Wedding Wednesday- Tips for getting Fit for your Wedding (especially if you aren't the kind of person who generally cares)

by - Thursday, July 19, 2012

I am not going to say I am expert on this- clearly I am not. But over the last 3 years I have lost a good chunk of weight in a very slow way. Now, in preparation for the wedding, the Fancy has put us on a pretty strict diet plan and I push us on the Zumba.

I think the wanting to feel on top of your body for this makes sense to a certain extent, and it kind of annoys me that people constantly tell other getting married to not try for this at all. If nothing else, the transition gives you the opportunity to look at how you are living your life and what you can do better. I think it is a good thing. And if exerting more effort in any exercisey/ foody direction makes you feel better or at least more in control of the whole making a spectacle of yourself thing, then that seems fine to me too. We have taken advantage of the whole- this is the payoff structure to actually try, which is new, and has mixed results that generally I feel good about. So that's that.We are not sporty/outdoorsy/ particularly showy people, but we both have watched parents struggle with weight, and I know I don't want this to be a continuing narrative for the rest of my life. I at least want to understand it. 

Now that I am a little bit less than a month out, and honestly I think we will let up rather than bear down (people, it gets stressful at the end!) I thought I would give the tips that actually worked for us.

1. Learn to Pay Attention- A few months ago I signed up for Livestrong, and diet-wise, it is the best thing I ever did. I force myself to be totally honest on there, and it makes me so much more aware of how I eat. I like to sneak things, snack a little, but those things build up. By writing it all down, I really became aware of how much I was getting in my own way. It was a big paradigm shift. It also helped me shake off pop, hopefully forever, because I realized even the diet stuff sucked away my daily allowances for things. It is not worth it. I would say if you want to lose weight, start on a program like that, and there are many of them. The best you can do is set a standard for yourself and then be honest.

2. Find Something Exercisey that Isn't Too Horrible, and then Do It until it gets Horrible- Ugh, did I mention I also hate exercising? I like group classes, I don't mind aerobic-y stuff, but I hate to run, bike, etc. I find it all so boring. I need something that is changing to keep my brain busy so I am not just thinking "Man I Hate Exercise." I would highly recommend switching up what you do, but never doing nothing. One day might just be a simple walk with the fancy, but once you make it part of your routine, you just know you can't go to bed having done nothing.

3. Give Yourself Lots of Time, and Just Make Little Changes- This one is HUGE. Honestly, I have never dieted, but I know those things don't last. You know what is a good decision and what is a bad decision, and those should shift over time. A year ago I would have thought we were doing perfectly well if I had 2 cups of juice and pasta. Now, that would be a borderline bad day. There are definitely things we do now (tonight we got pizza and salad) that may not cut it a year from now. You are not a crazy actress on a microbiotic diet. Just start identifying 1 thing you could do better and do it. Build up momentum, but you should never be taking huge leaps. It's like that with exercise too. Even if you only do a little bit, it is better than doing nothing.

4.Fish- I love fish and seafood and it is super good for you. And it is not chicken. Chicken is so boring.  And it can be easier to get good information on what is most ethical to eat. It is also often one of the best healthy options on any menu. I realize this is more convenient in California than elsewhere, but the key is finding foods you love that are still good for you.

5. Buy a Dress You Already Love on Yourself- Ugh, how many times I stood in the bridal salon and thought "well maybe my stomach will be flat by then!" We are a month and change out. I still have my faithful companion the pooch. It is never going away. And even if it did, if I had worn the dress that was tight to my stomach, I would have thought every bunch of fabric was my chubby middle. It's not, but it is where I feel less secure. I do not want to play those games with myself. It's another one of those things, where you have to feel beautiful from the get, and everything else is bonus. No bargaining, or hoping, or starving. That's it.

6. Practice Making an Effort to Look Pretty- Like I said in an earlier blog, I am not the girl who generally cares about this stuff, but honestly I have enjoyed learning more about it as I get into wedding stuff. Take steps that make you feel good about how you look, whether it be wearing your favorite outfit or trying new makeup. You have to figure out how you already feel good about yourself, and focus on that stuff. This isn't about figuring out how to "fix" anything, but just actively making the decision to notice the things you like about yourself and focus on those things. That good feeling, rather than the blergy feeling I mostly feel when I look at myself, pushes me forward and motivates me to keep trying.

I feel like this one is really important, but there is no way to talk about it that isn't riddled with platitudes. In general, we are always willing to treat other people with love, to understand their beauty as being enhanced and nuanced by things they might perceive as flaws. I feel like we can accept the uniqueness of other's attractiveness easily because we look at a lot of people, so variety makes sense and feels good. On the other hand, we are stuck with ourselves, and that intimacy seems to more easily push us to just see good old flaws. We want ourselves to be everything, and no one is that way. If you are going to decide to commit to getting healthy, exercising, whatever, you pretty much have to commit to appreciating all the good stuff that is already there, because if you can't do that you will go crazy. It will never be enough. You owe yourself moments where you feel great and unique and beautiful and whatever else you are already. This isn't lady-centric either.  It doesn't have to be the center of your universe, but the more you can connect with that confidence, the less it has to be.

7. Every Day is a New One, Just Try to Do Better- You are going to mess up. Everytime we go home, I am sure this is the time we will actually be good. Then we get to my in-laws house and they have the best bread in the world. And I go out to dinner with my Dad, and just can't skip the Calimari. Or we decide on a whim to have a late night date and get drinks and dessert. I do my best not to feel too guilty about these moments. The next day will be better. Or we will skip out on Zumba 10 minutes in because we are just sick of Beto (this happened last night). Tonight, we will do better.

8. Don't Deprive Yourself, Because Getting Married Is Crazy Enough- Have your carbs at lunch. When you really want to have whatever that thing is you love, just have it. Who cares. If you are working harder on exercise, you won't self-sabotauge in the same way, because it is like throwing all your work away. But, for goodness sake, somedays planning a wedding is stressful, and if you are a stress eater (like I am) some days it is better to just give yourself a break. Not to mention, going crazy takes away the fun of the whole event, and if you aren't having fun, what exactly is the point? You can slave that weight off, but it won't make you all that much happier in the end. Choose your battles, and if you are feeling totally miserable, honest to goodness, you are pushing too hard. You can slowly move toward what you want, and you are so much likelier to stick with it. If you make yourself crabby, crazy, or (the worst) mean, you have accomplished nothing. F You Kate Moss, plenty of things taste better than skinny feels.

9. Fall in love with fruit- Fruit is the best. It is delicious and sweet and wonderful. In the summer it is even not all that expensive. You know what else is great? Zucchini! You can put it in like anything and then pat yourself on the back for eating healthy-ish. Look, you can eat a million kiwis and it will never be as good as cake. But if you eat 3 kiwis first, you may want less cake. At least that is how it has worked for me. I eat a pretty steady stream of sweets from fruit to try to keep my sweet tooth satisfied. Plus, then maybe you can avoid all the freaking greek yogurt and granola that every health website will try to talk you into.

10. And this is the Best Advice Ever... DRINK WATER- Everything will tell you to do this, but for good reason! I used to be the kind of person who would pass out from dehydration before I would drink water (no seriously, I did that). I loved clear pop, juice, really anything with sugar at its heart. I have weened myself off pop over the course of 2 years (I don't even have it at restaurants anymore, which was the rule for a long time). Now I have juice if we go out for brunch or something, but there is none in the house! Tasty crutches are all removed! Now, with the help of a cute Livestrong animation that congratulates me when I have 8 glasses, I down at least 6 to 10 glasses a day. It still tastes like nothing. It still is in no way a pleasure, but it isn't horrible. And my skin looks so so so so much better. No lie. If all it did was clear/ brighten up my skin it would be worth it. And the water fills me up so I don't feel as snacky. Everything will tell you this as its advice, but trust it. They are not wrong. Just cutting the pop business might be enough to help you lose that little bit of weight that makes you feel better and you can happily gain back once you are a married woman.

Anyway, this is my advice, which is not ground-breaking, but svelting up has been a part of wedding prep, and I have learned a lot from it as it has gone on. I think the biggest testament as this goes on is that as much as we talk about eating all cake diets once we are married, we both admitted today that we don't really want to go back completely. But then again, I so do! I am proud of us for sticking with it, which is probably a good long term skill to have in your arsenal. I am mostly happy that we are getting to the parts that are celebrations, and I don't want to be the bride just eating lettuce. Nobody should be that girl! The only thing worse than water is lettuce!

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