Shape Up! An Exercise and Nutrition Plan for Brides
September 10, 2014 | Tips
The destination has been chosen, the dress has been purchased (hopefully!), and the final thing on the to-do list is to shed a few pounds. Both nutritionists and personal trainers agree: fad diets that make quick weight loss promises are most definitely not the way to go – they’re unrealistic, potentially risky, and rarely keep the weight off in the long-term. The healthiest way to tone-up is by creating a weight-loss plan.
“Fad diets don’t work,” says Kelly Tamberelli, a certified fitness instructor at Excel Fitness in Hackensack, New Jersey. “You need to make a lifestyle change. It’s about being healthy: If you’re focused on making healthier choices, and commit to a healthy diet and exercise plan, the weight will come off – and stay off. You should be able to enjoy the process, not suffer through it.”
The five-to-eight week plan
Any bride who wants to lose weight realistically needs a minimum of five weeks and ideally eight weeks to set fitness goals and see results. A structured regimen of nutrition planning and exercise will help tone the upper body, strengthen the core, and add some contour to legs.
The exercise plan
The destination bride is often faced with showing more skin than her home-bound counterpart – she’ll not only be wearing a dress but she’ll also most likely be sporting a bathing suit too, so it should come as no surprise that women always want to tone their mid-section.
“Abs can be a trouble area for stressed brides,” says Kelly. “A good cardio routine will not only help burn the fat covering your abdominals, but will also relieve stress.” She recommends Pilates based exercises because they are great stress relievers and wonderful overall toners.
The best tried-and-true exercises?
“You want to focus on the large muscle groups (hips, butt, thighs, and back) because they burn the most calories,” says Kelly. “Standing exercises that incorporate large muscle groups, like squats or lunges with a tricep press, are great for toning; and if you increase your tempo, you’ll also get a great cardio workout.”
Work-outs can be done at home, but there are also benefits to joining a gym.
“For a budget conscious bride, there are plenty of ways to get a great workout at home,” says Kelly. “You can invest in some weights and a few fitness videos, or even a simple jump rope can be a very effective workout. But if you’re lacking motivation, joining a gym or using a personal trainer is your best bet.”
However, exercise is only a part of the equation – if a bride is still pigging out on pastries and cakes at her wedding shower and downing drink after drink at her bachelorette party, exercise won’t help her lose weight: it will only help her maintain. Eating healthy is the next step to creating a well-balanced pre-wedding routine.
The nutrition plan
Losing weight doesn’t always mean eliminating things from a diet – it’s more about supplementing meals and snacks with healthful, filling alternatives to stay satisfied and help lower caloric intake.
On average expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
“The only way to lose weight and really keep it off is to stay within the healthy range of losing 1-2 pounds per week,” says Kelly. “To lose one pound a week, you need a calorie reduction of 500 calories a day. You can cut out 250 calories from your diet, and you can burn off the other 250 with exercise.”
To avoid being hungry all day long, opt for certain foods and never skip meals. “Focus on eating lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and five servings of fruits and vegetables every day,” says Kelly. “Keep your metabolism going by eating three small meals and small snacks (100-200 calories each) between meals.” Start the day off with a slice of whole wheat toast, cheese and a banana, then have a mid-morning snack of 10 almonds and an apple, for lunch have a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread with crudités, then a midday snack of low-fat yogurt with berries, and for supper enjoy a three-ounce piece of barbecued chicken with brown rice and veggies.
The things that should be cut out of a diet in the weeks leading up to the special day (and even during the wedding getaway) include all white-based breads, rice, pastas, and even white potatoes, as well as anything with white refined flour and sugar. Stick to whole-grain pastas and breads as well as sweet potatoes to maintain balance and keep appetites at bay.
Resist the urge to indulge at all the pre-wedding celebrations and get toned in time for the big day. Don’t let those last 10 pounds weigh on your mind – put together a well-balanced plan consisting of physical activity and good eating habits while allowing enough time to achieve fitness goals.
By Jennifer Cox