Your wedding day can come with many pressures, like the idea that you must look a certain way in your dress or tux. While it's normal to want to lose weight for the wedding day, you shouldn't feel pressured by the scale.
Instead, strive to look and feel great on your wedding day by implementing a manageable routine that you can sustain long-term.
Whether you're feeling extra-motivated because the wedding is just weeks away or you're planning for months in the future, we've got tips and professional recommendations for your timeline. Our advice includes two tracks: one for early birds and another for late owls. Pick your path to lose weight for your wedding without crazy diet plans or intense exercise regimens — no groom or bridezillas here.
Early Birds With Time to Spare
You should feel confident and calm if your big day is months (or maybe a year) away. Wedding jitters are common, but you have plenty of time to adjust your diet and add some movement. Not all brides (or grooms) choose to lose weight for their weddings, but those who do usually give themselves a period of two to three months and lose around 10 pounds during that period.
Consider these lifestyle changes to make the most of your wedding preparation.
Healthy (and Sustainable) Eating
Fad diets and heavily restrictive plans are nearly impossible to maintain long term. As Catherine Gervacio, RDN and certified nutrition exercise coach, notes, "healthy eating doesn't have to be too restrictive. The key is to eat everything in moderation within your recommended caloric and macronutrient allowances."
It can be tricky to understand your energy and macronutrient (that’s carbs, protein, and fat) needs when you want to lose weight, burn excess body fat, and see some visible muscle tone. To avoid wasting time with guess work, consider hiring a registered dietitian or certified personal trainer and nutritionist to put you on the right track.
Once you know the optimal intake for your unique needs, you can create a well-rounded eating plan that allows one to two "treats" per week. Strictly avoiding treats can create a lot of unneeded stress and pressure — and you’re already planning a celebration to mark a new chapter in your life. Feeling depleted or hangry won’t help you write those vows or pick table centerpieces.
Add Strength Training and Cardio to Your Exercise Routine
Any movement is beneficial, but if you truly want to rock that wedding outfit, consider ramping up your routine with strength training and cardio. A combination of these exercises offers the most bang for your buck, improving endurance, respiratory function, coordination, and muscle strength.
Master Trainer Mike Silverman recommends compound strength movements, like squats or rows, and cardio movements that include light weights, your body weight, or something like kettlebell swings. Incorporating total-body movements can help you get the most out of your workout without spending hours in the gym.
Try Circadian Fasting
Circadian fasting is when you only eat during a specific time window, typically during daytime hours. The nighttime hours, or the dark phase, are reserved for fasting. This is because you tend to use calories from food more efficiently earlier in the day. It’s important to have a bigger (yet nutritious) breakfast instead of a large dinner.
This time-restricted feeding may be a lifestyle shift for some. But once you get into the habit of eating during windows that are in tune with your biological clock and metabolic phases, you can experience benefits such as reduced body fat, lowered blood pressure, and a lower risk of disease.
Consider Your Stress Levels
Planning a wedding is a challenging feat, and it can be stressful at times. Unfortunately, stress can have a negative impact on your health in a variety of ways. Adding stress management techniques can positively affect your weight.
Intuitive eating means eating in response to hunger and satiety cues instead of emotional triggers. It goes hand in hand with mindfulness, an excellent stress-reduction technique.
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, states, "practices such as yoga and meditation can help reduce stress by promoting relaxation and mindfulness." Brides and grooms can usually benefit from a dose of relaxation; plus, yoga incorporates gentle movement that can aid weight management.
Take Steps to Improve Your Sleep
Are you dreaming of your wedding day? Hopefully, you're catching some zzz’s while doing so. Sleep deprivation can adversely impact the steps you take to improve your physical health, often contributing to increased eating and weight gain. That said, researchers have also linked long periods of sleep with adverse health outcomes.
Instead, aim for the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. To do this, Best suggests you prioritize sleep, which often means sticking to a schedule, removing electronics from the bedroom, and being mindful of your caffeine consumption.
Late Owls With Vows Right Around the Corner
Can I lose weight within seven days of my wedding? How can I lose weight two weeks before my wedding? If this sounds like you, don't fret! Remember, you don't have to drop pounds for your wedding unless you want to. But, if you want to tone up and slim down in a healthy, stress-less, and positive manner, the following recommendations can be helpful.
Try a Low-Carb Diet
Improving your physical health stems from a combination of healthy eating and exercise in the right amounts. Crash diets may work in the short term, but they can negatively impact your health (mentally and physically) in the long run.
A low-carb diet, like a plant-based diet, can be a healthy alternative if done correctly. Low-carb diets reduce carbohydrates and should encourage foods rich in protein and healthy fat. As a result, you may lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and see improved glycemic (blood sugar) control. Other research tempers these benefits with observations of altered gut microbiome, inflammation, and increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Gervacio notes that low-carb diets are generally specifically designed for weight loss, which is good news if you're a late owl but to "take precautions" and check with your doctor so that you don't go too low with your carb intake.
Ramp up Your Exercise Routine
You likely already know that exercising is essential to shaping up for your wedding. If you already have a mild to moderate routine, consider increasing how frequently you work out and the intensity of your sessions. Bootcamp or circuit-style workouts are particularly effective because they combine strength and cardio.
Your workouts don't need to be overly complicated; Silverman notes, "anything done well and to near failure" can get you decent results in bootcamp circuits. Combine lower and upper body moves for the best results. Silverman suggests a circuit with these full-body moves: dumbbell thrusters, kettlebell swings, hand-release push-ups, bent over rows, goblet squats, and burpees.
Consider Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting describes a variety of fasts; alternate-day fasting includes one day when you fast and one day when you eat. This alternate-day eating plan usually helps you consume fewer calories overall and, as a result, lose weight. Alternate-day fasting is not without challenges and usually isn't sustainable long-term. Gervacio tells us it can be used to "jump start a weight-loss journey" and, along with reducing belly fat, may also lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
Clean Up Your Diet
Intermittent fasting can be helpful, but just how helpful can depend on what you're eating during your non-fasting hours. Ultra-processed foods, those with added sugar, and alcohol can sabotage your efforts.
While avoiding these foods can boost your weight loss, it may also cut your risk of chronic diseases, improve your liver function, and aid your blood sugar levels, notes Best. As Gervacio puts it, "Cutting these types of foods will prevent your body from health consequences."
Stress isn't great for our bodies. It can elevate your blood pressure, promote unhealthy food cravings, and impact your mental health. Stress management techniques are an excellent way to combat the adverse effects. Mindfulness, in particular, can help you relax, reduce stress, and practice eating with intention.
Aside from carving out time in your day to meditate or do mindfulness exercises, Best recommends using your time management skills, "setting priorities, creating to-do lists, and breaking up large tasks into smaller ones to reduce stress by making it easier to manage your wedding prep workload."
So even though you may feel like you're late to the game, there's no time like the present to take steps to reduce stress.
Get More Quality Sleep
Sleep is essential for maintaining bodily processes. Poor sleep can be a risk factor for weight gain and obesity. If you're exercising and sticking to a nutrition plan to help you lose pounds, don't overlook your sleep habits.
Generally, seven to nine hours is best for the average adult. And consistent sleep and wake times are preferable to a scattered sleep schedule. Wedding planning can take a lot of effort; you deserve quality sleep that can improve your mood, health, and cognition so you're ready to tackle whatever the big day throws your way.
Losing Weight Shouldn't Be a Wedding Woe
Whether you're an early bird or a late owl, there are things you can do to help you look and feel great on your wedding day. Some techniques, like intermittent fasting, can help you reach your goals quickly. Others, such as beginning an exercise plan, are excellent for brides or grooms with time to spare. Regardless of how many days you have left until the big day, start with assessing your current state and creating attainable goals. Get a free consultation with a personal trainer who can help you lose weight healthfully and without adding to your wedding stress.