February 15, 2008

Wedding Weight: Plan of attack

Posted in Weight and Exercise at 1:34 pm by Jess

Emahlee left a comment on my last post about wedding weight, and I would like to respond. Her comment was that she, like me, loves the bad stuff, but unlike me she hates the gym. So what’s a girl to do?

The very best thing, in my opinion is to not make it harder than it should be. People have a hard time losing weight when they go about it in a way that goes against their natural personality, and their needs. So you have to Have a Strategy Based on Your Personality (or, How You Work) and Your Needs.

So, let’s talk about your needs. 

The very first question I have about brides-to-be who are unsuccessful with losing weight, who have questions on how, etc, is Do you need to lose weight?   While we are researching and exploring the topic of weddings in general we are bombarded with the subject of losing weight for the dress. To avoid a lot of negative insecurity, I would strongly suggest you ask yourself if you are attempting to lose weight because you need to in general, because you want to for this special day only, or because every other bride does so shouldn’t you be trying to?

If you are in fact a very nice weight for your height, go buy a dress that fits and don’t change anything.

If you are slightly overweight, and indulge in the “bad stuff” that you like in moderation, but you are comfortable and happy with the way you look, then don’t allow the industry or peer pressure to trap you into worrying about losing.  Sure you may still want to get those five or ten pounds off in certain areas of your body, and you should certainly try, just make sure you retain that confidence and contentment.

If you are overweight and need to lose anyway and you are using the wedding as motivation, you need to take a step back. Put it in perspective. It’s fine to use this day as the motivation, but if you lose sight of the fact that you need to lose weight for your life, health and self-confidence above and beyond this day, you are going to hit a wall after the wedding. Even if you do lose, you might find it hard to keep the weight off afterwards, because you missed this long-term focus.

Okay so what about your personality. How do you best get things done?

So you love ice cream, hot dogs and salty mixed nuts. And you hate the gym. And you want to lose weight. Setting aside the gym, you need to figure out what kind of plan is going to work for you. Here is a trick. Think about when you were in school and you knew that there would be a hard final at the end of the semester. Did you A) study a little bit every week, learning slowly overtime in small portions, or did you B) wait until the last moment and cram?

If you answered A, then that is how you are going to be best at losing weight. Take it slow, make your portions smaller and smaller but in increments and do it over a long period of time. Have less dessert every week. Working on your diet in small amounts everyday doesn’t bother you because you are used to operating this way. So, if you answered B, you are going to feel bored, impatient and like you are not seeing results fast enough probably.  

If you answered B, you shouldn’t try to start losing until closer to the date. Then, when you feel that the pressure is mounting, that inner switch will flick on and you will receive the motivation. This isn’t the healthiest option! Option A is definitely healthier and will have long-term results, whereas this won’t. But let me be honest, I can’t do it myself. I’m totally a B person: I’m All or Nothing.  So if I really just want to lose for this specific day, and I have a thousand other things to think about and I KNOW that this is how I operate in life, then the best way for me to make it happen is to wait until the pressure is on!

Let’ s take Emahlee’s case. For her the constant shifting and postponing of the date makes it really hard for her to lose. So that makes me think that she has “losing for the wedding” as a goal, which is fine, but then it means that if she is trying to give herself a set amount of time – a due date – and that date keeps changing, she gets confused. Not only does she get confused, but she probably says to herself sometimes, “Well, the date got pushed back a month, so I’ll really start thinking about it in a month. But now I can have that Ben and Jerry’s!” Does she need to lose weight? I have no idea. If the answer is yes, however, then really her goal should not just be for the wedding. That date more or less, shouldn’t matter. She’s got to start now.

So that’s sort of the crappy side about it. If you need to lose, then you have to start now – like quitting smoking – and not tell yourself, “I’ll quit after this pack.” That never works.

However,  what if she just wants to get a few tiny pounds off, or she just doesn’t care about the long-term results (Because some of us don’t)?  Obviously she works better with a set date, and that date’s impending arrival is what motivates her. Then maybe she should let it go until the date is set.Why feel bad about yourself in the meantime?

So that is my much-longer-than-intended response.  And one last thing – you don’t have to go to a gym, ya know. You can hike, bike, rollerblade, belly dance, swing dance, gymnastics, horseback riding, canoing, swimming you name it.  Try Out Everything until you find something you love to do that doesn’t feel like a chore.

If you have a gym membership, but aren’t loving it, try asking a personal trainer to set you a plan. Just a one time meeting where he or she can give you the right exercises. It’s their job to make it productive for you! It may still suck at first, but after about a month you’ll have the plan as a habit, and you’ll get into a groove. Loving the gym takes a moment.

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February 13, 2008

Wedding Weight

Posted in Weight and Exercise at 11:46 am by Jess

 I thought that when Jonathan proposed to me a magical door would open. I would step through that door, and as if some invisible curtain or cape descended down upon my shoulders while I passed the threshhold, I would emerge on the other side in the land of Easy Weight Loss.  Then Jon proposed.  Nothing happened. I kept eating like I always had, splurging like I wanted, and in general, feeling no different. I went home at Christmas and went dress shopping. I chose a dress which was tight enough to make breathing uncomfortable. “You’ll lose five pounds and it will fit like a gem,” said my mother, said the seamstress, said everyone. Umm, but I have yet to lose that weight. (I did not choose that dress in order to make me lose weight – I have heard enough horror stories about that and strongly urge you to choose one that fits when you choose it)

I know I’ll probably eventually lose the weight out of stress, the sooner the date grows near. But in the meantime, I’m mad! I have only heard stories of dramatic weight loss: Ten, Twenty, Forty pounds! It was clear to me from these stories that being engaged did something, something unexplainable, and something magically, fantastically certain.

The real problem? I’m still not eating that different. (But ahem, where is the magic cape that makes me want to eat less?)  When I was standing in the too-tight dress I thought to myself, “What do I love more: Ice Cream or this Dress?” The answer was obviously the dress, right that second. However, if my mom had been standing behind me with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Caramel Sutra, I might not have bought the dress. I might have been honest.

I am a little pissed that I the magic cape missed its target. It’s obviously drifting around Geneva, or has landed on some already-blessed-by-her-European-ancestry toothpick on Rue de Rive who does not deserve it! Yet, I have a trick up my sleeve. I have a gym pass. So what I cannot do with my diet, I am making up for at the gym. I have been going five times a week, an hour a day. I’m not psycho about it. I take the day of when I feel too tired. Somedays I simply walk to Geneva and take the bus home. But, after downing a pint of Not-Quite-Sutraesque (but orgasmic to me in its very existence as being iced cream) Caramel Movenpick, I realized I needed to amp up my workout if I wasn’t going to slim down my portions very easily.

I used to do a steady walk for 60 minutes and barely break a sweat. Running was out of the question: I have hip and knee problems and cannot last ten minutes anymore. The work out wasn’t even satisfying. Then I stumbled upon an article about intervals. And truly, it’s where it’s at. Now I sweat. Sometimes handfuls, sometimes buckets, but I always sweat. ialways feel sore, but invigorated, accomplished. I’m oh-so-oh-so-slowly losing weight. And I’m going to keep eating ice cream. I love it more than the dress.
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 The other day, NearlyWed wrote this pertinent post questioning the stress of wedding weight loss. My favorite line was ” as soon as I introduced “some (empahsis on “some”) wholegrain breads” in Phase 2, I was, ahem, toast. Bring on the baguettes.” because I am an all-or-nothing gal myself.
Personally I think that you should approach the pre-wedding months with acceptance of yourself and with a balance. The man who is marrying you is marrying you how ever you look now, the day he proposed, and all the days/months/years before that. But we are not working out for his benefit are we? Most of us are thinking about the form-fitting gown, the photographs, and the hundreds of eyes bearing down on us for an entire day. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.
The event is great motivation, yes. If you’ve got thirty pounds to work off, then this is a great jump start. However, some brides become obsessive about losing weight in this period, and lose twenty pounds when they really shouldn’t lose more than 5. This gets into a troubled area of Gym-Obsession. That is not a healthy habit, and you might end up weak and tired on your wedding day to boot!

Some things to consider when you are starting your Pre-Wedding Excercise Routine
~ Target Areas
~Increasing the weights, sets, tempo and frequency gradually over time
~ Be patient. First you might gain weight, because your body is adjusting.

~ Balanced Meals, more protein and carbohydrates, less sugar, as you being to up the tempo or frequency of your workouts. Above all, Eat Enough. you may not be a Bridezilla, but you might find yourself turning into one if you haven’t eaten in six hours and you were at the gym sweating hard for an hour of that.
~Allow yourself to splurge, in moderation.
With luck, these habits will remain after the wedding, as life-long habits, because they are good ones, balanced and healthy ones.