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12 weeks to your wedding: 3 step prep

As I’ve said in a previous post, your partner-to-be loves you for who you are and confidence can come at any shape or size.  Self-love does not come from a smaller waist measurement or a lower number on the scales.  It’s important that you arrive by your partner’s side still looking like yourself.


Wedding planning can be stressful, especially in the last few weeks, so it’s important to keep up your energy levels and avoid crash diets.  If you’ve decided to try to drop a dress size for your wedding, here are some tips to do so healthily.


Step 1: Be SMART!

Specific – rather than saying “I want to lose weight”, set yourself a goal in real terms like inches or dress sizes e.g. “I want to go from a size 14 to a 12”.  That way, your goal is tangible.

Measurable – by setting a goal in terms of inches or dress sizes, you will know when you are there.  The reason I don’t recommend the scales is that you could lose half a stone in weight by crash dieting but that could be water and muscle weight, in which case, it won’t necessarily change the way you look (and it won’t be healthy or sustainable weight loss).  Using a tape measure is more accurate and a better indication of health, particularly if you measure your waist to height ratio.

Achievable – If you’ve 12 weeks to go before your dress fitting, setting yourself a goal of losing 3 stone in weight or dropping 3 dress sizes isn’t achievable (at least not healthily!)  You also won’t look like the person your partner loves!  Make sure your goals are achievable.

Realistic – given your lifestyle (work commitments, amount of free time for cooking, exercising, wedding planning, socialising etc.) how much are you able to commit to getting healthier?  It’s no use signing up to a strict plan that doesn’t allow for any socialising or trips out, or for something that will leave you permanently hungry and miserable.  Be realistic about how many changes to your lifestyle that you can make and prioritise the ones you’re most likely to sustain.

Time-based – You have a deadline of your final dress fitting, so make sure those lifestyle changes start to happen at least 12 weeks before this to give you chance to achieve your goals gradually and healthily.


Step 2: Don’t diet!

Or at least, don’t do a fad diet, where most of the initial weight loss is water and you also risk losing the precious muscle that keeps you toned and strong.  You’ll be much more likely to pile the pounds back on and more after the wedding.  Here are 5 tips for healthy, sustainable weight loss:

  1. Eat protein with every meal – protein helps maintain muscle, which is great for looking toned and shapely. It also helps to keep you feeling full for longer so include a source of protein at every meal such as scrambled eggs or yoghurt for breakfast, meat, fish or pulses for main meals and hard boiled eggs, small amounts of nuts or hummus with veg sticks for snacks.
  2. Reduce sugar – while it’s fine to eat whole fruit, try to avoid sugary soft drinks and snacks like cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolate. Even honey and unrefined sugars are still easy to overeat so try to cut down and replace sweet snacks with plain yoghurt with berries left overnight to sweeten naturally and the odd piece of malt loaf or plain scone for a treat.  If you’re craving chocolate, try the 85-90% cocoa versions as they are lower in sugar but still give a chocolate hit – only 1 square mind!
  3. Eat smaller portions and chew lots – eating off a smaller plate can help with portion control and adding lots of high fibre vegetables and salad to your plate can help slow down your eating so you feel full before you’ve over-eaten.
  4. Don’t cut out whole food groups or nutrients like carbohydrates, fats or cereals/dairy as they’re a vital source of nutrients – just be portion savvy. As fatty foods like nuts, avocado, nut butters etc. are high in calories, while they might seem healthy, keep portion sizes small to avoid eating too many calories.  Eat a wide variety of foods to keep things interesting and to ensure you’re getting balanced nutrition.
  5. Don’t drink your calories! Steer clear of calorie laden beverages like sugary soft drinks, lattes or heavy coffee shop drinks, juices, smoothies and alcoholic drinks.  They’re easy to drink and don’t fill you up but pack a big calorie punch.  Keep them for treats and even then go for plain coffee, skinny latte or no added sugar soft drinks and go for lower calorie alcohol options like wine spritzers or spirits with low calorie mixers.


Step 3: Get active

Whether it’s going on a daily walk, taking the stairs at work, going swimming or signing up for a class, try to work some activity in to your lifestyle.  Resistance exercises, where you lift weights or just your own body weight are great for helping to tone up and you can even do them at home.


Exercise not only burns calories and is heart healthy but resistance exercise helps to tone and work muscles which can boost your metabolism and help you look firmer and leaner.


So there you have it!  Weight loss shouldn’t be top of your list when you’re getting married but if you want to drop a dress size, this is the healthiest way to do it.



Many thanks to Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE for her pioneering work in body shape analysis and for her permission to link through to her excellent shape chart.

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