This week, I officially reached my goal weight for my wedding, so today I thought I would share my own personal "Bridal Diet & Exercise Program," and what helped me! I am, by no means, an expert in weight loss, but I have worked out for a long time now. Ever since I gained my Freshman 15 (give or take), I have had a pretty consistent fitness routine, aiming to hit the gym at least 4 times per week. I danced in grade school, so I think it was a little bit easier for me to just switch over to a gym routine once I hit college. But even then, my weight slowly creeped up on me because I wasn't monitoring my diet. I always worked out, but it wasn't until November of 2009, after Dale and I decided to have our wedding in Mexico, that I really started to take my diet seriously. The thought of wearing my wedding dress, and being in a bikini every day have been huge motivating factors!
I'm constantly trying to find new things to do to keep active so I don't get too bored. That, and doing the same exercises every day will become less and less effective over time, as your body grows accustomed to them. Right now, my workout regimen consists of three parts: 1. P90X, 2. Pilates and 3. Spinning. I'm not going to lie, it takes a good chunk out of my day (I work out about 4-5 times a week, usually on weekdays), and I work hard. I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to fitness; I don't think that yoga or pilates alone is going to make you lose weight, and I think spending thirty minutes on the elliptical while chatting on your cell phone is a complete waste of time. I'm never very excited to work out, but I figure if I'm going to give up an hour of my day, I might as well do it RIGHT!
If you want to kick some a** : P90X
Most people who have heard of P90X think that it's for guys "pumping iron" and looking to build muscle. Honestly, it's a pretty tough workout, and definitely not for the faint of heart, but it really works - even for chicks. I started the DVD fitness program about 8 or 9 months ago, completing a different workout on DVD each day, according to the P90X "Lean" routine schedule. Typically, you alternate between a cardio workout and a session of resistance training each day. Cardio routines include Kempo, which is a 50 minute round of kickboxing that does some amazing things for the arms and butt, and Plyometrics, or what I call "Pure Hell," is a lot of jumping around for almost an hour. Core Synergistics is supposed to focus on the trunk (abs, legs and butt), but I think it's a great full body routine with lots of lunges and push-ups, and Cardio is a fun a mix of all of the other cardio routines. There is also a two hour Yoga routine (1 hour is challenging poses; 1 hour is stretching and abs), as well as resistance training routines that focus on specific body parts (Back and Biceps, Shoulders and Arms, Legs and Back, Ab Ripper, Chest and Back, etc.).
The biggest lesson that I have learned this past year is that if you want to lose weight, you have to eat less. You can work yourself out to the bone, but you'll never be able to burn enough calories to lose weight if you aren't on a diet. This isn't to say that working out doesn't do anything to help you lose weight, it just means that you can't just work out, and you can't just diet, and expect to see results.
With that said, here are some other "tricks" that have helped me along the way:
I was so surprised at how much of a difference cutting out (at least some) alcohol can make. I used to come home from work every day and have to have at least one glass of wine in order to relax. Now, I'm happy to say that my craving for wine every night has gradually diminished to once, maybe twice a week, at the most. And it's not stress-induced! Cutting back on wine seems to have been the little nudge that I needed to actually hit my goal weight. Suddenly, it's significantly easier to lose, and now, maintain my weight.
Eat off of a smaller plate. I know it sounds like a silly mind game, but it helps! When I make dinner at home, I give my fiance his food on a regular sized plate, and mine on a smaller one. I'm eating significantly less than he is, but my plate is just as full!
When you're done, get rid of it! When you finish eating at a restaurant, put your napkin over your plate so you can't see the food anymore and move it so it's no longer in front of you. It removes the temptation to keep picking at your meal once you're full.
Not really a trick, but...Don't be lazy. It's so easy to keep going back to the same workout machine. Really try to push yourself – if you can carry on a conversation while you're working out, you're not doing as much as you could be. If you have trouble keeping up an intense workout for more than ten minutes, try doing intervals, which build endurance and efficiently burn calories by combining short bursts of high intensity exercise, with slow, recovery phases, repeated during one workout session.
I used to be really bad about taking vitamins every day, until I got my vitamin gummy bears! They're super easy to eat on your way out the door, and they actually taste good!
When I first started working out, I focused mostly on cardio. After all, you can do a million and one crunches each day, but no one is going to see those abs if there's a layer of fat covering them! The more weight I lost, the more I could actually see my muscles, so I started focusing more on resistance training toward the end of my "journey".
Get a reusable water bottle that can fit in your purse, and try to keep it with you at all times. I'm not a big water person, so if I have the choice, I usually pick the Diet Coke over the bottled water. However, if the water is sitting right next to me all day, I'll drink it!