Are you gearing up for a special event and want to look and feel your best? Whether you’re getting married, are the maid of honor or mother of the bride, whatever your role, it’s natural to want to shape up: that means lose the fat and tone up (because muscles are hot on women too).
I recommend giving yourself four months to do the work. In four weeks, you’ll feel a difference in your clothes and energy levels; in eight weeks the scale should drop about 10 pounds; in 12 weeks others will start to notice; and within 16 weeks, you can expect to have lost 20–25 pounds.
With dedication and the right approach, you can achieve remarkable results in that time frame. In this article, I’ll provide you with three nutritional tips, three exercise tips, and three things to avoid on your journey to losing weight and toning your muscles for that big event. Let’s get started!
Balanced Diet: Focus on a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. This ensures you’re getting necessary nutrients essential for energy and muscle recovery. Also, your hair and skin will glow from proper nutrition.
Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes. Use smaller plates and listen to your body’s hunger cues. Overeating even “healthful” foods like hummus or avocados can hinder your progress.
Count Your Calories: Download a free app like “My Fitness Pal” and log everything you eat. I recommend 1,600–1,800 for women. Never, ever go below 1,500 a day.
Strength Training: Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine at least three times a week. Lifting free weights or your own body weight, or using resistance bands helps build lean muscle, which boosts your metabolism and enhances your overall tone.
Cardiovascular Exercise: Include cardio workouts like running, cycling, or swimming, for at least 150 minutes per week. Cardio burns calories and improves heart health, helping you shed unwanted pounds. And cardio exercises give you endorphins. In the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): This is my favorite option because it includes the above two exercises into one. HIIT workouts are efficient for fat loss and muscle toning. They involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by strength training. Incorporate HIIT sessions 3–4 times per week for maximum results.
The best part about this nutrition and exercise strategy is that it’s a slow weight loss plan, about two pounds a week. You will get your metabolism rolling and these are long-term results that you can sustain. It is what our bodies were made to do: move daily and eat just under or at 2,000 calories.
Things to Avoid:
Crash Diets: Avoid severe calorie restrictions. They can be detrimental to your health, slow down your metabolism, and lead to severe muscle loss. Never go below 1,500 calories a day, that’s the golden rule of a healthy metabolism.
Excessive Diets: High protein, low carb intake diets like Keto can result in weight loss at the beginning of the diet because carbohydrate stores are depleted. But it strains the kidneys, more muscle than fat is lost and causes my favorite side effect of keto: bad breath. Keto is not sustainable for long term. Instead, teach your body to lose weight while eating a portion size of tortilla chips and cheese dip (simply count the calories).
Skipping Meals: Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals earlier in the day can slow your metabolism and lead to overeating later in the day because you’re starving. Aim for regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks. I try to eat a bigger lunch each day and then I can eat a normal-sized dinner.
With the right combination of nutrition, exercise, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can lose weight and tone your muscles in preparation for your big event in just four months. Stay committed, stay consistent, and remember that gradual progress is sustainable progress. You’ve got this. Go out there and shine on your special day!