Pretty much every bride and groom wants to get into better shape or lose a few pounds in time for their wedding. But with the busyness of planning and the added stress that comes with getting ready for your big day, wedding weight loss is far from easy. Workout and diet plans are great, but only if you stick to them (easier said than done). But the good news is, you can go a long way toward getting into wedding shape just by making a few small changes in your day-to-day lifestyle.
The first step to faster, easier wedding weight loss is identifying a few general areas where you could improve. If you can find just two or three small habits to change, they can add up to big results...yes, even a noticeable drop in the ole' waistline. Paired with a disciplined diet and exercise routine, these changes become even more powerful. But the fact is, small lifestyle changes can make an amazing difference on their own...and you don't have to completely swear off cupcakes and carbs to make it happen.
To help you self-diagnose those spots where you could be doing better, check out our top ten weight loss lifestyle tips below. If you're guilty of any of these bad habits, give our suggestions a try and see if it makes reaching your wedding weight loss goals any easier!
Fewer Sodas, Teas, & Drinks (Other than Water)
Alcohol aside (we'll get to that one later,) all those sodas, sweetened teas, energy drinks, Starbucks frappaccinos with low-fat whipped cream...even "zero calorie" beverages are all making your wasitline explode. Aside from most of these being loaded with sugar (even those sports beverages and vitamin water), even drinks marketed as having zero calories and/or zero sugar are helping you gain weight.
That's right...we hate to say it, but those supposedly non-fattening, non-sugary drinks are just as bad for you as sugared soda. Artificial flavors are really no different than "natural" ones. And studies have shown that artificial flavors used in these drinks have a terrible effect on your body, especially regarding your microbiome. The microbiome refers to the or the colonies of bacteria in your gut that help regulate metabolism, weight gain, and other things that help your body function at its best.
The term "natural flavors" is essentially a legal marketing loophole to portray ingredients as being healthier, but they aren't. After all, nature produces all kinds of things that are toxic to humans, from snake venom to poisonous berries. Don't be fooled by the marketing trick that Natural = Healthy!
Nutrition science is discovering that these probiotic critters play a huge role in our abillity to gain, maintain, or lose weight...and they might even have an effect on our moods as well. Keep your gut happy by avoiding "natural flavors" as well as artificial ones, and weight loss could become easier. Replace just one or two of these types of drinks a day with water or unsweetened tea and a few pounds might melt right off of you.
Take It Down a Notch With the Sugar in Your Coffee
Just as those syrupy, whipped creamy Starbucks drinks are making it hard for you to slim down, your morning coffee with milk and sugar might be working against you as well. If you're the type who likes a lot of sugar in your java, cut it in half. Chances are, you're vastly underestmating the amount of pure, toxic white sugar this is adding to your diet. Milk isn't much to worry about, but sugar is your body's worst enemy. Oh, and that "caffeine addiction" of yours might be compounded by an equally strong addition to that morning sugar high!
Cut the Wine Down by a Glass or Two Per Night
Brides love wine. Brides love margs. Brides love Sangria. And that's because each of those things are delicious. But if you drink two to three or more glasses of wine per day, see if you can cut it down by a glass or even two. This is a great one to do with your husband-to-be, so you can share in the suffering and motivate each other. Think of it this way: three glasses of wine per night equals a full bottle every two days., or about 3.5 bottles per week. A bottle of wine comes to about 645 calories, which means you're downing 2,257.5 extra calories per week. That's like chowing down on more than a full day's worth of extra food every single week, all in sugary wine alone!
Cut it down to only two bottles per week, and you can cut that down to 1,290 extra calories per week. That still adds more than a full half-day's worth of calories every single week to your waistline, but hopefully those numbers put it in perspective just how hard that moderate boozing is sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Sugar & White Flour are the Wedding Weight Loss Enemies -- Not All Carbs
Carbs are one of the most maligned nutrients in the world, especially when it comes to women's weight loss. But they're not all bad. In fact, after a hard workout, getting some good carbs (especially complex carbs like brown rice, beans, whole grains, quinoa, or sweet potatoes) in your post-workout meal will help you build muscle mass, which raises metabolism and helps you lose weight and tighten up. It's all those simple carbs from white flour, and the sugar that you're eating along with them, that are the real problem.
Simple carbs made from white flour (even the "enriched" stuff) are just turned into sugar by the body. This is basically true of all carbs, but with simple carbs, the process goes very quickly compared to complex carbs. This raises blood glucose levels in ways that contribute to weight gain.
So when you have a morning pastry, a piece of white toast with sugar-added peanut butter, that small piece of golden afternoon pound cake, or that after-dinner brownie, you're getting all that white flour along with a whole load of white sugar. Sugar is weight loss enemy number one, two, and three, so let yourself have some carbs now and then. But try to make sure they're complex carbs, and make sure they aren't served with a helping of sugar, and your body will thank you.
Eating just a single Starburst candy's worth of white sugar per day can amount to a full pound of weight gain throughout the year. That's why when you're trying to get into wedding shape, you should spend less time worrying about carbs and more time worrying about sugar, sugar, and more sugar: cutting down on sugar in your coffee, sugary beverages, alcohol, and those sugars that we so often eat along with our carbs is probably the single most effective thing you can do to jump-start your wedding weight loss.
Walk it Up: Park Farther Away, Take the Stairs, & Cut Back on Binge-Watching
As every FitBit owner knows, those steps you take can really add up fast. Park farther from the entrance when you go out somewhere, get off one subway stop early to walk the rest of the way, and take the elevator instead of the stairs. Walking isn't the most metabolically demanding exercise, but every little bit adds up -- especially if you're in the habit of doing things to ensure you walk as little as possible.
Sitting for long periods is also a great way to keep your metabolism slow, and I don't know about you, but I do a whole lot of sitting at work. So once you're home, though it's tempting to plop down on the couch, try to cut down on binge-watching by a few episodes, and go for a nice walk together instead.
Cook at Home Instead of Going Out
Cooking takes time, and going out to dinner is delightful. But those restaurant meals are rich with butter, salt, cream, and other delicious but calorically-rich ingredients. It's much, much harder to lose weight when you're going out to eat all the time, as even "healthy options" like salads tend to be loaded with rich dressing and toppings that usually make them close to just as calorie-rich as the normal entrees.
One caveat to this tip...if you're cooking at home, that shouldn't mean heating up a can of soup or a frozen meal. These almost always contain preservatives and flavorings that contribute to problems ranging from an unbalanced microbiome to hormonal and endocrine disruptions that encourage obesity.
Oh, and vegetarians beware: lots of food products that contain soy, even vegetarian ones with branding that makes them look healthy, contain endocrine-disrupting preservatives as well. Just as "all natural" doesn't mean healthy, even vegetarian-friendly foods can contain unhealthy ingredients.
But don't worry! With just a little bit of planning, cooking for yourselves is easy. Crock pots and slow-cookers are your best friend! There are endless slow cooker recipes online that are super easy. Take control of your food, and taking control of your weight becomes a thousand times easier.
Start Using Smaller Plates & Bowls
Now that you're making your own healthy, home-cooked meals, it's time to initiate a next-level weight loss hack that has been proven over and over again in clinical studies. Serve yourselves on plates and bowls that are half the size of those you usually eat from. By doing so, many eaters will naturally reduce their portion size without any additional effort.
Also try to eat slowly, as your body needs time to signal to your brain that it feels full. Eating too fast means you will get far more food down before your brain realizes it's time to stop.
Drink More Water
In addition to cutting back on drinks other than water, as mentioned above, drinking more water overall will keep you feeling less hungry and more energized. In fact, this tip is so powerful that if you can only follow a single one from this list, make it this one. Try to drink at least a half-liter (or half a Nalgene bottle's worth) more water per day.
Yes, you should be ready to start having to go to the bathroom more. But fat loss and muscle gain will become effortlessly easier, appetite will be reduced, and all the cells of your body will be able to do their jobs more effectively. That means your body will burn more calories and achieve greater weight loss. To maximize the effect, make it a habit to drink some water before every meal a part of your new water drinking plan.
For a little extra zest, try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice in your water. This has the added bonus of giving you a blast of vitamin C as well, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Plan Snacks Ahead
You know you'll get hungry at times other than meals, and one way or another, you'll end up snacking. This isn't the end of the world! But by anticipating this and planning a little bit ahead, you can make sure you end up snacking on healthier things. Pack some hummus and baby carrots to take to work, and you can eat those instead of making that guilty trip to the office vending machine for some Lay's chips or a Snicker's bar.
Another snacking tip: beware of snacks that are advertised as healthy, but are filled with tons of sugar. Granola and fruit-added yogurt are two very major culprits, so always check how many grams of sugar a snack has before you assume that it's healthy. You can never go wrong with a piece of fruit or some vegetables and bean dip, whether hummus or another type. Just beware of adding too many calories to your snacktime with dips, or dips that are loaded with trans fats, preservatives, or "natural flavors."
Remember That You're Beautiful
We all want to feel beautiful, and that's doubly true on our wedding day. But try to keep things in perspective. The people that matter most already love you for who you are. And that's because you're already beautiful, so try to tell yourself that at some point during each and every day. The most important thing isn't, and never was, squeezing into a size 3 for your wedding pictures. It's that you're already a beautiful, radiant bride who has found her soulmate, and although you might not feel radiant 100% of the time, you have every reason to love yourself no matter what your waistline does.