your 'why'? You'll be coming back to your 'why' each time you feel demotivated and are tempted to go back to old habits. Your 'why' has to be clear and concise and should be something that will motivate you over the long term.
Wanting to lose weight for your wedding is a short term goal - you'll lose the weight, get married, and then find that you go back to old habits because you have no more reason to eat well and train hard. So 'losing weight for my wedding' really isn't a good motivator.
On the other hand, being healthy encompasses things like wanting to have good blood test results or the physical ability to do active things like walk up stairs, go on hikes, or go for bike rides and runs. These are long term pursuits.
In my case, I made a lifestyle change because I wanted to get into the Australian Army Reserves. And I wanted to get into the Reserves to conquer fearfulness, do my bit for my country, and - most importantly - provide my future children with an example for them to follow.
That last bit in bold is the 'why' that I come back to regularly whenever I feel demotivated. It's clear, it's a long term goal, and it makes me be disciplined even when I don't want to be.
Now that you've figured out your 'why', we can move onto the nitty gritty of eating and training.
Change what you eat. As a general rule, stick with food that can be identified. i.e. meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Speak to your doctor about any food allergies you have and then figure out what you should be eating.
Soft drinks and processed fruit juice are poison. Avoid at all costs.
Ideally, we'd never eat junk food. But, most people (including me) would find it difficult cutting junk out forever. Instead, limit junk food to one or two meals per week. Processed sugar (e.g. soft drinks, chocolate, cookies or ice-cream) is bad, and white carbs (white bread, white pasta) aren't the best either - make sure you limit processed sugar and white carbs to one or two servings per week. Better yet, replace the white carbs with wholemeal carbs or other starches such as mashed sweet potato. Also, the 80/20 principle is a balanced way of deciding what you eat and when.
Avoid 'low-fat' products. Many products advertised as 'low-fat' are in fact high in sugar and can be worse for you than the full-fat version.
Portion size is crucial. Many Westerners eat too much these days because portion sizes have grown over the last few decades. Search Google for tips on portion sizes - there is plenty of information out there. Chances are you're eating way too much without even realising it.
Slow your eating down. It takes a while for your body to register that you're full after you've commenced eating. Slowing yourself down by, for example, chewing more times before you swallow means you will eat a smaller volume of food between the time your meal begins and when your stomach says you've had enough.
Eat until you're satisfied, not until you're full. This is a subtle but important point. Eating until you are 'full' usually means you've eaten too much and will end up stretching your stomach; you'll then require ever-larger portion sizes to get to the point of being 'full'. On the other hand, being 'satisfied' means you are no longer hungry - but you're not so full that you feel your stomach is about to burst!
Find a training/exercise activity you enjoy. Yes, it is important to have the discipline to do things you don't like, but you should first focus on finding an activity that you enjoy. That way you will be consistent and persistent because you'll be looking forward to your training.
Aim to train at least 3 times per week. Research has shown that the minimum requirement for seeing long term results is 3 x 30 minute sessions per week. You might initially find that you can't do 30 minutes without totally losing energy. That's perfectly fine - start with whatever your capabilities are and build up over time. Stop and catch your breath if you have to.
Be consistent and persistent. New research is showing that cardio fitness is lost very quickly (apparently up to half your fitness can be lost if you don't train for one week). So it is crucial that you train every week and that you don't go more than 2-3 days without training.
Build up over time. It will take time to build your strength and endurance, so be patient and don't train to the point of getting injured. Some good programs to follow are:
Running: Couch to 5k.
Swimming: Total Immersion or SwimSmooth.
Weight circuits: Google search "bodyweight circuits" or "weight circuits". Also look for Ben Robert-Smith's Warrior Workout (it's available as a PDF) as an example of how to string exercises together in a circuit.
Intervals and circuits are your friend. There are two ways to train: long, slow and steady; or short and intense. Both are valid, but intervals (for cardio) and circuits (for strength) get your heart rate right up to its maximum and you'll see results very quickly.
Don't have the attitude that you'll make a change tomorrow, on the weekend, or on Monday. Make the decision to get healthy NOW and start putting the above advice into action immediately.
This blog post can be summed up in one sentence: eat well and train consistently and persistently. The sooner you begin the sooner you'll see results. Make sure you enjoy your training and get professional advice from a personal trainer, gym and doctor. The internet has more information than you'll ever be able to absorb - so start learning! God bless and good luck.
If you have any other tips, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
Bridal Blue specialises in designing and handcrafting custom-made bridal and wedding headpieces, hair pieces, crowns and tiaras featuring pearls and crystals from Swarovski for brides, bridesmaids, and flower girls. Bridal Blue also has a full range of wedding and bridal accessories, jewellery, earrings and studs. See Bridal Blue's ever growing wedding tips and bridal inspiration blog for great wedding ideas.
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