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Bridal Boot Camp: Getting in shape for the big day

Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer. I am not a nutritionist. I’m just a woman who does her research.

So maybe the title is a little misleading. I’m no stranger to a hard workout, and like most brides, I am on a mission to look my best for my wedding. But I have to confess, I haven’t quite been at boot camp status, yet. There’s stil time.

I’ve read my fair share of fitness magazines, online exercise blogs and Ester Marsh columns and been to enough gyms to know what it takes to work out. I don’t discount personal trainers and fitness experts, because they serve a purpose, but I’m more of the do-it-yourself-in-the-comfort-of-your-own-home kinda person. Soon after becoming engaged, I did what every girl does — start a workout regimen.

I became engaged during a birthday dinner in November. My fiance, Vanzie Walker III, and I have been together (sometimes on and sometimes off) for eight years. He asked and I had to say yes, so we’ve been planning our wedding ever since. It was suggested that I feature the planning as part of a regular monthly series. This column is the third in the series.

I logged my starting weight and made a goal of losing 12 pounds. I haven’t quite reached my goal, but I’ve gone down a pant size and built some muscle, of which I’m proud. In the beginning, I said I would not resort to starvation, fad diets and other unhealthy weight-loss practices. I mean, my honey loves me and my curves, so why risk my health to obtain an unrealistic expectation.

It’s not rocket science, but it is a mental game for me and maybe others, as well. I think the hardest part about regular exercise is making the decision to do it. There are days when I’ve hit the snooze button several times, like this morning, and rolled over. But at the end of the day, you can’t see results if you don’t put in the work.

My overall goal was to not only lose 12 pounds, but tone the thighs and glutes, flatten my stomach and get rid of the arm jiggle. We have just under five months, or 152 days, until the wedding, according to my “Our Wedding” phone app. I have put a dent in my goal, but I’m not where I want to be. I am by no means a quitter, so that means it’s time to kick it into high gear.

I love working out and throughout the years have tackled several at home fitness routines — TaeBo, Zumba, Walk Away the Pounds and Denise Austin Pilates. I didn’t join a gym, didn’t seek help from a nutritionist, didn’t join Weight Watchers (sorry Jennifer Hudson), and didn’t hire a personal trainer. I did what I used to do — an old-school sixth-grade physical education class workout. I’m a bride on a budget, remember. If you haven’t read my last column about being a budget-conscious bride, you should. My workout has consisted of push ups, crunches, weight lifting, running, walking, jumping jacks, jump rope, lunges and squats. Old school at it’s finest.

I try to eat as healthy as I can. I cut out sodas years ago and don’t miss them. For the most part, I drink water every day, but on occasion I’ll have maybe five sodas a year. I also don’t fry foods, but will not restrict myself if I go to someone’s house and they have it. I don’t believe in restrictions. Maybe I should, but I feel my life is happier if I’m not trying to count carbs or making sure there’s no sugar or fat in what I eat. I don’t feel that restricting certain foods from my diet can be sustained over a lifetime. What it all boils down to for me is moderation. I know for me a good diet consists of a mix of vegetables, grains, meat, dairy, fruit and some fats, oils and sweets. Since I know I don’t quite get the recommended vitamins from all of my food, I’ve also incorporated a daily multivitamin.

I think I’ve mentioned Pinterest in my other columns, but it really is a good site. It’s a free online site that let’s you “pin” or post images to boards. I have an exercise board where I store workout routines and motivational quotes. I also regularly visit shape.com and read fitness magazines for workout tips.

Here are some tips of my own:

Set realistic goals. If you start working out four weeks before your wedding, don’t expect big results. It took you more than four weeks to put on the weight and it will take some time to take it off and keep it off.

Be healthy. Don’t resort to laxatives or starvation. It all comes down to the fact that if this man proposed to you, it must mean he loves you — curves and all. Why starve to fit into a size 2 wedding dress when you’re comfortable at and he loves you in a 12?

If you mess up, start again. You may fall “off the wagon” but it’s the getting back up that counts. So you ate a bowl or, Lord forbid, a carton of ice cream in one sitting. Exercise the next day anyway. You had pizza, burger and fries on your day off. Work out the next day.

Change is good. I get bored easily so I like to change my exercises often because it keeps things interesting. It also is a way to learn a new sport, activity or routine.

Am I where I planned to be? Not so much. But I haven’t given up, and I’m still working out at least three to four times a week.

Up next: Design our invitations and programs as well as pick our linens and a florist. I guess it’s time to ask Post graphic designer Andy Mooney about that custom monogram.

Shavonne Potts is a reporter with the Salisbury Post. She can be reached spotts@salisburypost.com or 704-797-4253. Find her Altar Ego board on Pinterest.

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