Losing It

Apparently, nothing gets a gal dieting like a wedding-dress fitting. More than 70 percent of brides-to-be have weight anxiety, according to a 2007 study at Cornell University. Many put off their diets until the final fitting, and a few even resort to diet pills, starvation, and laxatives. Chalk it up to wedding-induced insanity, but really, who wants to spend the next few decades wishing for their Shrinky Dink figure back?

Luckily, Boston has no shortage of experts willing to help you slim down safely and sensibly. One thing they all agree on? Give yourself time. After all, that’s what year-long engagements are for.

Set a timeline. Allow at least three months to attain your goal, with a target of losing 8 to 10 pounds per month max, says Peter Lavelle, cofounder of Boston’s Ultimate Bootcamp program. “Brides who lose too much weight too quickly usually don’t look attractive—or feel very good—afterwards,” he says.

Don’t use your gown as motivation.
Resist buying a bridal gown that’s three sizes too small. “If you haven’t been that dress size in the last five years, it’s unrealistic,” says Jan Hangen, founder of Boston-based Bride Physique, a weight management program for brides. It’s disappointing—and expensive—to fix a gown if you don’t hit your target.

Give yourself breaks. Preparing for a wedding and navigating a major life change can make dropping pounds even more stressful, notes Hangen. Make sure you allow time for indulging and unwinding; a ruthless gym schedule and a rice cake diet would drive anyone batty.

Rebound right. If you cave into your cravings, don’t write off the whole day, Hangen advises. “You may be tempted to binge, but that’s counterproductive.” Instead, think of each meal as a fresh start. And build treats into your weekly plan. “That way, you can look forward to them, instead of indulging haphazardly,” Hangen says.

Do double-duty workouts.
To burn fat, aim for at least 30 to 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, three to four times a week, advises Lavelle. Two or three times a week, you can mix in some weight training or sculpting exercises to help tone muscle.

Recognize overkill.
“Listen to your body,” Lavelle says. “Being sleepy at your desk, looking gaunt, lack of productivity, dramatic physical changes such as weak hair or nails…these signs indicate you’ve lost too much, too quickly,” he says. Ease up on the workouts, eat more balanced meals, and get some rest. You deserve it.