We get it -- planning a wedding is practically a full-time job -- and adding in a full-time fitness routine isn't always feasible. Luckily, there are some small adjustments you can make to your day that can yield serious results.
By Justine Lorelle Blanchard for WeddingChannel.com
1. Avoid Last-Minute Meals
Instead of relying on high-calorie vending-machine or drive-through options to get you through the day, plan ahead and try to prepare as much of your own food as possible. "Plan your menu for the week, and go to the grocery store," suggests Nancy Eisenman, a certified personal trainer and owner of ForeverFit Personal Training for Women. "You will not only save money by preparing your own food, but you will save a lot of unnecessary calories."
2. Work Out Smarter
Ramona Braganza, a celebrity fitness trainer who can take credit for Jessica Alba's and Halle Berry's slamming bodies, recommends allotting at least four weeks to achieve your goal. "In four weeks, you can reasonably drop 10 pounds by monitoring the exercise you do and the foods you take in," she says. To accomplish this, Braganza recommends 30 minutes of moderate cardio six days a week, followed with compound exercises (or moves that work out multiple muscles at once), such as lunges and squats with shoulder presses.
3. Put a Limit on the Cocktails
If you drink, keep alcohol to a minimum -- Eisenman says no more than one drink a day. "Limit your calories by forgoing the 'fruity' drinks like margaritas and daiquiris (approximately 170 calories each)," she advises. Light beer, white zinfandel, chardonnay, Bloody Marys, manhattans and mojitos are better options. (Four ounces of any of those will run you only about 80 to 100 calories.)
And if you want to be really good, skip alcohol altogether. Sip on sparkling water spiked with a splash of fruit juice or unsweetened tea for refreshment without sacrificing flavor. You should also stay away from all regular soda and juice -- and keep diet drinks to a minimum.
4. Take Walks
Even if you don't have time for the gym, give yourself excuses to walk more. Park far away from the doors to the mall, and take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. "Head out the door walking -- with the help of a pedometer," Braganza says. "My favorite is the Omron HJ-203 series, which not only tracks your steps, but also your calories and fat burned." You'll walk off 500 calories with every 10,000 steps earned, the average amount recommended to walk in a day.
5. Never Skip Breakfast
Studies show that people who skip breakfast are much more likely to be overweight than those who eat the most important meal of the day. "Maybe you have heard this popular saying: Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess and dinner like a pauper," Eisenman says. "With work and busy schedules, it's easy to skip eating during the day only to overindulge in the evening when you're the least active. Your metabolism doesn't get going until you eat, so skipping breakfast can cause you to put on weight."
6. Don't Starve Yourself
In the same vein, not eating will only cause your body to switch to starvation mode, meaning it will hold onto any calories you do take in. To make sure you get enough food, Braganza recommends a 3-2-1 rule: three meals, two snacks and a minimum of one liter of water per day. Of course, you still need to be selective about what you eat. Stick to diet-friendly foods like lean turkey and tuna sandwiches for lunch and snacks that are less than 180 calories.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Aim for at least an average of seven and a half hours every night. "Hormones regulate our metabolism and our eating patterns, and studies have shown that lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight," Braganza says. Bonus: The extra pillow time will also help you regulate stress and improve the appearance of your skin.
8. Stay Active Throughout the Day
"Every two hours or so, sneak away from your desk at work and walk or run up and down a couple of flights of stairs two to three times," Eisenman says. "Do this throughout the day, and you will be amazed at how many extra calories you can burn." In fact, walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) can burn approximately 224 calories per hour.
9. Wise Up at Restaurants
Restaurant serving sizes are typically oversized. Instead of cleaning your plate, make a pact to only eat half and save the rest for lunch (you can even have half of it boxed up even before it gets to the table). Also, don't be afraid to ask for special preparation, such as baking over frying or dressing and sauces on the side. You're paying for it -- you should get what you want.
10. Be Label-Conscious
Learn to read food labels. Note the number of calories per serving, serving size, and grams of saturated fat, sodium and sugar (this includes high-fructose corn syrup). And be choosy about frozen foods -- many varieties contain loads of sodium, which can cause you to retain water and bloat.
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