How to Lose Weight Fast for Your Wedding

Shedding Pounds Safely Without Hunger or Stress

Bridesmaids helping bride into wedding dress
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Every woman wants her wedding day to be perfect, and key to the perfect day is fitting into the perfect dress. If you feel a rush of panic about shedding the extra pounds before your nuptials, stop and take a deep breath.

By following a few simple rules and taking a holistic approach to weight loss—with diet, exercise, stress management, and positive lifestyle choices—you can shed the pounds safely and feel great about yourself as you walk down the wedding aisle.

Start Early

Weddings can cause jitters for even the most secure brides-to-be, so don't add to the anxiety by jumping into a crash diet. Crash diets are generally centered around starving yourself and will more likely cause your weight to yo-yo than anything else. Not only are they unhealthy, but they deprive you of the calories you need to function normally.

Even as the pounds are being shed, you may be faced with fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, dehydration, heart palpitations, unrefreshing sleep, and changes in the quality of your hair, nails, and skin—none of which are going make you the happier bride.

Instead of jumping into a quick-fix fad diet, take the same strategic approach to weight loss as you would to wedding planning. Start by setting clear goals for yourself on a week-to-week basis as you might with guest lists, menu planning, venue scheduling, bridesmaids' fittings, etc.

Most importantly, set realistic goals for yourself. In the same way that you might meet with a caterer to plan a menu based on your tastes and budget, invest in a nutritionist or dietitian to outline a weight loss plan based on your goals and timeline.

The more you put everything down on paper, the more likely will be to hit your objective.

Cut Calories Safely

To most people, dieting simply means cutting calories. And, while that is largely true, you need to address how much you need to cut on a day-to-day basis and which types of calories to cut out.

Perhaps the simplest way to look at it is in terms of fat. One pound of fat equals around 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose one pound of fat per week, you would need to cut around 500 calories per day.

It serves to reason that by cutting 1,000 calories per day, you could easily lose two or more pounds with little sweat. But it's always not that simple. In the end, there is a minimum number of calories you need to consume each day to remain healthy, below which you should not go.

An average woman needs between 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day to maintain her weight and between 1,500 and 1,900 calories to lose a pound per week.

Once you start trimming excessively and find yourself below 1,000 calories per day, you're entering a danger zone.

Calculating Your Calorie Needs

To establish safe and realistic goals, use an online calorie counter to estimate every calorie you currently consume on a daily basis, including every spoon of sugar you add to your coffee and every late-night nibble you indulge in.

Next, use an online weight loss calculator to find out how many calories you need to cut out based on your age, height, current weight, target weight, and goal date. Subtract your current calories from your recommended calories to obtain the number you need to cut each day.

If your reduced calorie intake approaches 1,200 per day, you'll need to speak with your doctor to see if this is safe and advisable based on your age and current health.

With these final calculations in hand, you can begin to set daily and weekly goals, preparing menus and shopping lists while tracking each and every calorie you eat.

Choose the Right Foods

Sure, it's easy to say that you'll "cut out wine" or "cut out bread" to achieve your weight loss goals, but you will more likely replace those calories with some other food types if you don't take a more thoughtful and consolidated approach.

In the end, now is not the time to start an extreme diet. Especially with a low-carb diet, you will invariably experience fatigue and cravings during the loading phases, both of which you don't need as you begin the wedding planning.

That is not to say that you can't incorporate some of the elements of the dietary strategy into your eating routine. In addition to cutting back calories:

  • Reduce your intake of carbohydrates. People who eat 2000-calorie diet generally consume between 225 and 325 grams of carbs per day. To enhance weight loss, cut back to around 50 to 150 grams of carbs per day. This includes both complex carbs and simple carbs like sugar.
  • Increase your protein intake. Many health experts will tell you that protein should account for between 10 percent and 35 percent of the daily calorie intake. If your intake is at the lower end of the scale, increase your intake from quality food sources.

Studies have found that dieters who consumed 25 percent to 30 percent of their calories from lean protein lost more body fat and increased the number of calories that their bodies burned at rest.

  • Get ample dietary fiber. The recommended daily value for fiber is around 25 grams per day. This amount of fiber helps prevent constipation while aiding in the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Focus on quality food sources rather than resorting to supplements.
  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol easily adds 100 calories or more per drink. Caffeine might give you a boost of energy but is more likely to increase any anxiety you may be feeling. Both also have diuretic effects that can lead to dehydration.
  • Consume healthy fats. Replace saturated and trans fats with healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil and canola oil. This also includes the good fats and bad fats contained in the foods you eat.
  • Keep well hydrated. Most experts will recommend no less than eight 8-ounces of water per day and possibly more if you are overweight. This not only aids in digestion, but it can significantly improve the quality of your skin.

Exercise Appropriately

As much as you might prefer to lose weight with diet alone, taking the time to exercise can speed the process by ramping up your metabolism (the conversion of calories and oxygen into energy). This doesn't mean that you have to rush to boot camp or spend hours a the gym; you simply need to burn more calories than you consume.

Every successful exercise plan is based on four simple rules:

  1. Start slowly.
  2. Increase the intensity of your workout week on week.
  3. Combine cardio exercises to increase metabolism with strength training to tone and build lean muscle.
  4. Commit to a schedule as you would any appointment.

If you have never worked out before, aim for no less than 30 minutes of exercise three times per week. On your off days, take 30-minute walks at moderate intensity (to where your breathing is heavier but you can still talk). Doing so will not only help promote weight loss but help clear your head and stimulate endorphins to improve your moods.

If you already exercise regularly, you might shift to higher-intensity workouts (such as interval training, circuit training, or HIIT) that not only stimulate weight loss but often take less time than a regular workout. It often helps to work with a personal trainer who understands your goals and will keep you on the straight and narrow until your wedding day.

As with diet, do not go overboard by overexercising. Not only are you more likely to burn out, but you will significantly increase your risk of injury. Focus on activities that you find enjoyable but still challenge you. These are the ones you'll be more able to sustain over the long run.

Practical Tips and Advice

Every weight loss plan has its challenges, especially when faced with something as huge as a wedding. To get through the preparations in a positive way, accept that there will be ups and downs. Moreover, instead of thinking that the goal is to squeeze into a dress, approach weight loss as a positive step toward a new life, one for your wedding day is the first major milestone.

Among some of the other practical tips that can help:

  1. Get support. By letting others know of your intentions, you can avoid people unintentionally sabotaging you. In some cases, others in the wedding party may want to join you in your weight loss plans.
  2. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of the standard three meals per day, opt for five or six smaller meals that can stabilize metabolism and help keep hunger at bay.
  3. Avoiding eating on the go. Sitting down at the table with a plate and cutlery helps you better control your intake compared to eating out of a bag or from a takeout container.
  4. Don't skip meals. The more you skip (including breakfast), the more likely you will be to gorge yourself on the next meal.
  5. Keep healthy snacks on hand. If avoid hunger on the go, keep some trail mix, granola, rice cakes, or raisins in your purse to help tide you over. Measure out the portions in advance to avoid overeating.
  6. Eat real food. While protein bars and shakes might seem an easy shortcut to weight loss, it is far better to maintain a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and fiber.
  1. Keep a food journal. Don't estimate how many calories you've eaten at the end of the day. Instead, keep a running journal of everything you eat as you eat. You'll be surprised how a little extra gravy or topping can end up setting back your weight loss plans.
  2. Plan your outings. Weddings involve a lot of celebrations along the way. To avoid overeating at a restaurant, check the menu online and figure out what you are going to eat before you arrive. You can also pick healthy venues any pre-wedding event.
  3. Drink smart. To lighten the libations, opt for a wine spritzer (75 calories and 0 grams carbs), a flavored vodka with soda (96 calories and 0 grams carbs), or a Campari and soda (96 calories and 0 grams carbs) over more sugary or carb-rich beverages.
  4. Get plenty of rest. The one thing that can throw of a weight loss plan if fatigue. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night, including weekends, and take steps to improve your sleep hygiene if you aren't getting enough.
  5. Manage your stress. Weddings are meant to be a time of joy. If you're feeling more tension than you can handle, explore mind-body therapies such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, guided imagery, progressive muscle release (PMR), and deep breathing exercises.
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