The Women's Journal

Lose Weight, Get Fit, And Feel Great On Your Big Day …… The Healthy Way!

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quest_nutrition_harkins_feb10_sqBy Lisa Harkins, RD, LDN, Owner, Ideal Nutrition and Fitness, LLC

Struggling to lose weight before your wedding?

You are not alone. According to a new study by Cornell, more than 70% of brides-to-be want to lose weight before their big day, and troublingly, 1/3 use diet pills, fasting or other quick-weight loss tactics to do so. In addition, one in seven women buy wedding dresses one or more sizes too small as incentive to lose the weight for their upcoming nuptials, which can surely be a costly mistake if their goal is not achieved.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel your best for a special event, especially your wedding day. But it is important to have a game plan, obtainable goals, and realistic expectations concerning any weight loss before you start.

So how much to lose and at what rate?

I tell my clients 2lbs per week max is the easiest and most sustainable way to lose weight. Any more is usually the result of fasting, or juicing, or diet pills – which can result in quick weight loss but also fatigue, headaches, or worse, heart damage. In addition quick weight loss causes your natural basal metabolic rate (BMR) to dysfunction, which can result in slower weight loss in the future. So it’s 3 months until your wedding – it is reasonable to drop about 25lbs if that is what you could stand to lose. And how do you lose it? That’s right – good old fashioned calorie cutting and exercise!

Cutting your calories by 500 per day is doable, and doesn’t leave you absolutely starving, and could result in about a pound a week weight loss. Add in cardio and some strength training which could burn another 500 calories or more per session (5-7 sessions per week), and you’ve got another pound a week lost.

To lose weight I generally recommend a 1,500 calorie per day diet that is loaded with lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy (add in a 200 calorie healthy snack if you are more active). I tell my clients it is the “extras”  like sweets and alcohol that tend to cause the weight gain in the first place, and those are the trouble-makers you need to eradicate if you truly want to achieve (and maintain!) a healthy weight. Moderation is of course key – you don’t want to deprive yourself for weeks on end because you WILL eventually binge. But if you DO have a weight goal in mind you need to learn to reserve these “extras” for special occasions. The better you eat the better you will feel – it will start to come naturally I promise!

Exercise is critical.
If you are just starting out, find something that is somewhat enjoyable for you (I say this, because I tire of articles that encourage you to only do “fun” workouts – if it was “fun” it would be “funout” NOT “workout”! This is work people and work burns calories!). I recommend at least 5 cardio workouts per week at 30-45 minutes each and 2-3 strength training sessions of at least 30 minutes. If you need help with designing your workout plan, your neighborhood gym is a great place to start. Meet with a trainer (most have complimentary introductory sessions), buddy up with a bud (that’s what bridesmaids are for!), or commit to a couple of classes (the instructors will be looking for you!). And I almost forgot the obvious –
get the fiancé involved! Even if he doesn’t need to lose weight you both can benefit from the physical activity and the time spent together.

The most important thing to realize as you go through this journey is this pre-wedding weight loss will result in long-term positive health benefits, and that should be incentive to KEEP it off beyond your wedding day. This “diet” really shouldn’t be a diet at all, but rather the new way you are going to start living your life-through healthy foods and regular physical activity. Being healthy inspires confidence and certainly can keep the marriage embers alive and crackling for
years to come!

Lisa Harkins, RD, LDN
Ideal Nutrition and Fitness LLC

P.O. Box 684, Lewes, DE 19958Phone: 302-388-2856 | Email: [email protected]
Website: Follow me on lisaharkinsRD
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Lisa Harkins is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Ideal Nutrition and Fitness.  She consults for Quest Fitness located in the Village of Five Points in Lewes.  Quest Fitness is a full-service fitness facility offering personal training, fitness classes, spinning, yoga, pilates, nutritional counseling, youth camps, and seasonal kayak tours, rentals and sales.


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