Wedding Weight Loss: What is the Best Plan?

Lose those extra pounds before the big day


Wedding diets are one of the biggest scams around. Sure, there is plenty of good advice to be heard. However, when the stress of fitting into your dream dress builds, all good reason and sense fly out the window. That is when the desperate diet schemes rear their ugly heads and you are willing to try anything. Well, wedding or not, I have tried most of the major diets over the years. I have had varying degrees of success with different diets. Here is an overview of each and the benefits and pitfalls associated. Depending on the amount of time you have, choosing the right wedding diet for you is a matter of understanding yourself and how much control you need to maintain over your choices.

Slim Fast. The Slim Fast diet consists primarily of shakes as meals, along with some snack bars and meal bars. The idea is to replace two of your meals with a shake and have a balanced healthy dinner. The snack bars and some fruit fill in the blanks. I had great results with Slim Fast before my own wedding. I had already gone to a nutritionist and had been making a little bit of progress, but time was getting tight. With sheer determination, I started the Slim Fast diet, drinking my two shakes and a light dinner. I managed to drop 10 pounds in less than two months, had my dress taken in at the last two fittings, and looked fantastic on my wedding day. I promptly put those 10 pounds back on in the course of the next year, or less. Face it. Drinking something does not replace real food. A shake, no matter how balanced it is in protein or other nutrients, just doesn't have the 'crunch factor' or satisfaction of eating something solid.

Eat what you crave. I don't remember what the specific name of this diet was, but it was so ridiculous that I have to mention it. It was probably from a tabloid or other dubious source of diet wisdom. The basic rule was to eat as much as you want of the food you crave most. The idea was that you would eventually get sick of that food, or literally sick, and not crave it any more. Ridiculous, right? Tempting, right? Well, I ate quite a few home-baked chocolate chip cookies, my personal weak spot along with chocolate, felt quite sick to my stomach, and gained two pounds.  Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend this diet to anyone.

Work out to eat. This isn't as much a diet as a philosophy. I had always exercised, luckily, but I gradually increased the length of my workouts and the intensity. The hope was that I would be able to counter my indulgences with extra exercise. The result was that I got much fitter, but only went down and up a little in weight. Reality is that exercise is an essential component of being healthy, but it won't compensate for overeating. It is just too difficult to burn the number excess calories needed to lose weight without controlling food intake. Even marathon runners need to be conscious of the amount of food they consume.

The Atkins Diet. Most of the overweight world knows about Atkins. The rules here are to cut out almost all carbohydrates, putting your body in a state calle kinetosis (?), in which it has to burn fat to survive. You supposedly stop craving carbohydrates if you can get through the first few days. There are also tons of Atkins-friendly processed foods available that use great quantities of sugar-free substitutes to give you the illusion of having something sweet. Sadly, or not, I lasted barely three days on Atkins. I had a constant terrible headache and the foods that had all the sugar-free substitutes upset my stomach so much that I was constantly in the bathroom. Any diet that has this type of effect on your body cannot be good for you. There went Atkins out the window.

The South Beach Diet. Similar to Atkins in that you must reduct your carbohydrate intake, the South Beach Diet is a little gentler on the body. You start with a more severe reduction of carbohydrates and gradually add the good ones back in as you get closer to your weight loss goal. Whereas the Atkins diet allowed you to eat all kinds of 'bad' protein, such as bacon and other fatty meats, South Beach steers you towards lower fat, higher fiber foods. Personally, I still had a lot of trouble with this diet. I lost weight initially, but found it too restrictive. I don't deal well with people telling me I can't eat a specific food. It just makes me crave it more. However, I know people who have been highly successful on the South Beach Diet and still follow its tenets to this day.

Jenny Craig. The Jenny Craig Diet involves buying all your food from a Jenny Craig center and sticking with just that food for the first few months until they gradually help you plan normal meals. There is also some options for home delivery. You meet with a counselor and weigh in once a week to track your progress and get advice. It's a little pricey to buy all your food, but I found most of the food to be pretty tasty, with a few exceptions. Some of the food was basic enough that I would buy it from a supermarket and measure it out (like cereal). The biggest benefit of Jenny Craig is that you don't have to think about what you are going to eat. Plan the menu for the week, buy it, add some salad and fruit, and just stick with the menu. Naturally, it's never as easy as it sounds and you start getting bored with the food fairly quickly. Still, I managed to lose a few pounds before I got too bored and had to add my own meals. I just don't like having someone tell me what I can and can't eat.

Weight Watchers - Points System. The Weight Watchers Points program was a revolution in dieting since it allowed people to eat whatever foods they wanted, so long as they adhered to their given number of points in a day. The new points system is the best ever. Each food has a point value associated with it, and you can calculate the points of any food based on the protein, carbohydrates, fat grams, and fiber in each. The online tools make it easy to record and plan meals, as well as quickly look up or calculate points. Best of all, you get extra points to either use over the course of the week, splurge with on a special meal, or just not use at all in order to lose weight faster. You also can get extra points for exercise. That flexibility, combined with the traditional peer support meetings and weigh-ins, has created the most succesfull diet I have ever done. I lost 20 pounds and have kept it off for several years. The most successful people continue to weigh in monthly and attend meetings. Without the meetings, I don't think I would have stayed with the plan. 

I have also tried a few other little fad diets along the way that just are not worth mentioning. Things like juice fasts are a complete waste of time. I need real food in my body or I rebound afterwards by eating too much. Counting calories is extremely difficult as well. As soon as you start estimating how many calories are in this, that, and the other, you are in trouble. Most people underestimate what they eat and overestimate how active they are.

Be honest with yourself before you start a wedding diet.  Do you really need to lose weight? Do you need a strict plan or do you need to control it yourself? What has worked for you in the past? Whatever you may tell yourself, if something did not work for you before, it is not going to help you lose weight now. Most of all, picture yourself in your beautiful wedding dress and try to relax and take it one pound at a time. Stressing about your weight will only make your weight loss slower. Now, go get yourself a pedicure and do some yoga. You will feel a whole lot better.
The Knot Wedding Candy Store!Wedding websites from eWedding.comShop Wedding Accessories at American Bridal

Shop By Categories