'I Reached My Wedding Weight-Loss Goal in 6 Months' *

Marissa (MARISCT8) wanted to lose 25 pounds when she joined SparkPeople in January 2010. "At the beginning of the year, I made the decision to do everything in my power to get rid of the extra pounds," she recalls. Her hard work paid off, too. By the time her wedding rolled around just 6 months later (July 2010), she had exceeded her expectations with a 26-pound weight loss.

Marissa Before: 160 lbs. Marissa After: 134 lbs.

How did you handle the stress of wedding planning?
Exercise was my biggest ally; I was doing Tae Bo, so the kicking and punching help me relieve the stress like nothing else!

When did you order your dress? How did you know what size to order? How did it fit once you received it?
I ordered it in the middle of May, which was just a couple months before the wedding. I actually took a risk and ordered it a little smaller than my measurements at the time. I received it a month and a half later and had not lost much weight, but I was pleasantly surprised when the waist was not tight. I measured myself again, and had actually lost 1.5" from my waist even though the scale hadn't changed much. So my goal at the time was just to maintain my measurements until the wedding.

Did you try any specific toning to help you look better in your particular gown?
I mostly do workout DVDs, so I did one from Jillian Michaels to help tone my arms.

Describe your pre-wedding diet and exercise routine.
I worked out 6 times a week, burning 2,000 about calories through exercise per week. I really didn't have a special diet, I just tried to count calories and stay within the right range for my goals. If I had a craving for something, I would have a small piece, and I also learned to have breakfast everyday!

What are your top three weight-loss tips for brides-to-be?
  1. Make time to exercise, even if it's just 30 minutes. It will help you not only lose weight, but also to relieve stress.
  2. Do not snack mindlessly. Surround yourself with healthy snacks for when you're in a hurry.
  3. Track every single thing you eat, even if it's a little piece of chocolate. Little bites add up, and tracking them all will help you learn how to eat better.
How did SparkPeople help you?
I seriously believe that if it hadn't been for SparkPeople, I would have not lost as much weight in the short timeframe I had before the wedding. SparkPeople changed my life! When I lost weight in the past, I spent a lot of money on a nutritionist, personal trainer, and new gear. This time, it only cost me the $50 for some new workout DVDs. SparkPeople had all the tools and support I needed—for free.

See more photos of Marissa's big day on her SparkPage!

* Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.