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How Much Weight Can I Lose by My Wedding Date?

Realistic Goals and Expectations for Pre-Wedding Weight Loss
  -- By Nicole Nichols, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
Every bride wants to look her best on her big day. After all, you're spending a boatload of cash on a great gown, an awesome party, and the best photographer you can afford, so it's natural to want every detail to be perfect, right down to the fit of your dress and the confidence you exude while wearing it.

Losing weight for an upcoming wedding is no different than dropping pounds or toning up for any other special occasion, whether it's a reunion, beach vacation, or milestone birthday. Whether you're the bride, a maid of honor, or a good friend or relative who is going to be in her share of photos, the big questions are always: How fast can I lose weight? How much weight can I lose by the date of the event? How can I fit into a gown that's two sizes too small?

Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to these questions. The answer depends on your current weight, how many pounds you have to lose, how much time you have to get there and, of course, how hard you're willing to work to make that happen. SparkPeople.com is America's most active weight-loss and fitness website, and our free tools, plans and resources have helped thousands of people all over the world lose weight and reach goals just like yours. Unlike quick-fix weight-loss plans that promise big results and rarely deliver, by following our free, safe and medically accepted program, you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

It might not sound as glamorous as the claims on a lot of other diet plans, but it's safe, healthy and realistic—and doesn't involve crazy diet restrictions or hours of daily exercise. (And let's face it, who has time for all that anyway, let along the willpower to not eat ice cream for 9 months?)

Weight loss comes down to a simple equation of calories in versus calories out. Our plans allow you to cut some calories and burn some extra ones to ultimately lose up to two pounds per week. However, individuals with more than 100 pounds to lose could lose 1% of their weight per week, meaning that a 300-pound woman could lose 3 pounds per week by following the same program. To find out how much weight you can lose by your wedding day, calculate the number of weeks between when you plan to start your weight-loss program and the big day itself. Three months out, you're looking at about 24 pounds gone. Start six months before your wedding and you could lose double the fat: 48 pounds. Begin your plan a year in advance and the sky's the limit: You could lose 50-100 pounds or more by the time your wedding date arrives. Obviously, the sooner you start, the better, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Start your free program today at www.SparkPeople.com.

Time Until Wedding Weight You Can Lose
4 weeks 4-8 pounds
8 weeks 8-16 pounds
12 weeks 12-24 pounds
16 weeks 16-32 pounds
20 weeks 20-40 pounds
24 weeks 24-48 pounds
28 weeks 28-56 pounds
32 weeks 32-64 pounds
36 weeks 36-72 pounds
40 weeks 40-80 pounds
44 weeks 44-88 pounds
48 weeks 48-96 pounds
52 weeks 52-104 pounds
 

When it comes to trying on wedding dresses and predicting what size you might be by the time your wedding date arrives, things get a little trickier. While you can more or less predict weight loss (in pounds) by counting calories consumed and calories burned, there is no easy way to know how many inches or dress sizes you could lose in any given time. Most gown retailers prefer for clients to order their wedding dress no later than six months before the wedding date. Some prefer even more time. The need for alterations to better fit the dress to your body is often built into this plan, but it can take 4-8 weeks to get a dress altered in time for your big day. It's safest to order a larger size than you might need (you can always take fabric away) and to wait closer to your wedding date to find the best size for you, but keep those dates in mind. Talk to the customer service representatives at a variety of stores to find out what timeline they recommend. They can also help you estimate what size to order and help with the tailoring process. Remember, however, that weight loss often happens a little quicker in the beginning and tends to slow down as you get closer to your goal weight, so be conservative in your estimates. Just because you've lost 50 pounds already doesn't mean you'll lose another 50 just as quickly.

To reach your goal, combine both diet and exercise changes to accelerate your results. Cutting calories can result in weight loss, but it may happen more slowly than if you reduce your calorie intake and burn more calories through exercise. Incorporating exercise can also allow you to eat more calories and still lose weight. Relying on cutting calories alone means you have to cut out A LOT in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week. That can result in hunger, which can make it difficult to stick to your plan. But if you exercise and eat right, you may be able to eat a little more and still lose weight. An exercise program that includes fat-burning cardio (aerobic) exercise is key to reaching your goals, so aim for at least 3-5 cardio workouts per week and if possible, gradually increasing the duration of each and the number of days you incorporate exercise.

Sometimes, there's nothing more motivating than a special event like a wedding to spring you into action to reach your goals. Harness that enthusiasm and start your weight-loss journey today! To learn more about using SparkPeople to reach your wedding day weight-loss goal, read this article and be sure to check out all the healthy bridal resources we have to offer.