It's wedding planning season. Right about now thousands of happy couples are scrambling to lock down the many details of hosting a spring or summer wedding.
Planning a wedding is hard work, but it is even harder for a bride-to-be who has put dropping weight for the big day at the top of her list. Though there are many products and pills that promise the quick fix of cut abs in day -- and shortcuts and miracle pills sound great, we know -- nothing works better than good old-fashioned exercise and clean eating to help you reach your goals. If you want to look your best for a spring or summer wedding, you have to start now. It takes time to see results. If you get on a program that includes five days a week of strength training and cardio, combined with a smart eating plan, you'll look great and feel even better on your wedding day.
Here are some dos and don'ts that will help you slim down in three to six months:
Eat whole foods and think fresh Lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds are your friends. Become a salad aficionado! Eat tons of cake at your wedding and celebrate -- just not now. If your food comes from a bag or a box, don't eat it -- or at least try to limit your intake. Use the time before your wedding to learn how to cook wholesome nutritious meals, especially if you spent your swinging single life ordering takeout.
Be social Get your bridesmaids on the fitness bandwagon! Try going to a yoga class together or doing a Saturday afternoon run. Making exercise fun and social also helps beat the stress of wedding planning.
Strength train Many women are afraid that strength training will cause them to bulk up. This simply is not true. Strength training with dumbbells and your own bodyweight four times per week will burn fat and tone your body in all the right places. Try bodyweight squats and calf raises on a step to tone your legs without dumbbells, and try walking lunges with dumbbells to sculpt your lower body.
Banish Excuses You may be super busy and can't get to the gym as often as want, but being consistent is the only way to see changes in your body. Work out at home if you can't get to your favorite class and look online for help. Fitness apps and websites such as DailyBurn stream amazing and diverse work out classes to your Smartphone, iPad, laptop or Apple TV. Who knows -- you may find a NEW favorite class online.
Work on your upper body Most women wear wedding dresses that expose their arms. To get sculpted, feminine arms, include arm exercises in your routine at least twice a week. Pushups, bench dips, and inverted chin ups hit your major upper body muscle groups.
Eat often Small meals, eaten throughout the day, cut down on hunger pangs and will keep you satisfied so you won't go foraging through the refrigerator before bed.
Measure success by how your clothes fit, not what the scale says Too many women weigh themselves daily and beat themselves up for small fluctuations on the scale. The truth is we gain and lose as much as 3 lbs per day according to our hydration and food intake levels.
Don't starve yourself It's better to look trim and toned in your wedding dress than frail, skinny, and tired. Extreme weight loss methods and wacky diets can leave you with nutritional deficiencies, causing you to lose your attractive glow. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, and barely eating can cause low blood sugar, which can cause dizziness and anxiety.
Don't over train On the other end of the extreme spectrum, some brides attempt to drop weight by exercising too much. This method will stress your body, and can cause overuse injuries too. It's hard to dance gracefully in heels at your wedding if you have a stress fracture or knee pain.
Don't focus on your size Some brides focus on a dress size rather than looking fit and healthy. The number on the tag of your dress doesn't matter as long as you feel that you look your best.
Don't eat processed foods Put white flour, sugar, vegetable oils, or a diet high in carbs on your No Fly list. Processed foods are loaded with salt, sugar, artery-clogging oils, simple carbs and hidden calories. Cut these out of your diet for six months and you are sure to see the pounds melt away.
Don't buy trendy equipment Workouts that use your bodyweight for resistance are just as effective -- or better -- at sculpting a killer physique than the latest gizmo at your gym. DailyBurn workouts such as Bikini Butt by Anja Garcia or Metabolic Hip Hop with Keaira Lashea can be done at home and all you need are your sneakers and your laptop. And a smile, of course.