Here are 20 tips that will help you look slim and trim on your wedding day and beyond.
1. Track your food. That means all of it, from the spoonful of soup you sampled for your reception menu to the little bites of cake you taste. These "hidden" calories are easy to gloss over but can really add up. Plus, research shows that the simple act of tracking your food can help you lose twice as much weight than if you don't track at all (mental tracking does not count). If you do nothing else during the final days and weeks before your wedding, track your food diligently every day.
2. Sample smart. A continuation of tip #1, if you know you're going to be sampling a variety of foods in a short period of time, keep the portions small. Just one or two bites of cake or your caterer's signature fish dish should be sufficient for taste testing. And if you know you're going to sample a variety of sweets one day, cut back on sugary foods for the next few days to get back on track. Decide which foods you'll have (and how much) and use SparkPeople's free Nutrition Tracker to stay within your calorie range.
3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast is the easiest meal to prepare and it sets the stage for your day. Eat a healthful breakfast to get your metabolism fired up, and then you'll be more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day—like ordering a smart lunch and swinging by the gym after work. Even better: Eating breakfast can help you lose weight, as studies have shown breakfast eaters tend to consume fewer total calories during the day than people who don't eat a morning meal.
4. Make fitness a priority. I like to remind people that food is only one part of the equation that determines whether you'll lose or gain weight. Fitness is just as important. Don't let your workouts go by the wayside. If anything, you should be trying to work out more than before if you really want to drop a few pounds, especially around the days that you're sampling all of that rich and delicious food. With a hectic schedule, how will you fit it in? That's what this next tip is for.
5. Treat your workouts like an appointment. You wouldn't miss your cake tasting, pre-marriage counseling session or dress fitting, would you? Add your workouts to your calendar so that other obligations don't get in the way of your gym time. When meeting to discuss plans with your fiancé, parents, bridal party or wedding planner, head out for a walk (or pace around the room if you're on the phone) for a little multitasking. And when your bridal party wants to schedule your bachelorette party, tell them you'll be there, but not until after Pilates class lets out.
6. Get support. It can be tough to stay strong and accountable to your goals if you don't have anyone else cheering you on. It can be even more difficult to do so when people are trying to sabotage your efforts, perhaps unknowingly. The best way to get support is to tell someone—anyone—about your weight and fitness goals and ask for their support. If you feel too uncomfortable to share those details with someone you know, the SparkPeople community is great for that. You can connect with people who have similar goals and get tips, motivation and your own personal cheerleading squad. Be sure to check out our brides-to-be SparkTeams as well because these women know exactly what you're going through.
7. Limit alcohol. It lowers inhibitions, making it more likely that you'll forget about your nutrition plan and overindulge. Plus, alcohol alone is pretty high in calories. If you can relax and de-stress without drinking at all, you'll be better off. If you must drink, nurse your glass slowly, choose diet-friendly drinks, and limit the number of servings. Oh and yes, alcohol does contain calories, so add every drink to your Nutrition Tracker.
8. Pick healthy venues for pre-wedding festivities. There will be showers, parties, and outings galore as your wedding gets closer. If you have any say in how these happen, pick a healthful restaurant where you know you can get a good, nutritious meal without going overboard. Need help? Refer to our Dining Out Guide for the healthiest choices at just about any chain restaurant. Focus on your friends and family while you're there, enjoying the good conversation and activities instead of hovering around the appetizers. Create lasting memories that don't revolve around eating, and you won't feel like you're missing out. Continued ›