Staying Fit for a Lifetime

When I got engaged, I was in pretty good shape. Several weeks after our engagement I ran a sub-22:00 5k for the first time ever and had high ambitions of cutting a minute off that time in my spring 5k. I was working out consistently, eating well, and really happy with my weight—honestly, for one of the first times in my life.


Personal photo / After the race

I bought my wedding dress and was super happy with the way it fit. It was snug but comfortable and flattering. In a conceited way, I thought “Ha, I have this in the bag! All I have to do is stay my current weight!” Of course, I also had visions of getting more toned and looking incredible on my wedding day.

Then real life happened.

Mr. Lemur moved to Michigan and I lost my exercise partner and eating buddy. At dinners I didn’t have him to keep me accountable for how much I was eating—and he wasn’t there to push me a little harder on runs or push me to run at all. At the same time, class, work, and wedding planning got really stressful. I started eating more and running less. And predictably, I gained a few pounds. I’m not exactly sure how many, but it was enough to make me uncomfortable and less confident about the way I looked.

When I went to my dress fitting, I was so nervous that it wouldn’t zip. Thankfully, my dress is super forgiving. You couldn’t tell, and I actually felt beautiful.


Personal photo / Dress fitting

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to make some changes. I honestly don’t have time to get in an hour at the gym every night—and even if I did, I’m exhausted! But instead, I started walking to work every day. It’s two to three miles round trip, and I feel so much better on days that I walk for 15 minutes instead of hopping in my car for two minutes! I’ve gone back to the basics that I love so much—cereal for breakfast, a salad with some chicken for lunch, a wrap or pasta for dinner, and lots of fruit.

So here’s my advice for those who are soon-to-be engaged or newly engaged:

  1. Don’t put more stress on yourself to lose weight on top of everything else! The engagement period is awesome, but very stressful. If you have any other big life changes on top of getting married coming up—for me it’s moving to a new state, finishing grad school, and starting a new job—the pressure will build up.
  2. Focus on positive life changes. Instead of adopting a crazy diet or exercising two hours a day, add in little exercise, like walking to work or taking a lunch-break walk instead of eating out. Eat more fruits and vegetables and replace stress-reducing chocolate with stress-reducing smoothies. (It actually works. Another benefit: Your skin will look better.)
  3. Realize that this is one day versus the rest of your life. Yes, I want to look great on my wedding day. But I also want to be healthy for the rest of my life. That means that I need to make changes that I’m willing to stick with. For me that means no diet that involves not eating something—umm, I love carbs.

I know this is all super common sense information, but to me this is also personal! Anyone else struggle with working out/eating healthy before their wedding? What advice do you have?


Mrs. Lemur

Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Registry Gifts Received (So Far)
Getting Hitched: Kind Words and Champagne Toasts

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  1. mspalmtree Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:13 pm

    Carbs are my BFF, seriously. I 110% agree with your outlook.

  2. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 5:21 pm

    Love this post! Great advice. You have a good head on your shoulders.

  3. Member
    mkelove 666 posts, Busy bee @ 5:23 pm

    Oh Miss. Lemur I hear ya! I’ve been having huge issues! I gained weight before our engagement but couldn’t get it off. Then we got engaged and we both swore up and down to start eating better and working out. Then winter and the holidays happened. If spring would ever show up I want to start getting out and walking more and I seriously need to start toning. I am happy with my weight and how my dress fits but I still want to lose weight and look even better. It is tough, I agree!

  4. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:42 pm

    This is a really good post and a great perspective. My advice is to try to keep balance in all things leading up to the big day, I ended up losing too much weight making my dress look baggy.

  5. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 7:11 pm

    Great advice Miss L and you know what? You are still going to look absolutely stunning on your wedding day. Those last few pounds will mean nothing in the long run!

  6. Member
    futuremrsdino 73 posts, Worker bee @ 5:52 am

    My friend crash dieted before her wedding last year. While she was slim, she had bad skin and as soon as the wedding was over, she ate as she did before and the weight piled on really quickly and easily.

    I go to the gym frequently and eat healthily. Sure, weight doesn’t come off in a flash but I feel good about myself and know it’s something that won’t change as soon as I become a Mrs.

    She told me I wasn’t doing it right. WHAT?! Apparently I should not be eating bread and pasta, and should be on one of these fad-diet herbal things.

    No thanks.

    It annoys me that so many people think that being healthy is wrong and shocking your body into losing weight quickly is the way to go.

    So go you! You will look fantastic on your wedding day!


  7. Member
    jmarvellous 550 posts, Busy bee @ 6:13 am

    I have managed to lose 20 pounds or so (from healthy but my heaviest ever to toned and slim) in the run up to my wedding — but I was getting on that track a month or two beforehand, going to the gym and tracking my diet because I was uncomfortable with my size and health.

    I don’t think I could’ve made a whole new effort in the five months of our engagement! Good advice, generally!

  8. Member
    klhubb 107 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:40 am

    Great post and outlook!

    What are some suggestions for “Stress-reducing” smoothies? Any recipes that others have to share?

  9. mslemur Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 8:06 am

    @mkelove: Oh yeah, it’s super hard. See the thing is, do you want to look better for your wedding or be healthy for your life? If it’s the second one, I feel like there’s more motivation to make REAL changes! Not just fad diets!

    @FutureMrsDino: It’s just not worth it to me to lose a few pounds before the wedding and then gain it back! Amen to the carbs are friends and food by the way 😉 I definitely think you’re doing it right—keep it up!

    @jmarvellous: Twenty pounds is amazing! I definitely like your outlook of getting on track before you get engaged and committing to it for your health, not just for your dress :)

    @klhubb: Here’s a bunch of green smoothie recipes! If you’re not as into green smoothies, you can try any kind of fruit smoothie. I throw a banana, half a cup of yogurt, a little bit of milk, and some frozen fruit into a blender. Strawberries are delicious—so are blueberries or peaches. Blend and drink. Amazing! You can substitute orange juice or soy milk for the milk. The yogurt and banana give it some creaminess. If you don’t use frozen fruit you can add some ice to make it cold :)

  10. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:59 am

    Great post. I wholly agree with your philosophy. I hate the prevailing thought that once you get engaged, it’s diet time. An upcoming wedding is good motivation to do something you may already want to do anyway, but I think women put too much pressure on themselves to look “perfect” (whatever that means).

    And congrats on the sub-22:00 5K! I dream of being so speedy someday.

  11. otter Member
    otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:03 pm

    I said from the very beginning that I wouldn’t be dieting at all and I haven’t. Now that the end is near, I wish I had worked on my arms a little more but I’m honestly just trying to remember that people will not notice my arms like I do. Nobody else will care. So why am I worried about it? I’m going to focus on a handsome groom and gorgeous dress instead 😉

  12. mslemur Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 2:12 pm

    @Mrs. Treasure: Totally agree. If you want to look good and feel good (honestly for me feeling confident with myself is the most important thing), then commit to eating well and exercising for a lifetime. And I got faster with little steps! I ran a 28:00 5K in November 2011 and by one year later I had dropped six minutes :)

    @Miss Otter: I’m pretty sure arms are something only the bride cares about. I don’t look at other brides and go wow, her arms are flabby hahaha. Only myself in the mirror! You’ll look amazing in your dress!

  13. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 821 posts, Busy bee @ 5:18 pm

    Great advice and tips!

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