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The Do's and Don'ts of Wedding Weight Loss

How to lose weight before the big day -- and avoid 'heavier ever after'

Losing Weight Before the Wedding continued...

"The less time you have, the more time you have to dedicate to working out," says Fleming. Fleming says it's normal for brides-to-be to experience a slight weight gain after starting an exercise program, as they build lean muscle mass. But that's what will give them the kind of muscle tone they'll want to show off in a strapless wedding dress.

Experts say a weight-loss goal of about a pound a week is reasonable. For those with weddings many months away, Mercer recommends setting short-term goals -- like a couple pounds per month, rather than just 20 pounds before the wedding. This will allow them to enjoy short-term successes and not get discouraged.

For brides- and grooms-to-be who want to achieve sensible and lasting weight loss before their weddings, Mercer has this dietary advice:

  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Identify sources of empty calories in your diet, such as high-fat and high-sugar snacks, and limit them.
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. They're powerhouses of nutrition and can fill you up on fewer calories.
  • Choose leaner, lower-fat meat and dairy products.
  • Eat your calories, don't drink them. Engagement is a time for celebrations and parties, so choose your beverages wisely. Alcoholic beverages generally have at least 100 calories or more.

Once future brides and grooms set their minds to a weight-loss and fitness plan, Fleming says, they are usually successful. Many pick up healthy habits that last a lifetime.

"It is amazing to me how focused and motivated they become during this frantic, crazy, panicked period in their lives, and it's the one thing that they stick to," says Fleming. "If you need to use the wedding day to get you started, that's OK, but most people continue to work out, feel great, and look back at the pictures and say, 'Wow, I can do this.'"

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