Starting a wedding diet plan can feel intimidating.
And if you’re not careful it can overshadow all the bliss you should be feeling on the lead-up to your big day.
I mean, how incredible is it?
You’ve met your soulmate and you’re going to spend the rest of your life with them, so it’s a shame to let a wedding diet stress you out.
In this article I’m going to outline a sample 6-month wedding diet and workout plan, step-by-step, to get you looking and feeling incredible for your wedding day.
Evaluate Where You’re At Right Now
The first thing you should do is take stock of where you’re at right now as it gives you clarity on which areas need more attention than others.
Let’s cover exactly what needs addressing.
Okay, this isn’t everyone’s favorite part, but you can’t avoid the scale forever if you’re wanting to make changes.
So, first things first, hop on the scale and see what number stares back at you.
Do this in the morning after waking and using the bathroom to get a more accurate reading.
Don’t freak out if you’re not liking what you’re seeing!
Bodyweight isn’t the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to measuring true fat loss.
What kind of shape are you in?
Be honest with yourself, but at the same time, don’t be too critical.
Your shape is a more accurate representation of where you’re at right now as opposed to how much you weigh.
Have a proper look at yourself.
Take a few pictures. A couple from the front, side, and back.
In your opinion, how many pounds realistically do you believe you should lose to look and feel amazing in your wedding dress?
I’ll share something with you that an old mentor of mine once told me.
“Usually, we think we’ve got less fat to lose than we actually have.
Most of us don’t understand how much extra fat we’re carrying.
So when someone says “Oh, I’ve got around 10lbs to lose”, I would always say double that number“.
Harsh, but true. And I’ve found that with clients I’ve coached.
That conversation will always stick with me.
3. Fitness levels
What is your current level of fitness?
Can you walk far with ease? Can you run a few miles? Do you work out regularly?
Again, be honest with yourself.
If you do very little exercise now it’s not wise jumping straight in at the deep end and working out five times a week, for example.
Start slow and build up towards your fitness goals.
I’ve found that if people go from doing no exercise to going flat out every week, the motivation fades before long and they quit.
Set Realistic Expectations
One of the main reasons why so many people do not succeed on their weight loss journey is because they set unrealistic expectations.
6 months is a long time to diet, and it can be very easy to get lost in the thought of how much work you have to put in to reach your goal weight.
And this can bum you out.
Any weight loss diet – especially a wedding diet – should be as stress-free as possible. So the last thing you want to do is to put yourself under too much pressure.
Where do you want to be?
Do you want to lose 10, 20, or 30 plus pounds to feel satisfied?
Is this realistic for you?
Forget about your friend Carrie who lost 25lbs and looked amazing at her wedding.
You might not have the same shape genetically as her so it’s silly to compare yourself.
What is going to work for you and your life?
Do you have enough time?
We know the wedding day is in 6 months, but does this give you enough time to reach your weight loss goal?
Think about it.
If you’ve got 10lbs to lose then there’s a safe bet you can do this quite comfortably.
Whereas if you’ve got over 40lbs to lose – although still very achievable – things are going to get slightly less comfortable.
You may have to restrict yourself more than you’d like, which doesn’t sit well with you.
Perhaps you’re someone who loves their food (I feel you!) and you’re just not willing to clean your diet up to the level you need to in order to lose over 40lbs in 6 months.
So is 6 months enough time if you did things your way?
Or, on the flip side, you’ve come to the realization that in order to achieve your goal you’re going to have to really crank things up and knuckle down.
And you’re willing to significantly sacrifice some of your current lifestyle and eating habits to get there.
Halfway to your dream body
This is an approach I have used with clients in the past.
Instead of aiming to achieve your dream body in 6 months, aim for halfway to your dream body instead.
“What?? Why on earth would I do that?!” I hear you cry.
Well, it’s quite simple.
Your dream body just might not be achievable in 6 months.
In fact, here’s the thing: most people’s dream body isn’t achievable period.
And I know that may suck to hear, but it’s true.
I couldn’t look like The Rock if I tried for 20 years.
Will halfway to your dream body be a better alternative if the mountain is too high to climb?
I’d say so.
Not only will you look fantastic, but your stress levels will also reduce significantly if you follow this approach.
And some people decide to hire a personal trainer to discuss this in more detail, so this is always an option for you.
Don’t take the scale too seriously
I’ll keep this brief.
Fat loss progress is not defined by what the scale shows.
So my advice would be to relax when you’re weighing yourself.
And don’t panic when the scale goes up and down – this is normal.
Over time, fat loss is happening underneath the up and down readings you’re experiencing.
Glycogen, increased sodium from foods, gut content, stress, etc are all factors as to why the scale jumps quickly.
You haven’t put 2lb of fat on overnight, honestly.
Why Not to Crash Diet
We all know someone who has lost a large amount of weight quickly.
You know the person.
You only saw them two months ago and now they’re 30lbs down looking like a shadow of their former self.
Perhaps you’re someone reading this who is historically guilty of crash dieting.
Here’s the reality about crash diets:
The faster you lose weight, the faster it goes back on.
And there’s probably some of you nodding your head going “Ahhhhhh, yes….”.
Slow, gradual loss is the best way (and healthiest way) to lose fat.
The reason why people crash diet is because they lack patience.
They want to reach their goal NOW.
But think about it…
It didn’t take you 8 weeks to get to where you are now, so why do you think it should come off in the same timeframe?
When you learn to see dieting as a lifestyle change and not a chore, it changes everything.
It becomes way more enjoyable and fun.
Here are a few potential downsides to crash dieting that I’m sure you don’t want:
- Muscle loss (absolute given)
- Damaged hair and skin
- Extreme fatigue
- Organ damage
Before I get into the 6-month wedding diet and workout plan, I want to make it very clear that this is a sample plan, and is not designed to work for everyone.
I actually helped an old friend of mine get in shape for her wedding and this plan is very similar to how things panned out for her.
She is a tall lady (5ft 11) and could get away with eating relatively high calories to start with, so this plan wouldn’t work for someone who is 5ft 1 and 115lbs, for example.
6 Months Out Wedding Diet
A few pointers about the diet:
- Meals were eaten in order of 1-4
- Workouts can be between any meal.
- Wait 60-90 minutes before exercise after a meal
- Treat of 150 calories per day is optional.
- One weekly cheat meal of choice. Don’t go crazy.
Two things may alarm you about the pointers:
1. The optional daily treat, and:
2. The weekly cheat meal.
The optional treat is 150 calories only, which isn’t going to have a negative impact on you.
But, it’s optional.
I wasn’t requesting that she absolutely had it if she didn’t want to.
I have a great relationship with her and trust her enough to know she is rational and in control, so can stop at 150 calories.
Now, for some people, it takes a certain amount of willpower to stop at 150 calories-worth of your favorite food.
It also takes willpower to not go mental on your cheat meal and eat everything in sight.
As for the weekly cheat meal – this is fine too.
If you’re in a big enough calorie deficit you can get away with having a meal off the plan once a week and still make progress.
I’m talking a burger and fries here. Not a 17-inch pizza to yourself.
You’ve got to be sensible.
If you’re not careful it can open the floodgates and a binge can start.
But this approach can be a saving grace for a lot of people.
They look forward to having a little taster of their favorite food every day, and also one meal per week off the plan completely.
That way the diet doesn’t seem so restrictive.
And the key thing is to not restrict yourself too much because that is when you can struggle and quit.
But, as you can see from the diet, it’s packed with nutritious, whole foods.
It’s not boring or bland, and it’s definitely not a low amount of food for a female with six months to go.
Fortunately, my friend doesn’t do “fancy” foods.
She wanted basic, easy-to-cook nutritious meals because she is short on time.
She didn’t want to be spending hours upon hours in the kitchen prepping meals.
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6 Months Out Wedding Workout
The focus should be to introduce some form of strength training from here on out.
If you want to look toned then you’re going to need some muscle – and that can take time to build – so we need plenty of time to do this.
Now, we’re not on a mission to get you huge and shredded here.
We want to add a nice little bit of muscle mass so that once the body fat is low enough, you’ll be able to show off your best shape ever.
I started my friend off with three full-body workouts a week.
There was no cardio at this point.
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5 Months Out Wedding Diet & Workout
Things were tracking very well so there was no need to change anything with the diet and workouts.
We did, however, introduce cardio at three sessions per week for 30 minutes. Any form of cardio is fine.
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4 Months Out Wedding Diet
Weight loss had slowed the past couple of weeks, and body measurements had stalled, so we removed 150 calories to keep things moving.
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4 Months Out Wedding Workout
It was time to crank things up a notch now.
We added in a fourth workout day and increased cardio to 40 minutes each session to burn a few more calories.
Cardio still remained at three sessions per week.
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3 Months Out Wedding Diet & Workout
Body fat was coming down nicely and everything was on point, so there was no reason to change anything with the diet.
We did add an extra cardio session in, so it’s now four, 40-minute sessions per week.
2 Months Out Wedding Diet
The weight loss slowed right down again so we implemented a couple of changes to keep things ticking along.
We removed the optional daily treat completely from the diet, and we also took away 150 calories from the diet plan.
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2 Months Out Wedding Workout
The only change here was cardio was increased to 45-minute sessions, four times per week.
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1 Month Out Wedding Diet & Workout Plan
Diet remained the same, but we increased cardio to five sessions per week, still at 45-minutes per session.
2 Weeks Out Wedding Diet & Workout Plan
We lowered calories by 100 here.
Basically, we removed the burger bun from meal 3.
Workouts remained exactly the same this week.
But don’t forget, the weekly cheat meal is still included, even this close to the wedding day.
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1 Week Out Wedding Diet
Calories remained the same, but she decided to not have her weekly cheat meal. This was her choice because I was happy for her to have it as she was making progress.
1 Week Out Wedding Workout
It goes without saying that the week of the wedding is super busy.
So with that in mind – and to keep stress levels as minimal as possible – we dropped down to three workouts.
We also cut cardio down to x3 30 minute sessions to keep recovery high and cortisol levels low.
At this point, the hard work was done.
If she wasn’t going to be ready now, she wasn’t going to be ready at all, so this was seen as a ticking-over week just to keep active.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q. Should I be eating cheat meals whilst dieting for my wedding?
A. This all depends on you and your dieting approach. If you are in a decent enough calorie deficit then, in my opinion, one cheat meal per week will not be detrimental to your progress. It’s important to stress that the cheat should be a meal off the plan and not an all-out feast. Be sensible.
Q. How much alcohol am I allowed?
A. Again, this is down to you and your goals. A good idea is to incorporate around 100-150 calories per day to have some form of “treat”. I find this is a great way for people to stay focused and driven because they are not completely cutting out all their favorite foods. So, a glass of wine or a beer would be good here, and it won’t cause any damage as long as your calorie deficit is big enough.
Q. What are your thoughts on eating out during the diet?
A. I think this is fine as it’s important you keep having a good time on the build-up to your big day. Just replace one or two of your meals off your normal diet with the same number of calories in the meal you are having out. I.e. If you know meal 3 (for example) is around 500 calories, aim to eat this amount in the meal out, or as close to it as possible, and make sure you choose a healthy option on the menu and avoid junk.
Q. I don’t have much time for cardio. Is it necessary?
A. You have to be honest here and ask yourself truly if you don’t have time to do cardio, or if in fact, your time management is poor. I have found poor time management lets people down when it comes to finding time for cardio. I would always try to incorporate cardio, but if you can’t – and your schedule doesn’t allow it – then try to get as many steps in during each day as possible and rely on purely lowering calories when you stall after a few weeks. The issue here is that if you do cardio, you can get away with eating a little more food. If you don’t do cardio, you will be very hungry at some stage, which makes dieting extremely challenging.
Q. What foods should I avoid?
A. Processed foods. Also, avoid a diet high in sugar. Trans fats from cakes, pastries, etc should be avoided too.
Q. Can I do home workouts instead?
A. Absolutely! You can do whatever workout you want as long as you’re doing some form of physical activity and are burning calories. Just make sure you’re working hard and getting the heart rate up.
Q. How can I lose fat specifically off my tummy and thighs?
A. Unfortunately, you can’t target areas you wish to lose fat from. Fat loss doesn’t work that way. Genetics plays a huge part in which areas we store higher fat in than others. Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, get quality sleep, drink plenty of water, and make sure you’re in a calorie deficit. These will all play a part in you becoming the best version of yourself physically.
Q. Which foods burn belly fat?
A. No foods actually burn belly fat, as such. But it goes without saying that choosing to eat clean, nutritious foods will help you lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit.
Q. Will a low-carb diet make me lose weight faster?
A. Yes, it will make you lose weight faster, not necessarily fat faster. We store water in our body with every gram of carbohydrate we have, so when we eat a low-carb diet or ketogenic diet, we lose the water initially. Fat burning takes a few weeks to kick in properly. Basically, you can choose to follow whichever diet you like, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter – it’s a case of calories in vs calories out that produces results.
Q. Will there be a weight gain rebound post-wedding if I stop cardio?
A. This is a great question. But the important thing here is why would you want to stop cardio? Look at doing cardio for health reasons, not fat loss reasons. You can reduce the amount of cardio you do post-wedding, but keep a tab on your food intake as you may need to lower it a little as you will not be burning as many calories.
Q. Should I return to my old eating ways after the wedding?
A. Try to look at what you did as a lifestyle change and not a diet. It shouldn’t be a chore, but a way of approaching life. If you do return to old eating habits then you will probably put fat back on. By keeping up with a healthy lifestyle and fitness routine you can avoid this.
Q. What foods should I eat before the wedding ceremony?
A. Nothing overly filling. Opt for healthy foods such as lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Eat until satisfied, not stuffed. Drink plenty of water.
About the author
I'm Chris. I have a vast interest in all things relating to health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition. I also love to improve my mindset and learn how to increase my productivity. If you'd like to say hello or ask me a question, please visit my contact page, and I'd be glad to hear from you. Alternatively, you can find me on Twitter (@liveliftlife).