'I Exceeded My Wedding Weight-Loss Expectations'

Marie (LMDORRELL) weighed was close to 200 pounds when she got engaged. "I got serious about losing the weight when we moved in together, but I rededicated myself in January 2009 when we actually set a date for the wedding." She hoped to lose 20 pounds but ended up losing 54 pounds by her June 2010 wedding. Here's how she did it!

Marie Before: 195 lbs. Marie After: 141 lbs.

How did you handle the stress of wedding planning?
I didn’t really stress much. My husband helped out a ton and we just did our best. I had a destination wedding (close to where we live now, but far away for almost all of our guests). It was hardly stressful at all because at the end of the day, I was marrying the most wonderful man and love of my life. Nothing else matters!

When did you order your dress? How did you know what size to order?
I ordered my dress one year before the wedding. You always need to be sure to order at least 6 months out! I worked at a bridal store at the time so I knew what size I was in every designer. This particular dress was the perfect size when I tried it on so I was able to order the sample size. When I received it, it fit well, a little big though. By the time of the wedding, it was 2-3 sizes too big!

Did you try any specific toning to help you look better in your particular gown?
I did a lot of toning for my legs since I was wearing a shorter dress for the reception. I love doing legs because you can almost see an immediate change in how they look.

Describe your pre-wedding diet and exercise routine.
I just tried my best to stay within my SparkPeople calorie range, no matter what I ate. I love food so I never deprived myself of something I wanted; I just tried to stay within my calorie range. The most important thing for me was exercise. I really enjoy the elliptical, so I would turn up my iPod and go as long as I could—sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 2 hours.

What are your top three weight-loss tips for brides-to-be?
  1. Try zero-calorie flavored water! I get the powdered stuff because there are a ton of different flavors and they’re so good! It not only helps you drink your water for the day but satisfies your sweet tooth. I find myself going back and forth to the fridge all the time. This helped me not snack mindlessly!
  2. Exercise with the fiancé. Long walks were so romantic, and we were a huge fan of bike rides in our local parks. You need your partner’s support, I promise. I think it also gets the marriage off to a good start when you have accomplished something together. We loved tennis, too (even though we’re both terrible at it).
  3. Keep your goals in mind and realize that every day is a new day. If you mess up, pick yourself back up. Don’t look at the scale every day, because you will fluctuate and that can mess with your resolve. Learn the science behind weight loss to take the right steps to reach your goals.
How did SparkPeople help you?
How did SparkPeople NOT help me? First of all it’s free, so there is no risk. Second, it offers every tool you could possibly need at your fingertips. The most helpful part was the information it provided; there are a million different answers to the same few weight-loss questions, and SparkPeople provides helpful, honest, scientific, real answers. Plus, the before and after photos and stories were incredibly motivating to me. They made me feel like I could really do it, too! It’s nice to have a community of people who are trying to accomplish the same things that you are. Everyone is so nice and open about everything—so much more so than regular life. I love SparkPeople!

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