How to shape up for your wedding day

The best way to slim down and look ravishing on your wedding day is to eat healthy, exercise regularly and to start early, says Tanja Shaw

Getting into shape for your big day is easier than you think.

Your date and venue is booked, your bridal party has been selected, and invitations are in the mail.  The big things on your wedding ‘to-do’ list are checked off- and now it’s time to work on you.

As a bride-to-be, you want to look and feel your best on your big day.  For many ladies, that might mean dropping a few extra pounds, and toning up.  The best way to slim down and look ravishing on your wedding day is to eat healthy, exercise regularly and to start early- at least 12-weeks before your big day.

Proper nutrition is vital to slim down.  While starving yourself may drastically tip the scale, your mood, energy level and beautiful glow will plummet, leaving you looking and feeling tired.  Instead, aim to eat three meals and two healthy snacks per day.  Include protein, such as egg whites or chicken breast, and high fibre carbohydrate, such as whole grain bread, fruit, or brown rice, at each meal.  Skip the high sugar, fatty foods and alcohol- with the exception of your bachelorette party, of course.

How much you eat it also important. Eating too much of anything, even the right things, will cause you to gain weight.  Cut back on salt,

especially on the days leading up to your wedding day to avoid that puffy look.

To help curb unnecessary hunger and to keep hydrated, aim to drink 6-8 glasses or water per day, and more if you’re active.

To keep you on track with you eating habits, start keeping a food journal.  Track what you eat, and how much you eat (yes, that means you’ll have to weigh or measure your food). By writing down your food choices, you will be more conscious of what you eat, and you will be motivated to stay on the right track.

When combined with proper nutrition, cardio exercise will accelerate your weight loss and boost your energy levels.  Aim for at least thirty minutes of cardio exercise three to four times per week.  Brisk walking, cycling, running, tennis and circuit training are great examples of cardio exercise.  For the best results, try to get your heart rate up to 120- 160 beats per minute.  Aim for the lower range if you are above 40 or are a beginner exerciser.  If it’s been a while since you laced up your running shoes, start with three ten-minute bursts of exercise and progress slowly.  To keep motivated, challenge your bridesmaids or your fiancée to join you.

Strength training is crucial to achieving that toned look.  While you cannot spot reduce (crunches will not burn belly fat), you can do strength exercises to increase your muscle tone in certain areas.  If you’ll be baring your arms in your gown, be sure to include exercises that target the triceps (such as dips or triceps press downs) shoulders (such as shoulder presses) and back (such as rows and chin ups).  A full body program would include squats and lunges- important for looking great in a bikini on your honeymoon.

No matter what size dress you are wearing, you will look gorgeous on your wedding day.  With that being said, your hard work during the months, or even weeks, leading up to your wedding will pay off when you walk down the aisle looking and feeling fantastic.

Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Coaching, a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals works to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.

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