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10 Simple Exercise and Weight Loss Tips for Brides-to-be

Attention June brides! You're spending precious time on last-minute arrangements of the who, what, where and when of your imminent nuptials, so why not invest some time to ensure that you will be a woman of splendid, sculpted beauty on your wedding day?

Fitness expert and author James Villepigue, author of the best-selling Body Sculpting Bible for Women (Hatherleigh Press, 2002), offers these simple, easy-to-follow weight-loss and exercise tips for brides-to-be.

1. Make a Vow to Look Great

It's your big day. You want to look and feel your best. So make a commitment to be healthy and fit on your wedding day. Adopt a plan of action that is easy to follow, sensible and allows for your busy schedule. A bonus? Staying fit will alleviate some of the stress that goes along with planning.

2. Say "I Do" to a Reasonable Weight Loss Goal

Most weight loss programs fail because of unrealistic goals. You can safely loose 1 to 2 pounds per week, so a goal of 16 pounds of weight lost in eight weeks is appropriate. Anything more and you are setting yourself up for frustration and failure.

3. Stretch to De-stress

Gentle stretching for 10 minutes each morning is a great way to combat wedding stress. Take a yoga class once or twice a week to learn the basics. Invite your maid-of-honor along, too! An exercise partner will help you stay on track.

4. Avoid Get-Thin-Quick Products

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Fad diets and "fat burning" diet pills can be dangerous to your health. Electronic ab stimulators and other home exercise inventions that promise results without effort are just marketing gimmicks. Save your money for your honeymoon.

5. Practice Walking Down the Aisle

Choose to be active every day. As little as 20 minutes of walking will burn excess calories. What's more, that time is for you. Use it to relax, to meditate, to escape the stresses of the final days.

6. Hit the Weights, Not the Wall

Include at least two to three days per week of light weight training with dumbbells. Choose eight to 10 exercises and do at least eight to 12 repetitions per exercise. One set is enough, especially if time is precious. Best exercises include biceps curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, rows, lunges, squats, crunches and hyperextensions.

7. Can the Soda and Save the Calories

Sugar-rich soda adds empty calories to your diet. Drinking water rather than soda can reduce your caloric intake by as much as 300 to 500 calories per day. That's a pound of fat weight per week you can lose effortlessly.

8. Eat Often to Stay Energized

Plan to eat at least five times a day to stay energized (three meals and two snacks). Fill your home with healthy foods, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure you don't skip breakfast – it is one of the most important meals of the day. Follow the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid for balance and variety. Avoid excess calories from junk foods like chips, donuts and sweets.

9. Get Mom and Dad Involved

Share your commitment to health with your mom and dad. It is a time of change and stress for them as well. They, too, can benefit from being more active and eating sensibly. Why not take them with you on your walks? Spend that time with them wisely. It is a precious gift.

10. Do It for the Health of Your Marriage

Bring the commitment to health into your marriage. Encourage your husband-to-be to share in your efforts to maintain a healthy weight and to be active. The benefits are enormous: increased longevity, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of diabetes, reduced risk of cancer, just to name a few. You can look ahead to a vital, active and healthy partnership in the years to come.

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