By: Courtney Skiles

If you’re recently engaged, about to get engaged or planning a vow renewal the chances are you’re also considering what you’re going to look like as you walk down the aisle in your dream dress. Of the 2.3 million American weddings every year, 80 percent of brides and over half the wedding party and family members will take steps to change their eating or exercise habits for the big day, according to the Brides.com 2006 American Wedding Study.(1)

Sweating for the wedding is real and whether you’re looking to slim down, tone up or just maintain planning your fitness journey is just as important as planning the big day. Below are 8 ways to help you become the fit bride you’ve always dreamed about!

  1. PLAN!

Create a plan that you can follow! From the moment you say yes, your world will turn into all things wedding, from dresses to venues and centerpieces. There is no denying weddings are stressful so it is key that you start early and PLAN! 

To get started you need to answer these 3 questions: How long do I have? How much do I want to lose or tone? And most important, is this reasonable? Once you answer these questions, add it to your schedule. Start by blocking out times each week for your workout. Most people seem to stick to a plan better if their workout is scheduled in the morning before the chaos of the day begins but if this is not reasonable for you that is ok! Treat it as a deadline or a meeting, schedule it and don’t miss it.

  1. WORKOUT PROGRAM AND DESIGN

Your workout is what works for you! Finding the perfect exercise and diet program may seem hard at first so it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you love about your body and what are some trouble spots you want to work on? The style of your wedding dress will also help you identify the ideal program! 

How, you ask? 

How you feel in your dress sets the tone for how you’ll feel the day of. If you’ve picked a low back sleeveless gown then your arms and back are your key focus areas. If your dress is a full princess style gown with a synched waist then your waist line and overall tone is key. Overall following a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout is the most effective way to get your whole-body wedding ready.

  1. DE-STRESS AND HAVE FUN

Planning a wedding should be FUN, but it can also be stressful, so it is key to de-stress and enjoy the process. Excessive stress even affects where we tend to store fat. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat, which can be particularly tough to shed.(2)  While working out helps reduce stress, it is also important for you to de-stress in your own way. Schedule yourself some downtime to go to the movies, have a girl’s night, a date night out or even just a nap. It is important to your mental state, and probably your fiancé’s, to take a step back and relax. 

  1. HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES

Find the diet that is right for you! Nutrition plays a major rule in your overall health. While Paleo, Whole 30, and counting macros show proven results, you do not have to go to that extreme. Just be cautious of what you’re eating and how you’re fueling your body. Nutrition is 60-80 percent of a person’s visual results so if your body is not changing with your ‘regular’ diet, then your wedding diet will require some changes.”(3) Drink enough water, eat enough veggies, proteins and fruit and avoid over indulging in carbs. Meal prepping and planning ahead will help you avoid the last minute decision eating that usually involves junk food. Keep in mind that high sugar foods lead to higher blood sugar and cravings, while protein and whole foods keep you feeling full and require more energy to digest.

  1. HEALTHY RATE

Faster is not better! According to the CDC, people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off.(4) So don’t stress if the pounds don’t melt off after your first 30 minute run, it is more likely to stay off if you lose it at a gradual healthy rate. It is also advised to take measurements and photos to visualize and track your progress instead of just using the scale. Everyone’s body is different and we all lose weight differently. 

  1. COMMUNITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

A supporter system is critical! BUDDY SYSTEM: calling all bridesmaids, family and friends! It is no surprise that when we have someone to hold us accountable and “suffer” through the tough workouts together we are more likely to stick to our plan. So grab a friend and set up a plan together. You can also join a local workout facility with classes and a support system to help you stay on track. There are also plenty of Facebook support groups and local clubs you can join in order to keep you accountable. 

  1. DAILY ACTIVITIES

Small changes can make a big difference! Start small! You do things every day that help you burn calories so why not take it a step further. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the door than you normally do and stand up at your desk for part of the day. All of these small changes can make a huge difference.  If you have a smart watch or tracker set an alarm to remind you to get up and move. Up your goal every week and just keep moving!

  1. NO SHORTCUTS

No shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle! You will run into plenty of people selling products that they guarantee will show you results, and while some may show you temporary (water weight) results, most are a scam. Focus on your plan, your goals, and work hard and your results will come in a healthy and sustainable way. 

Remember, this is your wedding. A time that you will always remember. The best way to be successful is to plan and make it fun!

  1. “This Is What American Weddings Look Like Today.” Brides, www.brides.com/gallery/american-wedding-study.
  2. Scott, Elizabeth. “How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 24 June 2019, www.verywellmind.com/how-stress-can-cause-weight-gain-3145088.
  3. Bianco, Katie. “How to Get in Shape for Your Wedding.” WeddingWire, Www.weddingwire.com, 24 Feb. 2017, www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/how-to-get-in-shape-for-your-wedding.
  4. “Losing Weight | Healthy Weight | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html.B&K_E-session (1001 of 50)