The motivation to slim down and shape up is never more intense than when your big day is looming ever closer. The thought of everlasting wedding photos and being the centre of attention all day long can suddenly make even the most hardened diet-and-fitness-hater want to eat salads and go for a run.
Image courtesy of Virgin Active
If you’ve tried all the diets and you’ve slogged it out at the gym to little or no avail, don’t give up just yet – there’s more to getting in shape than going on a diet or joining the gym. In fact there are so many ways you can make it work for you and enjoy it (yes, really) that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before. It doesn’t have to be about denial or about banning certain food groups or forcing yourself to a spin class you hate. It’s about lifestyle changes that incorporate healthy eating and adequate portion sizes, movement that works the heart, and increased flexibility.
The best thing about getting in shape for your wedding is that you and your partner can train together. Better health and wellbeing can become a joint goal and you will motivate each other to do well. If you don’t have children then finding the time together is much easier as you can meet up after work twice a week and go at the weekend. If you have young children then childcare becomes an issue, but there are crèches and play schemes available, or you might be able to find a regular babysitter – it’s just for an hour or so at a time after all. With healthy eating and regular fitness you’ll start off married life in a positive frame of mind and body.
Exercise releases endorphins that give you the feel good factor
Current exercise options are endless – you could choose to walk, run, swim or cycle together or hire a personal trainer to provide some expert advice to get you started. If you can’t face going to a public gym or leisure centre then invest in a home sports games system such as Wii Fit so you can exercise gently in your own home. Join the gym or local leisure centre to use their equipment such as a springy treadmill (which can be better for you than running on the pavement), cross trainer, rowing machine, bike and weights. Membership can be cheaper than pay-as-you-go and dual membership can work out more cost-effective still.
If the gym is not for you and you need something rather more hardcore to kick start you, a boot camp is an amazing experience, if you dare!
If you are not the sporty type, take a look at joining a dance class together, be it ballroom, jive or salsa. It’s sexy, great fun, and really does tone up the body.
Two of the most happening trends in fitness right now are Zumba, which is a fitness dance class that combines Latin and International music with a fun and effective workout, and Kettle bell training which is a weights-based all-over workout that works the heart, builds strength and endurance and gives amazing results for men and women. I should know, I’ve done it and it works! Whatever you go for, and it might take a few goes to find what you like, aim to spend one hour three times per week combining a cardio workout with weight bearing exercise and some stretching and flexibility such as yoga or pilates. You’ll look and feel amazing in no time at all.
Anyone considering taking up a new exercise regime for the first time is advised to check with their doctor before starting. Start off gently with walking and swimming, adjusting your diet accordingly and build up to more strenuous exercise gradually.
Go for it and you’ll find that combined with small changes to your daily routine such as walking at least part of the way to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift and cutting down on processed foods and large portion sizes, your goal weight and shape is achievable, and better still, you’ll start married life as you mean to go on, with a healthy lifestyle and a great, motivational life partner.
And finally, if neither of you want to do any kind of exercise and are happy as you are then that’s wonderful in many ways. Just remember that making love burns calories too so see if you can build that activity into your weekly routine – purely for medicinal purposes of course…
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Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.