There are a number of “big days” that can be counted as life-defining. Your first day at a new job, your kids first day at school, buying your first car or house and, of course, the biggest of them all; getting married. While all of those red-letter days are going to be memorable, out of all of them, the one you are most likely to remember is your wedding day. Not just because it’s such a milestone but, as much as anything, because it will be recorded for posterity in photographs, on video and in the memories of your beloved family and guests.
It goes without saying that you want to look your absolute best on your wedding day and, as with all things related to weddings, it’s important to start planning your walk down the aisle well in advance. It doesn’t pay to leave any aspect of your big day to the last minute; many people take years to to prepare for their big day. If you want to look your best then you need to start early with a solid plan of attack!
Once you have set your wedding date, you have a (hopefully) carved in stone day to work towards on which you will look your best. In bodybuilding and figure athlete competitions, the competitors usually start their pre-event diets and workouts 16 weeks out, so hopefully you have at least a similar length of time. It’s important to realize that while you CAN lose weight quickly, it’s seldom a good idea.Crash diets do result in rapid weight loss but they are never fun or healthy and the weight you will lose will probably be rapidly regained and I bet you don’t want to have to worry about counting calories on your honeymoon!
To avoid having to crash diet to fit into your wedding dress, start cleaning up your diet a few months ahead of the big day. Start by cutting down on sugar and processed foods and eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. These sorts of foods will encourage your body to gently use fat for energy and result in a slow but sustainable and relatively pain-free weight loss of around a pound or two a week. In addition, all those extra vegetables and fruits, rich in vitamins and minerals as they are, will help give you a healthy complexion-essential for those all-important wedding portraits.
In addition to eating well, you also need to drink well too – and I don’t mean champagne as there will undoubtedly be plenty of that on the big day! Instead I mean drink more water. Water helps detoxify your system which will further enhance fat burning and also improve your complexion even more. Cut back on coffee and soda and drink more fruit and herbal teas, especially in the last week or so before your wedding day, to minimize the risk of breakouts.
Finally, be aware of how stress can affect your eating. Most of us tend to overindulge in unhealthy foods when we are stressed; either as a coping mechanism or simply because we don’t have the time or energy to cook proper meals. Try not to fall into this trap. Rather than get stressed, try to delegate anything pressing to the maid of honor, your mother and mother-in-law, and even your husband to be – it’s his wedding day too after all. If you are feeling stressed, resist the temptation to dive into a gallon of ice cream or a pound of candy – you’ll feel terrible afterwards and it won’t make the problem disappear. If anything, you’ll have more of a problem because these types of foods can lead to breakouts and, of course, unwanted weight gain. Not what you want leading up to your big day.
As well as eating well and drinking plenty of water, you also need to start exercising if you aren’t already. If you are a complete non-exerciser then I strongly suggest hiring a personal trainer for some expert guidance. If you are already an avid and regular exerciser, you are probably OK to continue as you are, but, even so, some additional guidance won’t go a miss.
If you are new to working out, make sure you start slow and steady. By giving yourself plenty of time before the big day actually arrives, you’ll be able to get acclimated to regular exercise over a few weeks and, hopefully, minimize your chances of developing sore muscles or, worse still, suffering an unfortunate injury. That’s where a good personal trainer may come in useful; they’ll be able to create a program that meets your current fitness levels and then grows with you as your fitness levels increase. Doing too much too soon is a great way to become disillusioned with exercise and there is no worse exercise than doing no exercise at all!
If you are already a regular exerciser, start thinking about how you want to look on your big day and select exercises that will get you to where you want to be. Want a perkier butt? Kettlebell swings, lunges and step-ups are all good choices. More shapely arms? Tricep kickbacks, push-ups and dumbbell curls will get the job done. Need to shape up you shoulders? Side lateral raises and overhead presses are the order of the day. If it’s body fat you need to lose then step up your cardio; especially interval training.
Remember, you are training for a specific moment in time where you want to look your absolute best. Keep this thought in mind as you strive to make yourself look the best that you can. Athletes do this all the time when the are training for big events. Having a goal such as this can help you stay focused and determined when, really, you’d rather stay in bed for an extra hour than head out to the gym at 7 am.
If you do find motivation is an issue than consider hiring a trainer or recruit other people to exercise alongside you. Your maid of honor and/or bridesmaids are not going to be the center of attention but they need to try and look their best too. And, if you are going to all this effort, the groom should be doing his bit as well! Ok, so a well cut suit can hide a multitude of sins but if you are having a tropical honeymoon, he’ll want to look his best in his bathing suit too!
Looking back at your wedding photos, I’m sure you want to be able to say you looked your absolute best. 0 The most effective way to do this is start your preparations early. Even if your wedding is a year or more away, it’s never too early to start getting yourself ready for what, I hope, will be the biggest, happiest and best day of your life.
By Mark Darco
Mark Darco is a professional personal trainer who has completed multiple certifications. He works in the Brooklyn, NYC area.