Looking for a timeline of what to do with nutrition & exercise before the big day? Here’s a breakdown written by myself and Melanie Kotcher, HIIT pilates instructor. This article was first published by Our Story Bridal, here - check them out they’re an amazing company!
6-12 Months Before: Plan and Start Slowly
We recommend that you start thinking about your nutrition and fitness goals and plan well in advance of your wedding to avoid stress and to give yourself time to accomplish your goals.
If your goal is weight loss, and you have 20+ pounds to lose, slow & steady results are best to keep your metabolism as high as possible. Trying to lose a significant amount of weight early on can potentially sabotage results, because keeping up with a significant calorie deficit or strict regiment gets old after a while, especially if the end is too far from sight. Ideally, you should try to shop for your wedding dress close to your goal weight so that you are not stuck with a huge alteration bill or stressed if the dress doesn’t fit or look the same way on your new shape.
The first step to getting fit and strong is to set specific goals and make a plan for yourself. For example, do you want to sculpt your arms? Are you looking to strengthen and tone your core (including obliques)? Everyone has different lifestyles and needs and start at varying fitness levels - which is why specific, customized goal-setting is very important. Also, start slow and try to schedule in time for a new fitness class, running, and active recovery days every week and see how many times per week works best for you. Remember to track your progress by taking measurements or notes on how your clothes are fitting and applaud your good work and alter your plan if necessary. To help you achieve your goals, it might be beneficial to have an accountability coach by your side. If not, make time to work out with your close friends (or wedding party!) to make it a fun, social experience.
3 Months Before: Crunch Time!
Three months can be a perfect amount of time to make significant changes in your diet if you just want to overall tone up, lose a few pounds, and decrease bloating. Don’t forget to focus on relaxation activities and sleep as being in a state of high stress can increase acne and gastrointestinal discomfort.
We recommend sticking with a diet full of a variety of colorful vegetables (different colors yield different nutrients), protein sources (like eggs, salmon, chicken, etc.), and fats (like avocado, olives, guacamole, and nuts). If acne is a potential issue, limiting dairy products (like cheese, milk, and yogurt), and being sure to stay hydrated with water or seltzers (if they don’t contribute to bloating) may be beneficial. If bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort is a serious issue, try cooking the vegetables you eat, as cooked vegetables are typically easier to digest than the raw varieties. Tracking what you’re eating with an app can also be very helpful during this time, as having objective measures of what is working can decrease stress.
Now is the time to take a look at your progress and tweak your plan, if needed. Perhaps that means challenging yourself by adding an extra day of working out per week or increasing the intensity or length of certain workouts for more enhanced results (just remember to keep those active recovery days and stretch before and after workouts to help prevent injury). If all is going according to plan, then that’s great! Now is the time to have even more fun with your workouts. Try new fitness classes, take your runs outdoors and in new neighborhoods, tweak your playlist, and make more social activities fitness-related. Continue to track your progress with an app for accountability, and it’s also important to allow time to be proud of yourself. You’ve been at this for several months now so don’t get too keen on numbers with a tape measure or on a scale - consider how far you’ve come and give yourself a pat on the back.
Night Before & Day Of: Stay The Course!
This is not the time to try any crazy nutrition or work-out routine. Rather, stick to what your body is used to to avoid any wedding day disasters.
A new way of eating or eating foods your body may not be used to is unwise on this important day. For example, if your diet is not generally comprised of many foods high in fiber, like cruciferous vegetables, beans, and whole grains, it would not be advisable to eat these types of foods the day of. These foods can cause some bloating and gas in some people, especially if they’re not generally present in the diet. Foods that don’t generally cause bloat and are easy to eat on queasiness include eggs, chicken, cooked vegetables, brown rice, whole grain toast, and quinoa.
Make sure to start the day with a balanced breakfast with a serving of a protein-rich food such as eggs or Greek yogurt. To keep your energy levels up, try mini meals. Also, stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids the day before and first thing in the morning. Continue to sip on water consistently throughout the day. It also may be wise to avoid carbonated beverages since they can lead to bloating. It’s also a good rule of thumb to drink at least one cup of water in between each alcoholic drink. Stick to alcoholic beverages your body is familiar with to prevent any surprise reactions.
For the night before the big day, it’s very important to continue to stick to your fitness routine. Many brides find that an active recovery day such as light yoga and/or stretching is the most beneficial. This type of workout can help release nerves and tension both physically and mentally for a better night’s sleep.
On the morning of your wedding, if you have time and have gotten enough rest the night before, many brides find it beneficial to go for a light jog or take an on-demand Pilates or yoga class (if you are unable to find a studio at your wedding location). There are also brides who coordinate a group fitness class with their wedding party before hair and makeup arrives. Whichever exercise you choose, remember to implement mostly active recovery moves and not push yourself too hard to make sure you avoid potential injury. If you do not have time to workout, it may be helpful to set aside 10 minutes of deep breathing, meditation, and/or grounding (sitting and focusing your attention to your feet heavy on the floor) so that you are able to de-stress and calm your mind.
After the Wedding: Keep Up The Good Work!
Of course your plan doesn’t need to be as strict, but it’s such a shame for brides to make all of these changes and then to gain the weight back, or let their health fall by the wayside. Come up with some new short-term goals, e.g. a friend’s wedding coming up, a high school reunion. We suggest working with professionals to help keep you accountable and set up a realistic and long-term plan.
If you are looking for the EASIEST and most realistic weight loss program - that works for the LONG term (it incorporates weekly meal plans, how to stop stress & boredom eating, AND an accountability group) - check out my program HERE!