If there’s one thing a bride wants on her wedding day (second of course to becoming legally tied to the one she loves!) it’s to make sure it's here day to shine. She'll be the centre of attention, admired by everyone and snapped like she's walked in front of the paparazzi! 

If this sounds like you, then we are sure you'll want to feel your absolute best too. You'll likely want the most gorgeous wedding dress and to look stunning in every photograph which we're sure you'll be hanging all-around your house for years to come...Even if the pics are for your Instagram followers, you're going to be reminded of this day for the rest of your life. 

 So, of course, you want to look your best! As women, we are particularly critical of ourselves, particularly when it comes to our appearance. This only magnifies every time we are enjoying an occasion where getting dressed up is mandatory. Even if you're not fussed about your appearance – which is totally fine and perfectly healthy — it's important we feel good on the inside. 

Now, times that by several (possibly hundreds of) wedding guests including old friends, best friends, family, colleagues with all eyes on you. Can you feel the pressure yet? You may be worrying: Will my make-up stay put? Will my hair stay in place? And, despite our passion for positive body image, the top of many- a-bride’s concerns will be: ‘Help, I don’t want to look fat on my big day!’

First things first...

Let’s just clear up something very, very important. This is your wedding way. This is the day you officially become legally joined to the person you love. You've invited the people who mean the most to you to come and share this wonderful day. Whether you’re a size 8 or 18 is not that important  – your other half wants to marry you just as you are. They either asked or agreed to marry you at your pre-diet size and will love you regardless of whether you lose weight or not. Love is much deeper than appearances and if the person you’re marrying wants to you lose weight for any other reason than genuine concern for your health then stop right now, call off the wedding and find someone who isn’t so shallow.
Anyway, now we’ve got that out of the way and established that you simply want to look and feel your best on your wedding day (and who wouldn’t), just how is this going to be achieved? And what can you do to make this more successful than previous attempts to lose weight? Like every other aspect of a successful and smoothly running wedding, it’s all in the planning and organisation.

Set a Date

You’ve got the date of your actual wedding in stone. However most women will be having their dress adjusted, and losing (or gaining) extra inches at the eleventh hour is going to be a logistical nightmare for your seamstress and may even result in your dress not fitting properly on the day. Most seamstresses require final fittings to be done at least a month before the day itself, so make this your goal date then try not to change shape too much after this. You’d have to diet quite drastically to make huge differences in a month anyway which would only leave you feeling lethargic and miserable by the time the big day arrives.

Decide On Your Goals

Trying to lose two stone in a month is neither healthy nor achievable. The more time you give yourself to lose the weight, the better, but, if you’ve left it too late, still aim to lose around 0.5 kg a week (you might be able to stretch this to 1 kg a week if you are very overweight). You might not be quite at your ultimate weight goal by your wedding day, but at least you’ll still have energy and you’ll have glossy hair and glowing skin. Dark rings under your eyes and low mood (not to mention low libido!) are not worth starving yourself for.

Make a Mood Board

Hands up if the first thing you did after getting engaged was to buy every wedding magazine in the newsagent and rip out all the pictures that you liked?! Studies show that making a visual dream or mood board taps into our subconscious and motivates us on a daily basis to do the things which take us further towards our goal. So, if you’re going somewhere hot for your honeymoon, buy a new bikini in the size you think you’ll be after you’ve lost weight and hang it in your bedroom where it reminds you that you will be looking like the glowing newlywed that you are. Make a picture board of things you need in your life to help you achieve your weightloss goals. A department store catalogue will have loads of inspirational ideas, pictures of trainers and workout clothes, weights, skipping ropes and other exercise equipment.
Or you can do it the 21st century way and use Pinterest, which is essentially a digital mood board. Make a board for exercise, one for healthy food, one for motivational quotes, and of course, one for more wedding ideas!

Enrol Help and Delegate

It’s the job of your maid of honour, bridesmaids, flower girls, witness, mum, sister and every other important person in your life to help make sure your special day runs smoothly. So, why not get them to help keep you on track with your diet and exercise plans too? Perhaps someone in your bridal party would also like to lose weight or get fit and could workout with you. Get someone to research nice places to eat out that do tasty, healthier dishes, and ask your mum nicely to please stop bringing the biscuits out every time you visit her! Studies show that people with good peer support are more successful in sticking to plans and achieving goals both short and long term.

The Diet

The best foods for weightloss just happen to be the ones that also allow you to feel satisfied and bouncing with energy whilst giving you sparkling eyes, glowing skin and glossy hair. I don’t prescribe meal plans as most people find them too complicated to stick to when life is busy enough, however, following this set of guidelines 90% of the time (leaving 10% for treats) is a pretty reliable way to improve your waistline as well as your health in almost every way.

The Exercise

The best exercise is the one you enjoy and the one you stick to. Consistency, that is keeping to a realistic schedule and very rarely missing a workout, is more important than what you actually choose to do for that workout. That being said, most women already have enough on their plate with work, children, and, of course, organising a wedding! So anything that can be done in as short a time as possible while still making progress makes sense. I prefer High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for this reason, and is what I coach on my The Fit Mum Formula ‘BodyBack’ programme. Do the following routing 3-5 times a week with at least a day’s rest between each workout, and walk as much as you can, preferable at least 30 mins a day, to help reduce stress, burn more calories, and help your muscles recover faster from your HIIT workouts.

20 Minute Bodyweight HIIT Workout

This targets the three areas of your body: upper body, legs, core and also some cardio, meaning you get a full body workout.
 Do as many as you can of each exercise for 1 minute, then once you have done all four exercises (4 minutes) rest for 1 minute. Repeat for 4 rounds.
 The idea of HIIT is that you work as hard as you can – push yourself hard (stop if you feel pain instead of just tiring muscles though) but make sure you rest properly between rounds.
 Begin with a warm up by jogging on the spot and doing jumping jacks for 2-3 minutes then stretching out each muscle in turn. A quick search on Youtube will bring up numerous videos if you need a visual demonstration.

 End your workout by stretching out each muscle and holding for 30 seconds. If you can do today’s walk straight after your workout it will help clear lactic acid and you won’t ache as much the next day.

Other Tips

It might surprise you to learn that diet and exercise aren’t the only things that matter. Sleep is when your body builds muscle (you won’t ‘bulk up’ but it does make you look toned which is what most women thinks looks nice), burns fat, and recovers from exercise. Not enough sleep means you’ll be more hungry and have less energy and willpower the next day, so you’re more likely to skip workouts and eat comfort food.
 Stress depletes willpower to and the stress hormone cortisol encourages fat storage around your midsection. Yoga and massage are great stress relievers, so I can’t think of a better excuse to ask your fiancé for a romantic massage!
Finally, remember that the most beautiful look of all is deliriously happy sparkling eyes, laughter and smiles, so once the day arrives, push all thoughts of your size out of your mind and concentrate on having the best and most magical day of your life.

About the Expert
 Pollyanna Hale is the Founder of The Fit Mum Formula, an online resource for women to get in shape from home in their own time regardless of work or family commitments - www.thefitmumformula.comh is