Fit to Marry


Everyone wants to lose weight. And what better motivation than your wedding? Exercise expert Andrew Cate gives a plan to look and feel your best on that special day.

It’s natural to want to look and feel your best on your wedding day. That goes without explanation. You’re motivated, you’re willing, but are you able? The following six-step guide will walk you through the process of how to look fabulous on your wedding day—and beyond.

Step 1. Set Goals; Have A Plan

First, set a long-term goal. This should be the ultimate result you want to achieve, such as fitting into that size 12 wedding dress—or to be able to jog for 30 minutes nonstop. Commit by writing your goal on the cut-out on page 26, then place it on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Next, write down some short-term, intermediate and more readily achievable goals. They should be challenging nevertheless, and focus on the doing, not the obtaining. A focus on the doing (such as “walking for 40 minutes five times this week”) helps you to control your achievements, while a focus on the outcome (such as “to lose five kilos before my wedding ”) is vulnerable to things beyond your control. Use these for long-term goals.

Once you have your short-term goals in order, prepare a plan, including the actions you need to take to ensure the goals happen. It doesn’t have to be a plan as big as your wedding, but it does help to know your schedule and map out a training program. Start well in advance, working out the number of weeks you have before the big day. Forget thinking, deliberating, hoping or excuse making. Action is the key that gets you started, and your daily actions will ultimately help you look your best.

Step 2. Don’t Go Too Early

Now you have a goal and a plan to achieve it, it’s time to take action. But before you leap into a new exercise program, don’t forget to consider the following key points.

Should you consult with your GP? If you haven’t been active for some time, if you smoke or if you suffer diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure, it is advisable to see your doctor.

Start slowly. To avoid discouraging injuries and soreness, start at a level where you feel comfortable. Use short bursts of activity within this, and build up your stamina gradually. Don’t be overzealous and get so sore that you will want to give up after the first week.

Warm up and cool down. A good warm-up and cool-down routine helps to prevent injury and ease you back into a sustainable regular exercise program.

Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you drink before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Take small sips of water as you go, especially if your activity lasts longer than 60 minutes.

Take extra care if you have a previous injury. If you have been injured before, you are more likely to get the same injury again compared with someone who has been injury free. Use heat wraps or preventative strapping, and include activities that don’t stress the area.

Ask a professional. You could always check with a physiotherapist or fitness trainer to give you advice on an exercise program that factors in your injuries or exercise history. They will design a program to suit your specific needs.

Step 3. Eat Better

Whether you are concerned about looking your best or just maximising your health and vitality for your wedding day, food is a key ingredient. It’s important to reduce your kilojoule intake without making you feel hungry or deprived. In the short term, healthful eating will help you to reduce stored fat and maintain a healthy level of body fat. Over the long term, good eating habits will protect you from illness, and reduce your risk of developing diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.

The best way to eat for fat loss is a healthy diet low in fat and kilojoules, and full of natural, unprocessed foods, such as beans, vegetables and grains. The kilojoules from dietary fat are more likely to end up as body fat, unlike the kilojoules from carbohydrate or protein. And while it’s important that you eat well, it’s just as important that you also enjoy your food. Gradual changes help your tastebuds adjust to less fat, and your stomach adjust to smaller portions.
Some important dietary strategies to have you looking your best for your wedding day include:

  • Always eat a quality, hearty breakfast;
  • Eat plenty of plant foods, such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains;
  • Reduce your portion sizes, especially for the evening meal;
  • Cut down on highly processed carbohydrate foods, such as white rice, white bread, white pasta and low-fibre breakfast cereals;
  • Drink water rather than soft drink, cordial or fruit juice;
  • Choose lean cuts of meat, and discard the skin on chicken
  • Drink alcohol in moderation—if at all—including three to five alcohol-free days a week.

Step 4. Get Active

Physical activity has a major role to play in stripping body fat for your special day. While a low-fat, high-fibre diet helps prevent the storage of fat, it takes regular movement and exercise to burn dietary fat and remove existing stores of body fat.

It is not possible to starve a fat cell. As soon as your fat cells realise you’re on the latest crazy diet, a survival mechanism kicks in, and they conserve energy, hanging onto their fat stores. Some weight loss may occur in the form of reduced water and muscle tissue, however the body will be reluctant to tap into the body’s stored fat. It takes an exercise for the body to tap into stored body fat.

The type of activity you undertake will help determine what fuel you use. Intense activities, such as squash or weight-lifting, use mainly carbohydrate energy for fuel, while slow, rhythmic and continuous activities (walking, cycling and running) use a higher proportion of body fat as an energy source.

Step 5. Involve Your Partner

Change is very difficult on your own, so why not rally a little support for your new lifestyle. The support and understanding that only a partner can give provides you both with a unique opportunity to work together toward a healthy, leaner future. You can help each other to eat better, move more and stay positive about lifestyle changes. It’s fantastic to have someone to talk to and share the journey with, especially the person who you plan to spend the rest of your life with. Go for a walk together, enjoy quality time and talk about your plans for the future while you’re moving. By having your partner by your side, you will find a lot of motivation and encouragement.

A good training partner will help to push you a little harder than you would push yourself, just as you can stretch and challenge them. You’ll get more out of achieving something together. When you make a commitment to exercise together, you’re more likely to stay committed. You can check up on each other, motivate each other, and dramatically increase your chances of success. It can make a big difference to have someone depending on you on those days when you don’t feel like training.

Step 6. Make It Fun

Your program doesn’t have to be formal, and can include fun activities such as throwing a Frisbee at the beach, walking your dog or surfing. To make health and fitness a regular part of your life, you must enjoy it. You’ll be far more likely to stay motivated if you choose activities that you enjoy. A great way to do this is to take up a team sport like volleyball or soccer, which combines exercise with a social life.

Another way to add enjoyment and boost your results is to vary the level of effort during your work-outs. By alternating short, hard bursts of intense exercise with slow, moderate exertion, you can increase the intensity of your training without suffering burnout.

Getting in shape doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. If you want to look your best for your wedding, don’t forget the most important thing is to feel good about yourself. Making an effort to improve your health and wellbeing will bring you a feeling of confidence and energy that can only help to better your fabulous day.

Exercise Do’s

  • Find an activity or variety of activities you enjoy
  • Get moving at least four to six times per week.
  • Pace yourelve over the full duration of your work-out

Exercise Don’ts

  • Miss two or more days of exercising in a row
  • Make exuses to avoid daily exercise
  • Drink a lot of extra water
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