I think it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of a fitness freak. I go climb once a week for upwards from 3 hours; during term time, Guy and I do archery twice a week; we attend the aforementioned double salsa classes; and we also have a more-or-less weekly run of about 5km.
Sometimes, this isn’t enough. My entire quota of films/TV comes from shoving something on whilst I do starjumps (20 minutes to an hour), bunny hops (sets of 100) or pull weights for a while. Usually for the duration of the film.
So I think it’s reasonable that I wasn’t sure how to up my exercise regime to get fit for my dress. However, my weight fluctuates a lot – by up to about three quarters of a stone either way. Whilst I didn’t need to “lose” weight as such, I wanted to make sure that I was at the slimmest end of my natural healthy range come the wedding day.
When I had my dress fitting, I was at the top of my weight range, and the hook and eye popped off – awful! So I was even more determined to be happy with my weight come the wedding.
So it was going to have to be food.
I love food.
You already know that: food at the wedding was important, but eating well in the weeks leading up to the wedding was also important: partly for keeping us in shape, but also for keeping us healthy, perky, alert. So whilst I put us on a diet, it wasn’t a lose fat diet, it was a healthy eating diet. I even decided we should lay off beer as much as possible; Guy was very sad about this, but at least he could have a gin and tonic or a glass of wine to cheer himself up.
I learnt about calorie counting. I learnt about calorie counting. By counting average days, I discovered I was only eating between 1300 and 1800 calories a day plus drinks. This was an interesting discovery.
So I thought a lot about the foods we ate and made some select changes. For example, I bought some brown spaghetti, cooked chips in the oven, rather than frying the potatoes; steamed things rather than boiled (I usually do a mixture of both) and reduced cheese, whilst increasing spinach. I made “healthy” snacks, so that we’d be eating homemade cereal bars at 85 calories each (less than a medium apple) instead of crisps or chocolate – yet feeling like we’d got our sweet fix. After meals, we’d have one chocolate each (or two shared) from a chocolate box, rather than a big pudding.
I looked for alternatives to bread. Bread is about 119 calories a slice + 25 if it’s buttered, and can also cause bloating, making you look bigger than you are. I reduced the amount of bread I was eating and had more crackers, wraps and other alternatives.
We also ate lots of soup. Soup without bread has very few calories in it because the bulk of it is water, so it’s filling, but mostly low-calorie, high-vitamin vegetables. I got some recipe books out and got creative with flavours.
Here are some pictures of yummy dishes we had – just to show you that healthy eating can be fun.
A great supplement to a healthy diet is two cups of green tea a day. It’s a mild laxative and clears out your gut, so you look less bloated, feel lighter and more energetic, and drop a few pounds in weight. Don’t drink 20 cups a day thinking you will get thinner and thinner though: that’s not how it works. On the other hand, it’s very high in caffeine and as such is a good addition to the diet if you have a busy or active lifestyle.
Vitamins and minerals are also good. I upped my taking until, the week before the wedding, I was taking daily doses. Guy wasn’t keen, so I offered him energy vitamin supplements which dissolve to form an odd-flavoured fizzy drinks; I used to use them before exams. In that last week I did my starjumps/bunny hops every day – just a few of them, but enough to feel I was doing what I could, that I was ready.
On the day before the wedding we were, of course, fairly busy, but we deliberately build in some relaxing time: a session at the hotel’s swimming pool and saunas, which was relaxing and didn’t feel like exercise at all. It was also especially nice because we bumped into Abby, who used to be my babysitter: Guy was particularly pleased to meet her before the wedding and individually: there were so many people on the day!