Bridal weight loss tips

Bridal weight loss is a difficult topic. As soon as you have a ring on your finger there is an assumption that you will start an extreme weight loss and fitness regime. There is pressure everywhere, Say Yes to the Dress UK is even sponsored by Weight Watchers.

I felt overwhelmed when were engaged and didn’t know where to start. The only way I had lost weight before was to eat little and do lots of cardio. I was dreading working a full time job in London whilst on such a restrictive diet.

Initially I just wanted to lose as much weight as possible. However once I began to research bridal weight loss tips I quickly realised health was more important than the number on the scale. I also learnt that so many of things I have been doing over the years to lose weight and to be healthy were wrong.

I became a bit obsessed with learning as much as I possibly could. I listened to Podcasts, read books, magazine and blogs. Many of my beliefs were wrong. I remained sceptical about what I learnt, despite hearing the information again and again. It wasn’t until I actually put them into practice that I realised they worked.

These tips will not only help with your bridal weight loss journey but also your long term health. Healthy eating and exercise helps to regulate blood sugar, reduce stress and increase self-esteem. It will even help to balance hormones, improve menstrual pain and long term fertility.

Start early 

Set yourself realistic targets and give yourself time to slowly lose weight. A good target is 1 – 2 pounds a week. I started my journey about 9 months before our wedding, which was plenty of time to lose weight steadily and build muscle in a targeted way.

Eat

Calories do matter. It is science that you will not lose weight unless you burn more calories than you eat. However a very low calorie diet makes your body think you do not have access to food, as if there is a famine. It will slow down your body’s processes to conserve energy and it will start to shut down all bodily functions which are unnecessary for survival.

This means that your metabolism will drop and your body will burn less calories whilst at rest or exercising. This will only hinder your weight loss. It also means that when you go back to eating normally you will likely to gain a lot of weight quickly.

If you combine a low calorie diet with an intense exercise regime your body will almost go into shock! It will release the hormones such as cortisol that are associated with stress. These hormones prepare the body for “fight or flight” situations and floods the body with glucose. If these hormones are elevated for an extended period of time it will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. This is not a state you want to be in, especially whilst dealing with the already stressful task of wedding planning.

I did not realise this until I started to do research. I used to feel gleeful when the number on My Fitness Pal was close to or under 1,000 calories, even though I felt tired and weak. I would then be confused and miserable when I would pile on the lost weight and more when I started eating normally again after the holiday or event.

Your height, starting weight, muscle mass and activity levels will affect how many calories you should eat each day. There are helpful websites available online which calculate your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you need per day just to function) by taking all these factors into account. Some of the websites will also give you tailored calorie guidelines for rest days and training days, to help you reach your goals.

The type of food you eat is also important, some foods will help you to stay fuller for longer and improve your overall health. Make sure you include protein with each meal or snack. Protein burns slowly and helps to keep you full for longer. Add protein powder to your morning smoothie and lean meat or plant based sources such as lentils, to your other meals.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates and sugar are a controversial topic, especially in the #fitfam world. There has been a debate in the fitness blogger world over the past month about the role carbs play in a balanced diet following a recent Women’s Health article.

Carbs are important for energy and fuel, especially if you exercise or have an active lifestyle. However, refined carbohydrates and sugar are not necessary for our bodies and have little to no nutritional value. A long-term diet heavy in these foods can lead to inflammation and even serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

Focus on complex and unprocessed sources of carbohydrates such as vegetables, sweet potato, oats, fruit and beans. These food sources also have other nutrients that are essential for our body, as well as fibre to aid digestion. Avoid or limit processed and simple carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, pastries, cakes and cereal.

The body is naturally more insulin resistant in the morning, so save your higher carb meal for the evening and focus on eating a breakfast which is high in protein and healthy fats. Use carbs to refuel after exercise, when the body has used up its reserves and is depleted of energy.

It is also be helpful to consider your personal carbohydrate tolerance. Everyone is different, we all have that one friend who eats bagels for breakfast, pasta for lunch and a baked potato for dinner daily, but is naturally tiny. I only have to look at a carbs and I seem to gain weight. You may be able to tolerate more or less carbohydrates in your diet than others. You can experiment with different levels and see how you feel and how it affects your weight loss goals.

Fats

Over the past 30 years there has been to focus on a low fat diet for health and weight loss. We were told to eat fat free yogurt, margarine rather than butter and to remove the yolk when cooking eggs. There was a misunderstanding that eating fat makes you fat and increases cholesterol. However this has been disproved and low fat products are generally high in sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Fat from sources such as nuts, avocados and seeds are vital for the body. Fat is used to make cells, absorb vitamins, help brain health and build hormones. It is important to include healthy fats in your diet.

In relation to cooking oils, opt for coconut oil, grass fed butters and avocado oils. Try to avoid vegetable oils as they can cause inflammation in the body, which impairs fat loss and leads to a variety of diseases.

Water

Drinking more water is a simple change to make. Over half of our body is made up of water and it is so important for all bodily functions. Drinking enough water will help your body to flush out toxins, improve exercise performance and aid weight loss. It is also common to misinterpret thirst for hunger, so drinking enough water can help with managing your appetite.

Water is also brilliant for your skin! It is the number one tip advocated make up artists. It really helped me to keep my skin clear and my make up artist commented on our wedding day about how my skin had improved since the trial.

Empty calories

It is easy to forget that drinks have calories. Your morning caramel frappucino or Thirsty Thursday cocktail may contain hundreds of calories. Can you swap your morning coffee for a herbal or green tea? Or your favourite cocktail for a vodka and slimline tonic?

I did struggle to avoid alcohol during my wedding fitness journey (that makes me sound like a massive alcoholic haha…). But there are so many wedding related events which include alcohol and I enjoy unwinding in the evening with a glass of wine. I logged the calories in My Fitness Pal and tried to limit alcohol to the weekend. If you are macro tracking you can make room for booze by using calories from your carb and fat allowance.

I also used to be a diet coke fiend. I thought that if I could fill up on diet coke, it would reduce my appetite and I would eat less. However, there is now research which indicates that the chemicals in diet drinks could actually trigger weight gain and increase sugar cravings. Try to limit your intake of diet drinks and replace them with water where possible.

Meal prep

Meal prepping has become a huge craze, particularly since The Body Coach made “prepping like a boss” a Sunday afternoon trend. Planning your meals and buying food in bulk can help you to stay on track. It is always the evenings when I get home from work and there is no food in the house when I order take away or go out for dinner.

Utilise a quiet evening or Sunday afternoon to plan your meals over the upcoming days. Make double your dinner and use the leftovers for lunch. Also buy lots of easy snacks such as bags of unsalted nuts or protein bars.

Exercise

I was one of those typical, clueless gym goers. I would faff around, run for a bit, maybe use the bike and then head home. There was no consistency and no plan. It wasn’t something I would look forward to and I didn’t really see any progress.

During my wedding fitness journey I tried almost everything, Kayla Itsines BBG, The Body Coach, F45, Fitness Blender, Tone It Up… You name it I tried it. But I am glad I did. It really helped me to figure out what I enjoyed and would actually stick to.

I found Kayla’s BBG a chore, I absolutely dreaded it and thought it was quite difficult to follow. Fitness Blender was a bit boring. F45 was too intense for me and meant I had to workout in London.

However with the The Body Coach I could get motivated. Joe Wicks talks you through each stage of the HIIT workouts and I could follow him without thinking too much. His sessions are 15 – 20 minutes, so I could just jump out of bed half hour earlier than normal on mornings when I needed to wash my hair, workout and then shower.

These HIIT sessions jumpstarted my weight loss and I started to see progress with my overall fitness levels and strength. However it started to plateau and I wanted to change things up. I kept reading about weight training and decided to give it a go, despite comments from family members and even my fiancé that it would make me too muscly and unattractive.

I didn’t know where to start and was worried about injuring myself, so I employed the help of a Personal Trainer I admired on Instagram, Courtney Pruce. I had a tester session with her where she talked me through some basics of weight training. I was terrified but I really enjoyed it. Courtney made me a training plan based on how many sessions I wanted to fit in each week and which areas I wanted to target. I also paid for some PT sessions and online coaching, which included guidance on calories, carb cycling and macros, together with weekly check ins and personalised advice.

I really stuck with my training plan and saw a lot of progress. It felt empowering being able to lift heavier weights and it revolutionised how I spent my time at the gym. I would walk in with a plan and was really efficient. I combined these weight training sessions with HIIT and walking at lunchtime. I lost another 16 pounds in 3 months, whilst building muscle.

There is so much advice on what type of exercise to do, how much and when. I think the most important thing is to try a bit of everything and figure out what you enjoy and will actually stick to.

YouTube is a great source for free workouts which you can do without even leaving the house. If you are interested in weight training and can afford a gym membership, many gyms offer you a free PT session when you sign up. The PT may even draft a training plan for you. If you can invest in a coach or personal trainer, then I definitely recommend it. You will achieve the maximum possible within the time frame you have and it will really help to stay on track. It will also help you to avoid mistakes or causing injury.

Progress photos

This is a great tip advocated by most fitness coaches. The scales don’t show the full picture, especially if you are incorporating weight training into your regime.

Take photos from the front, side and back on the same day each week, before you eat or do anything. You can then see your progress visually and if you are having  bad day you can look back the photos to see how far you have come. This really helped me and encouraged me to stay on track.

This is one of my progress comparisons from September 2016 to April 2017:

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Chemicals

One area of health that is rarely considered is the chemicals in your surroundings and in the products you use. Every day I walk around London, past cars and buses pumping out fumes and use a dozen different beauty products. These products and fumes have hundreds, if not thousands of chemicals in them. Some of these chemicals are xenoestrogens which interact with our hormones and can seriously impact our health and weight loss.

Consider whether you can make small changes to limit your body’s exposure to chemicals. Think about using paraben free shampoos or deodorants. Avoid overly perfumed products and soaps.

Be consistent

The key to all of these things is consistency. You do not have to be perfect each day. One naughty meal or missed training session will not reverse all your progress. If you are eating well and incorporating exercise as often as you can each week you will see progress.

Comment below or send me an email to perfectlypersonalwedding@hotmail.com with your goals. Good luck! x


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