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By: | Posted: 12/10/2012
You've all heard about those crazy pre-wedding diets, and I'll admit, I was the stereotypical bride who wanted to look and feel her best for that walk in white. I implemented a wedding workout routine early on in the planning process, but as we approached that two-months-til-d-day mark, I felt more toned, but I didn't necessarily feel slimmer. I started to consider the 80/20 rule that I've read so much about: Weight loss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent fitness. I'm not sure that I agree entirely with this school of thought, but I decided to give it a shot.
I'm not exactly what you'd call disciplined when it comes to snacking. I like to think that I'm a healthy eater, but I definitely have a sweet tooth, and I love to eat out, which makes eating healthy a lot trickier. As the wedding neared, I decided to make my diet a priority, which meant less nights out on the town and more nights cooking in with my man.
The first thing I knew that I needed to eliminate was alcohol. After my second bachelorette party (yes, I had two) in early June, I nixed alcohol until the big day. I took a holiday dispensation on July 4 for a beer at the family barbecue, but I otherwise completely eliminated those empty calories (and any hangover eating that might accompany it). I probably could have stopped there, since those empty calories really do make a huge difference, but I decided to take it one step further and really up my intake of fruits, vegetables, protein, and water.
I started each day with a fruit and vegetable smoothie that I made from scratch and sprinkled in some protein powder. (If possible, add a Vitamix blender to your registry. Seriously. It works wonders.) I was incredibly fortunate in that I was attempting this modified eating strategy at the height of summer, so there were many fresh produce options available. Our refrigerator was constantly stocked with fresh berries (my trainer told me the darker the color the better they are for you), cherries, celery, salmon, egg whites, hummus, and chicken. I would rotate different fruits in and out of my morning smoothie, and though some tasted better than others, it was an energizing way to start the morning, and the protein helped get my metabolism going early in the day. Lunch and dinner often consisted of a combination of egg whites, salads, chicken, and salmon. If I ever craved something sweet, I tried to combat it with a handful of cherries, but I did allow the occasional dark chocolate covered almonds (almonds have protein, right?).
Water was also crucial in adjusting to this healthier lifestye. I've never been a huge water drinker, but I made a conscious effort to have at least two containers of water a day. Not only did this help wake up my system in the morning (I started each day with a glass of warm lemon water before my smoothie), but it also was easy to carry with me at all times. That last month of planning, you're on the go constantly, so I kept a container of peanut butter, a spoon, and a bottle of water in my car at all times. Strange? Maybe. Sustainable? Probably not. But it was a temporary fix to the crazy lifestyle I had adopted, and it helped keep me going at all times.
I also worked about four days of juice cleansing into my schedule the month before the wedding. I've always been a huge fan of the Blueprint cleanse, not so much for weight loss (the juices have enough calories to total a full day's eating), but to simply keep me on a healthy track. With Blueprint, you order six juices for one day from a company that's based out of New York. They send fresh juice to you the morning you're to start, and fill the day with motivational e-mails to help you combat your cravings. Trust me, it sounds harder than it really is; you're constantly drinking juice filled with flavor, which really fills you up. Cleansing was especially helpful on the days I had to drive to Wisconsin in that final month, because I have a tendency to stop for snacks while I drive. This way, I had a built in snack for the road, and I was preoccupied the entire time.
My final motivation was my rehearsal dinner dress. My wedding dress was a modified A-line, so really, the only thing that needed to look in tip-top shape were my arms (push-ups and tricep dips were key). But to keep me motivated, I opted for a skin tight fuchsia dress for our rehearsal dinner. I periodically tried it on in the weeks leading up to the wedding to see how comfortable I felt in it, and when the time came to put it on the night before our wedding, I felt confident and pleased with the person smiling back in the mirror. Mission accomplished.
Kara is a communications manager at U.S. Bank. See her engagement story.
Taylor is a magazine editor at MSP Communications. See her engagement story.
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