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Is the idea of squeezing into your ivory wedding dress driving you to the nearest donut shop in angst? Who could blame you. Losing weight is difficult when you're not doing it under wedding-day-perfection pressure. Add in the hours and stress spent planning your big day — the endless to-do lists, phone calls and money spent — and it makes perfect sense that you'd find comfort in a delicious, sugary confection and not inside a gym.
The point is, you're not the only bride who has set a wedding-day weight goal and is struggling to achieve it. "Often times, when people dive into a new fitness regime, they try to do everything all at once and either become mildly obsessive, overwhelmed, or defeated," says Rachael Frank, fitness director and lead instructor for Burn SF studios in San Francisco. "Finding efficient, easily accessible and, most importantly, enjoyable exercise and diet changes are a must in order to maintain something, even if it is short-term."
Here are the three specific things to focus on that will help you meet your goals:
1. Consistency is key.
Small changes will add up, both positive and negative. "Each week, check in with your body and schedule your workouts like you would plan meetings into your calendar," Frank says. "And yes, even if it's only 15 minutes, it's better than nothing. Some days you will feel more on top of everything and others you may need to step back and just rest. But commit to at least one healthy exercise hour, three to four times a week, spaced out to allow your body to heal and recover and then push harder when the time comes."
2. Plan your meals.
Prepare them on the weekend for the week, that way healthful snacks are on-hand and ready-to-go when you get cravings. "Be sure not to skip breakfast and keep plenty of water at your desk to stay hydrated," Frank suggests. "Organize in house healthy dinner parties for your partner and your friends, where you have the ability to make choices toward the menu."
3. Set small goals for yourself around your dress fittings.
"Not in order to put the focus toward only fitting into the dress, but because these are consistently progressed lengths of time that allow you to check in with how you look and feel," Frank says. "Trying to weigh yourself every day can drive you absolutely nuts, especially if the scale doesn't change. For some, it may change, some it may not even budge. However, if you feel better in your own body, both mentally and physically from the exercise and healthier eating, that says so much more than what the scale may be telling you."
And remember, "exercise and a healthy lifestyle should be fun and rewarding and never a punishment," Frank says. "Be flexible with both your planning and your body, and remember to take a moment and enjoy the journey. This is not just an important time in your life — it's a celebration of love and life, and losing that last five pounds shouldn't stop you from enjoying every wonderful moment."