Your big day is rapidly approaching and you have a limited amount of time to get yourself in shape for that form-fitting dress you love. The last thing you want is to look at your wedding photos and cringe at your figure a few years down the line, so you’ll need to step up your health and fitness routine ASAP. While getting fit for your wedding can be stressful, seeing as though you’re under the gun to meet a deadline, it can also be easy in the sense that this is one time that you’ll feel consistently motivated to make the necessary adjustments to your routine. Use this list of tips and resources to help you lose weight healthfully and fast.
Weight Loss Plans
You may not have time to audition for “The Biggest Loser,” but you do have time to get on a successful diet. Try one of the counseling services below or go it your own with a custom weight loss plan to keep you focused on eating the right foods and dropping inches. Many of these plans have online reporting components to help you stay on track.
- Weight Watchers: One of the most well-known weight loss systems, Weight Watchers says it’s successful because it’s not a diet. This is a program run on formulating healthy, balanced meals and keeping daily caloric intake within a certain range – no matter what foods you’re eating.
- Jenny Craig: Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli and Queen Latifah are the celebrity spokespeople for this weight loss system that offers custom-made meals and one-on-one counseling.
- NutriSystem: Like Jenny Craig, this system provides the dieter with ready-made foods. NutriSystem’s plan is to keep its clients’ blood sugar low by offering foods without complex carbohydrates.
- L.A. Weight Loss: This plan also offers one-on-one counseling and custom, personalized menus. Like Weight Watchers, L.A. Weight Loss refutes the diet label, dubbing itself a lifestyle-plan.
- Atkins: Though controversial for its complete ban on carbohydrates, many people praise the Atkins Diet’s high-protein system for helping to drop pounds fast. Consult your doctor before considering this plan.
- South Beach Diet: A doctor-designed diet, South Beach takes dieters through three stages to first eliminate sugar cravings, then speed up weight loss, and finally to make sustainable lifestyle changes.
- The Zone Diet: Jennifer Anniston swears by this diet that prescribes that each meal should contain 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat.
- The Best Life Diet: Developed by Oprah’s nutritionist and friend Bob Greene, this plan is all about choosing the right foods and portion control.
- Mediterranean Diet: Endorsed by the Mayo Clinic, this diet was developed by examining the eating behaviors of people hailing from the Mediterranean region. It, to the delight of many, prescribes heart-healthy foods like olives and red wine.
- Slim Fast: You can buy Slim Fast shakes at your local grocery and drug stores, and the plan is easy – drink one shake each for breakfast and lunch and then eat a sensible dinner.
- Perricone Diet: A two-for-one plan, Dr. Nicholas Perricone claims his plan will both stimulate weight loss and reverse the signs of aging because it avoids foods that cause inflammation.
- Deliciously Yours: This home-delivered meal plan allows you to view sample menus and pick the foods you like best.
- Eating for Life: Nutrition guru Bill Phillips has sold millions of books about his Eating for Life plan that focuses on a healthy, sustainable combination of nutrition and exercise.
- Fall’s Best Diet Plan: Perfect for those who are handy in the kitchen, this plan focuses on reducing blood sugar levels by eating fresh produce and lean protein.
- Glycemic Index Diet: Almost identical to the South Beach Diet, this plan works well for people with strong sugar and sweets cravings by conditioning the body not to want junk food.
- Medifast: Medifast swears by the small meal plan touted by many celebrities who have to slim down for movie roles. The 5-and-1 plan is six small meals a day – five of which are provided by Medifast and one healthy meal you make on your own.
- Biggest Loser Club: OK, I said you don’t have time to audition for the biggest loser, but you do have time to follow diet and fitness program used on the show online through this site.
- Sonoma Diet: Calling itself the “most flavorful weight loss plan under the sun,” the Sonoma Diet is a beefed-up version of the Mediterranean Diet, with an influx of Californian foods.
- Diet to Go: An easy plan to follow – just pick up your pre-made meals and eat.
- Duke Diet: Developed at Duke University, this plan has been around since the 1960s helping people lose weight with personalized diets, fitness routines, and medical advice.
- Jillian Michaels: Do you want buff arms? Check out this plan from Jillian Michaels, the trainer on “The Biggest Loser” who has coached many people into dropping hundreds of pounds.
- Flat Belly Diet: Maybe you feel pretty good about your body, but just want to lose some flub around the middle? Try this diet that focuses on eating mono-saturated fats found in foods like avocados, almonds and chocolate.
- Denise Austin: This peppy aerobics queen will cheer you right into that pair of size 4 jeans with her “Eat Right!” diet philosophy, complete with meal plans and daily tips.
- Dr. Oz: It seems Oprah has the market cornered on diet-guru friends. Dr. Memhet Oz, author of the bestselling book “You on a Diet”, is frequently on her show speaking about the physiological reasons we gain weight and how we can change the way our bodies react through dietary choices.
- 5 Factor Diet: Trainer Harley Pasternak designed this diet for the sole purpose of helping Hollywood celebrities lose weight fast. His plan consists of small meals and brief, frequent workouts. He’s helped beauties like Alicia Keyes and Eva Mendes get in shape for the red carpet.
- Ultimate Tea Diet: Authors of this book claim tea will help you lose weight by decreasing your appetite and boosting metabolism. Drink your favorite tea all day, combined with a healthy diet, and watch the pounds melt off.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock all your life or are blessed with an over-zealous metabolism, you know you can’t lose weight without exercising. Sorry all you couch potatoes, but you’re going to have to get up. Here are some basic and unique forms of exercise that will help you blast off calories.
- Walking: Stand up, put one foot in front of the other, repeat. Walking is a great form of exercise that you can easily fit into free gaps during your day.
- Running: Like walking, but faster, running is one of the best ways to burn calories quickly and tone your whole body. Beginners should ease themselves into it by checking out tips through resources like the Runner’s World website.
- Hiking: Get outside and smell the clean air! Hiking is an excellent form of exercise that also boosts your mental spirits. The trick is in the incline – find a local hill or mountain and climb it!
- Biking: Put your car in the garage and lock the key. Biking as a form of transportation is an environmentally-friendly and healthy way to get around town. If your commute won’t allow it, try squeezing in a spin around the neighborhood a few times a week.
- Tennis: We’re not talking about batting the ball around here, but a vigorous tennis game with a friend is a social and fun interval workout. One hour of an energetic tennis match can burn between 480 and 670 calories, depending on your weight.
- Swimming: Swimming is often claimed to be one of the best calorie burners, since a person engages most of their body’s muscles while swimming. It’s also easy on the joints.
- Aerobics: Break out your legwarmers and get yourself to a class. Aerobics, while very Jane Fonda-esque, are a fun way to boost your heart rate. If you can’t make it to a fitness center, get one of the many hundreds of aerobic DVDs on the market.
- Kickboxing: If aerobics are to foo-foo for your refined sensibilities, then try kickboxing. A blending of martial arts and calisthenics, kickboxing is a high-energy workout that will leave you feeling empowered.
- Hip Hop Dancing: Release your inner J. Lo! Hip hop dancing is a great way to improve your coordination and lose weight.
- Rock Climbing: Rock climbing burns 700 calories an hour on average, which is more than excuse enough to buy that first pair of crampons.
- Bellydancing: No joke, bellydancing is the latest and greatest workout craze. It’s low-impact for sure, but worth a try on days when you’re searching for something with less intensity.
- Strip Tease: If you want to look like Carmen Electra, check out her strip tease aerobic video – all you need for your workout is a pillow and a bed! Very risqué.
- Power Plate: If you have between $2,500 and $10,000 to spend on an exercise machine, you might get the best bang for your buck with the Power Plate, an exercise machine that works your whole body by making you keep your balance while it gyrates. This method is popular with fitness-obsessed celebrities like Madonna.
- Pilates: This ballet-inspired form of exercise lengthens and strengthens muscles, giving you a lean and tone figure.
- Power Yoga: Get sweatier than you could imagine with a power vinyasa yoga routine popularized by Baron Baptiste. It’s both physically and mentally challenging.
- Gyrotonics: This machine has a similar, if not more pronounced, effect as Pilates, lengthening muscles and increasing flexibility.
- Nia: Nia is a member of the yoga and Pilates family, but differs by focusing on continued movement that combines dance, martial arts, and yoga.
- Cy-Yo: Yoga meets spinning in this new exercise trend that begins with yoga, moves to a rigorous cycling portion that focuses on holistic breathing techniques, and ends, again, with yoga.
- Stroller Strides: If you already have young children, like to babysit, or have a toddler niece or nephew, check out Stroller Strides, workouts you can do while pushing your tot around the cul-de-sac.
- Budokon: A combination of yoga and martial arts, Budokon founders claim it’s the ultimate mind-body workout.
- Jump Rope: Jumping rope is no longer relegated to school playgrounds. One fast hour of this elementary pastime will burn well over 700 calories.
- Weight Lifting: You have to combine strength training with your metabolic routine to get the best results. Try to squeeze in at least three weight sessions each week.
- Squash: No longer the sport of middle-aged, Englishmen, squash is an excellent way to burn lots of calories fast. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter.
- Basketball: If team sports are your thing, try joining a basketball league. The constant running up and down the court will have you in Scottie Pippen-shape in no time.
Gadgets and Calculators
To make sure you’re burning calories correctly and getting in the mileage you need, try out some of these technologies that will help you keep a leg-up on the numbers game of weight loss.
- Calorie Calculator: Use this handy tool to determine how many calories you need to consume each day to reach your maximum weight loss.
- Mileage Burn: Try this calculator out to find out how many calories you burned on your run.
- Distance Calculator: Type in your pace and the duration of your walk and find out how far you went.
- BMI Calculator: BMI is your Body Mass Index and it tells you your percentage of body fat. Use this to determine your goal.
- 40-30-30 Calculator: If you’re on The Zone Diet, or a Glycemic Index Diet, use this to find out how many grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat you need each day.
- Ideal Weight Calculator: Use this tool to set goals by figuring out your ideal weight.
- Activity Calculator: No matter what your exercise, find out how many calories you burned during your workout.
- Pedometer: Wearing a pedometer will help you count steps and calculate distance and calorie burn.
- Daily Calorie Burn: This calculator tells you how many calories you have to burn each day in order to lose your target amount by your intended date.
- Time to Weight Loss: This tool is an essential for brides-to-be – it calculates how long it will take you to reach your target weight. The power in having this knowledge is that you can make adjustments to your program by accelerating it if it looks like you won’t be on track to your goal.
- Nutrition Data: This helpful website gives you in depth information about calories and nutrients in all foods and even analyzes recipes.
- Diet Facts: Another food analysis site, it even includes nutritional information about menu items at popular restaurants.
- Calorie King: Count calories and determine portion sizes on this site.
Journaling and Networking
Keeping a journal of your weight loss activities and connecting with other people who are in the same boat are great ways to keep yourself motivated and on schedule. It’s also helpful to see in advance any adjustments you have to make after you cheat.
- Self: Self.com is a great website to use if you’re really trying to push yourself. Sign up for one of their fitness challenges and keep yourself in line.
- Fit Day: Downloadable software that lets you track every aspect of your weight loss journey.
- NutriDiary: An online diary that even makes charts of your progress.
- Peer Trainer: Their motto is “Buddy up. Slim down.” Find like-minded dieters to give you inspiration.
- Spark People: Spark People gives you free diet plans and counseling from experts.
- My Fitness Pal: Count calories and blog on this site.
- The Daily Plate: This site has it all – diet and meal suggestions, chat forums, and exercise recommendations.
- My Food Diary: My Food Diary is an online community for people interested in healthy living and has been endorsed by the Wall Street Journal and Martha Stewart’s Blueprint magazine.
- Diet Diaries: Keep your own personal online diary, read the diaries of other dieters, and share your entries and inspirations on this simple site.
- Weight Loss Buddy: In the same spirit as PeerTrainer.com, WeightLossBuddy.com is a website that helps you find motivational partners in your quest for fitness.
To truly be successful in losing your goal amount before your wedding day, you are likely going to have to engage in some pretty serious behavioral changes. Here are some general habits you should look at adopting.
- Get 8 hours of sleep: Doctors have found that sleep helps maintain a healthy metabolism. When you’re not getting enough sleep, you produce toxic chemicals that make it more difficult for you shed pounds.
- Drink Milk: Studies indicate that calcium aids in the body’s fat-burning process. The more calcium you get, the more fat you’ll burn.
- Read Labels: Know what you’re putting in your body and start making it a habit that you read the labels of every food you buy. Make sure you make calculations on serving size – the information on labels can be misleading if taken out of context.
- Caffeine: There are conflicting debates over the benefit of caffeine on weight loss, but one thing’s for sure – caffeine can boost your metabolism and suppress your appetite, while over-consumption can lead to energy crashes. And cut out the high-fat coffee drinks – stick to plain coffee or non-fat lattes.
- Drink Water: You’ve heard it a million times, and for good reason. Water helps you lose weight by regulating body temperature and flushing out toxins. Drink up!
- Ditch Diet Soda: No diet soda?!?! But it has no calories, which is good, right? Actually, no. Scientists have linked the chemicals in diet soda with Metabolic Syndrome, which causes weight gain. Turns out there’s nothing diet about these drinks.
- Set Reasonable Goals: Having goals is extremely important to the weight loss process, but make sure that you think things through beforehand. Know what’s possible and what isn’t – don’t set yourself up for failure with outrageous expectations.
- Vitamins: Make sure you’re getting proper nutrition with vitamin supplements. This will keep your body functioning at tip-top shape. The most important vitamins for weight loss are B vitamins, which help your body’s energy level.
- Eat Out Less: Unfortunately, eating out is not good for the waistline, if you’re doing it frequently. You’ll be able to fix far healthier foods at home, so limit your meals out to once or twice a week. And when you are out, make good choices by sticking to salads and lean proteins, like fish and chicken.
- Weigh Yourself Regularly: It doesn’t have to be every day, but you will want to step on the scale at a chosen and consistent time. Once a week is fine to chart your weight loss.
- Eat Slow: One of the best tips for weight loss is learning to eat slow. When you eat fast, your body doesn’t have the chance to realize when it’s full. Slow down your intake and eat less.
- Eat Early: The jury is out over whether eating before bedtime will make it more difficult for you to lose weight, but why risk it? Make sure you eat dinner at least a couple of hours before you hit the sack so you digest your food at a higher metabolic rate.
- Eat Breakfast: It’s common knowledge at this point that people who skip breakfast tend to be more obese. Getting a healthy first meal gets your body’s metabolism going for the day.
- Cut out Junk Food: This sounds obvious, but seriously – fast food and junk foods really must go if you want to lose weight. Trans-fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and other chemicals found in these foods are detrimental to your body’s quest to lose weight.
- Fiber: Fiber is probably one of the most important things you can eat when trying to lose weight. It helps keep you regular and eliminates toxins and carcinogens.
- No Refined Foods: Good-bye white sugar, so long white bread. Get refined foods out of your diet. The human body does not respond well to processed foods, as they are hard to break down. Eating processed foods means you’ll increase your body’s propensity for storing complex carbohydrates, or sugars, which will be converted into fat if not expended. Keep it natural, and you’ll see results.
- So Long, Saccharine: Artificial sweeteners are not only bad for you health-wise, they can hinder your weight loss efforts.
Outfit Yourself and Your Home
Working out and staying healthy will be easier if you have the resources you need handy. Get yourself some cute workout clothes and make sure you have certain tools in your home.
- Lululemon: Getting into yoga is a great way to tone up and lose weight faster, and now you can look great doing it with these amazing yoga outfits.
- Binka: Binka makes working out hip with its trendy tops and pants.
- Couture Active Wear: Great, original designs make up this line of workout gear.
- Pure Lime: This Scandinavian line of workout clothes is geared more toward yoga enthusiasts, but is definitely versatile.
- Margarita Sportswear: A sassy active wear line that is loud and bold.
- Workout Videos: Check out this article about the best fitness DVDs for burning calories and sculpting muscles in the comfort of your living room.
- Resistance Bands: Invest in some resistance bands for longer, leaner muscles.
- Jump Ropes: Jumping rope is a great cardio workout and improves coordination. Definitely a must have for the home.
- Exercise Balls: Exercise balls are an essential tool – they’re especially good for strengthening your core muscles.
- Yoga Mat: You’ll need one of these for yoga, Pilates, or any floor exercises.
- Free Weights: Free weights are great for general strengthening or bring them on your walk or run to increase your calorie burn and muscle mass.
- Medicine Balls: Weighted medicine balls can be used in lieu of weights or to increase the intensity of moves like lunges and sit ups.
Now that you’re armed with all of this weight loss knowledge, you have everything you need to get on the path to being a gorgeous, fit bride. Remember, the principles of weight loss are simple – burn more energy than you take in and choose natural, healthy foods. Good luck!