By Jessica Scully • Owner of PaleoScaleo and A Day at the Beach Event Planning + Personal Trainer
So it happened…you’re engaged!
Now you’re wondering: Destination wedding or local? Big wedding or small? Kids invited or not? Buffet or sit down meal?
There’s a million questions that come along with wedding planning. Working as a wedding planner, a personal trainer and running a healthy food blog, I have a somewhat unique perspective on the months leading up to a wedding. It can be overwhelming for sure – everyone has an opinion, or a fix, or a suggestion on how you should best spend your time over the next few months to prepare for the big day.
I want to start by reminding you that the most important thing to remember throughout your wedding planning process is why you’re doing this. Make sure that your relationship stays your top priority. After all the guests and the gifts and the parties are over, that’s what will remain, and that should be the foundation that everything is built on. Stay true to who you are, who your spouse is, and who the two of you are together.
So, that being said, you of course want to look and feel your best on your wedding day! Since true health starts with food and what you’re putting into your body, that’s where we’ll begin.
Working out will help you lose weight, but the fastest way to lose weight is most certainly in the kitchen. Here are 3 basic ground rules for healthy meals:
- Focus on having high-quality, natural protein at every meal. Things like soy and tofu are not natural proteins. The best way to think about this is to ask yourself – “Did it have a mother or a face?” If the answer is yes, then it’s a natural protein!
- Get your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. A lot of people think ‘low carb diets’ are the way to go. This isn’t necessarily the case – did you know that all fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates? Avoid highly processed carbohydrates like muffins, bagels, bread, etc.
- Protein, Carb, Fat. At each meal, think about filling your plate with mostly vegetables, a palm-sized piece of protein, and a bit of healthy fat. This might be a small handful of nuts, half an avocado, or some full-fat coconut milk that was added to your dish.
As long as you stick to this way of eating, you don’t need to weigh or measure food. You don’t need to count calories. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated!
Try to steer clear of anything that advertises itself as a ‘fix’ or anyone that wants to sell you anything – food containers, weight loss shakes, etc. Think Beach Body, Advocare, etc. These programs are marketing gimicks. They may work for a short time, but will not provide you with long-term, lasting results.
Instead, focus your time on the meal guidelines above. Try to do a bit of meal planning each week, or have a few hours that you set aside for food prep so you have healthy choices available to you. Read your ingredient labels, so you know what’s in your food. If you can’t pronounce it, or can’t have it in your own kitchen, it’s not food. Keep it simple and focus on high quality ingredients.
Workouts don’t have to be complicated either. There’s plenty of stress to be had during the wedding planning process; don’t make this another area of stress. Instead, make it a reprieve, a stress release of sorts. Trudging along on the treadmill or elliptical is not effective exercise. In order to lose weight and burn fat, you need a blast of high intensity interval training. There are tons of at-home workouts available online on Pinterest. Choose different ones and keep it interesting. The best part about these kinds of workouts? They often only require between 10-20 minutes of work – way less than the hour you would spend on a treadmill!
If you want more customized training personalized to you and your needs, you can hire a personal trainer for the weeks and months leading up to your wedding. You can hire someone locally, or if you’re self-motivated, you can hire someone virtually. (I offer various personal training packages to help you shed the weight for your wedding day – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific details!)
Here’s a quick at-home workout for you to try out on your own. Set a timer for 5 rounds, then work for 45 seconds and rest for 15 seconds each minute, doing 1 movement per minute, for a total of 15 minutes. If the intensity is too much for you, start out with 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest, and build up from there as you gain endurance.
You can also swap out the movements for different movements to change the workout up on other days. For example, you might combine push ups, lunges, and situps in the same format to work different muscles! Try to combine eccentric and concentric movements (pushing/pulling, extension/contraction) when brainstorming exercises.
At- Home Workout: Keep Holdin’ On
:45 seconds on/ :15 seconds off
Complete each movement for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before continuing onto the next movement. Repeat the cycle 5 times through.
Burpees: From standing, place your hands on the ground
and jump your feet back,
“dropping” to the ground with the least amount of effort possible (think graceful falling!).
With hands on the ground at the nipple line, press your chest up, keep your ribs down and tension through your middle,
then pop off your hips and bring your feet directly under your hips,
then stand and clap overhead to reach full extension.
To Scale: Step back rather than jump back, walking the feet back, then walk the feet back up to the hands to return to standing.
Remember, these are NOT a pushup! You should not be holding a plank, lowering to the ground, and then doing a pushup to get back up. Drop down as quickly as possible and pop back up as quickly as possible.
Plank: Make sure your shoulders are stacked directly over your wrists. Elbow dimples should point forward. Keep hands “screwed” into the floor. Maintain a tight midline, ribs down, butt squeezed. Keep body in a straight line
– no dip or arch in the back or hips.
To Scale: Lower to the forearms, maintaining a straight line in the body. If you need to rest, lower to the knees, then push back up into the plank as soon as you are able.
Squats: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart with feet out no more than a 30° angle. “Screw” your feet into the floor and drive the knees out (not forward!) while lowering to the bottom of the squat.
Aim to get your hips below parallel, but lower only as far as you can before your chest begins to drop forward.
Keep as upright and as vertical as possible throughout the squat. Drive the knees out and push through the heels, squeezing your butt to come back to standing.
To Scale: Maintain the same positioning, only squatting to a depth that allows you to stay completely upright without folding over. It doesn’t matter how shallow this is – the more often you do it, the lower you’ll be able to go!
How did you do? Feel free to post any questions below!