First things first, a goal body to me is not a “perfect” body or a dream body. Far from it. A goal body is simply a body that makes you feel like a million bucks in clothing (and equally good not in it).
So for example, when I was asked by a buzzed bride-to-be at my actual wedding party, “Girl, what you got going on under there?!!” (meaning shapewear) I answered “a ton of Soul Cycle, pasties and a thong” feeling good I put the hard work in. Work I’m going to detail below for anyone who wants to hit their goal body by their goal date.
Of course everyone is different, and should do whatever makes them feel most confident. And there are countless bridal options for under the gown. But on my wedding day and the evening of my celebration, I did not want the discomfort of Spanx or the weight/heat of shapewear. I wanted freedom to move and also to feel strong and fit.
A few things to note:
- I’m well into my 30s, so achieving my goal body was going to require commitment. Not just a few late nights without cheese fries, like in my early 20s.
- We decided to have a surprise wedding pretty last minute (where people thought they were attending our engagement party but we had actually wed the night prior). So I really just had a month from when we finalized the plan to totally step up my game. I had started making small changes a few months earlier after getting engaged… but my husband asked me to marry him on May 4 and we got married on August 26, so needless to say, time was not on my side.
And that’s ok.
If age or time (or something else) is not on your side either, don’t worry!! You can still do it!
Full disclosure: The changes I made did not dramatically alter my body. But I leaned out and tightened up and gained some sexy muscle and defined some abs.
Fringe benefits included improvement to my skin and energy level.
And I felt great. (Which as cliché as it sounds, did actually radiate.)
Now, you all know I am not a nutritionist, fitness expert, trainer, doctor, heath guru… and I didn’t consult with any of those types either (although I’m all for it if you have the time, access, money, etc).
I was just a bride with a goal. And I hit it. On my own.
Here’s what worked for me.
#1. EATING DIFFERENTLY.
Several things with eating made a difference. The first was not eating together with my fiancé all the time. Even when we were both home. Why? I tend to parrot my very fit, younger husband whenever we share a meal. Meaning our portion sizes and plates are pretty much the same. But when I eat on my own, I eat smaller meals and I’m much more mindful of what is in them (i.e. I avoid butter, excess oil, the temptation of white carbs on the table…). And since our sizes and shapes are totally different, not to mention our metabolism, going samesies on dinner just wasn’t going to cut it.
Next, I found that eating at restaurants or ordering Seamless became undesirable because I didn’t know how the food was prepared and, no matter my requests, it was always heavier than I hoped. Even salads and sides of veggies. So I started ordering Fresh Direct and making my own meals. This led to me having more micro meals throughout the day that kept me satisfied but not stuffed, and also kept me eating clean. When we did want to eat out, we went to casual and health-conscious places like Sweetgreen, where we could have good-for-you salads and unsweetened ice teas.
I started to monitor how my body reacted to what I was putting into it. Now, many experts will say a calorie is a calorie – and who am I to disagree? But for me personally, my body likes and doesn’t like certain foods. Maybe it’s allergies. Maybe it’s sensitivities. Maybe it’s my blood type. A digestive issue… Who knows. All I know is when I eat white carbs, it shows in my lower belly. And when I eat any food that is salty, I see my waistline expand and to a lesser extent, the rest of my body along with it. So while a calorie may be a calorie for weight loss, if you want to improve the appearance of certain areas (especially in your wedding dress or some hot newlywed lingerie), pay attention to how certain foods do (or do not) play nice with your body.
And finally, while it may not be reasonable for a long period of time, at the end EAT CLEAN. Avoid sauces and dips and sweets and snacks. I ate tons of grilled lean protein, eggs, fresh steamed vegetables, sashimi, salads with minimal dressing and so on. Was it boring? Totally. Was it worth it? Totally.
#2. NOT DRINKING.
Ok, also admittedly not fun: not drinking.
But beyond empty calories, alcohol bloats, and looking bloated in head-to-toe white is the most not fun. Or at least it feels that way.
So my fiancé and I cut back by basically only drinking when we were out for something special. And for the final 10 days, we didn’t drink at all. Not a sip. We were honestly so excited about getting married that we didn’t miss it. We also had so many things to do, that drinking would have been counter-productive.
OH and we also did teeth whitening strips the last week leading up to everything. And funny enough, the things we really like to drink – red wine, tequila, whiskey… – are all no-gos when you are doing white strips anyway. So that too helped us stay the alcohol-free course.
#3. ADDING SUPPLEMENTS.
This pre-wedding time was before I got my beloved Squatty Potty… but after my fateful first meeting with The Skin Whisperer. So I was all about my supplements and at the time, taking the assortment above. That Probiotic was essential to maintaining a flat stomach.
And BONUS because I wasn’t eating any sweets at the end, the chocolate flavor was a real treat.
Which is hilarious to me now. But it’s true.
#4. SWEATING PROFUSELY.
I had been working out semi-regularly but when we decided our engagement party was really going to be our wedding celebration, I made it a point to DRIP SWEAT whenever I could get a workout in. I went beast-mode and even in such little time, I got stronger every day. It was incredible to see the improvement. I was now riding front row at Soul Cycle and upgraded from 2lb to 3lb arm weights. For the last 10 days leading up to our wedding, I went to Soul Cycle every single day and crushed it. I even went the morning of our ceremony and the following morning of our party.
I was burning calories and toning up and my body was changing before my eyes.
My goal was to get fit but keep my curves intact, and if you looked at before and after pics, while they would not necessarily reveal a total transformation, the difference would be very clear.
#5. OCCASIONALLY SQUEEMING.
So I honestly would have squeemed much more if it were more top of mind. I was always forgetting about it and then seeing it on my desk at the end of the day, thinking WHY didn’t I have that on today.
But when I did wear it, it was amazing to eliminate any water retention. And when I did take it off, everything (temporarily) fit so much better!
As I’ve said before, I’m not really sure if waist training is a permanent solution because I’ve never done it enough to see long-term changes. But as a short-term aid, I’m all about it!
Really I’m all for Any. Little. Thing. that you feel is healthy and right for you that can help make you feel your very best. Which I think every bride deserves to feel. Or for that matter, any woman… or any man… for any occasion that is special to her or him.
The process of getting to your body goals isn’t always a good time but reaching your body goals is pretty awesome. And creates momentum to set and reach other goals. Knock ’em down like dominoes. And look great doing it. With a tropical vacation in my horizon, I’m about to get back to business myself.
♥ ♥ ♥
PS, for those who’ve asked, here are a few more photos from my wedding. I’ll be following up with a post about how I chose what I wore on each day. SPOILER: I got everything off the rack.
DAY 1: CEREMONY
DAY 2: PARTY
NOTE: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. All wedding photos by Elizabeth Griffin.
Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.
Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site, with a goal to SPREAD BEAUTY, is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.