​There Will Be Cake: Sweating for the Wedding Struggles

March 04, 2015 by Jessie Hendrix

In the months leading up to your wedding and on your wedding day you are suppose to be in the best shape of your life, right? OR at least have the world's best pair of Spanx hidden under your dress. Whether you are the bride, a mother, or a bridesmaid there can be absolutely no bunches, pulls, or extra curves where you don't want curves in your dress.

So what do most people do to prep for this? They hit the gym hard, while simultaneously starting some elaborate detox. Motivated by jaw dropping before and after pictures they ignore food cravings and revamp their schedules to find time to exercise.

The whole idea of transforming my appearance from head to toe to fit into a dress was honestly something I was not worried about (until recently.) I have always been motivated to exercise, and for the most am emotionally and physically happy with the way I look and my clothes fit (we've all battled our mirrors at one point or another.) I've also always been physically active, and am celebrating my seventh year of teaching group fitness classes. I love coaching and working with a room full of members, who all showed up for different reasons, but who come together as a team to sweat it out and kick butt.

Working it out at Lifetime Athletic Columbia in Total Conditioning Xtreme.

So, after getting engaged I tossed aside the notion of needing to drastically change my routine and begin a bridal boot camp transformation. I felt like what I was doing was working, and the plan was to just maintain my current healthy habits. Well, even the best health nuts crack when Nabisco releases a new series of Oreo cookies in Birthday Cake and Red Velvet flavors, or when some of the best happy hour food and drink specials are steps away from their new apartment!


I was swimming and running at least once a week and strength training 2-3 times a week alongside cardio when I was fitted for my dress last September (Yup, I was in fitness freak mode- where did I find time to train like that, couldn't tell ya?!) Now I am maybe getting my butt to the gym consistently 1-3 times a week, and am doing more stress eating and couching than squatting or lifting. I've blamed the change in my healthy habits on the holidays, on the weather, on my long commute, and countless other responsibilities. But, the truth remains that my wedding dress will be arriving any week now and it will be in my slightly slimmer and trimmer size.

Believe me I have tried to motivate myself to get back into those healthy habits. I joined a CrossFit gym for 2 months and felt super hardcore when I mastered a handstand push up and a muscle up. However, I ultimately couldn't justify the cost of the membership. Since then I've branched out and done some drop in classes at some specialty yoga and cycling gyms. I even joined a co-worker for a couple weeks to take hip-hop, which I did LOVE, but now I have work trainings during that class time.

Shockwave Fitness Instructor Training with Doris Thews.

After those failed attempts to create new healthy habits, I thought maybe a race event was what I needed to light the fire under me. I was in the best shape ever when I was training for the Iron Girl Triathlon and the Sole of the City. So I signed back up, but that fire is nowhere near as hot. Besides, (here come the excuses again) one of the treadmills in our gym is broken, it's way to cold to run outside, plus I do have a bad knee.

Iron Girl 2013 Race with my mother, and Color Run Event with Brian.

Everything I've tried has been a bust when it comes to balancing leaving work on time, to get to the gym, to get home, and make dinner, to spend time with my loved ones, and still have time leftover to complete wedding prep! Not to mention squeezing in a shower, playtime with the puppy and catching up on my DVR episodes of Scandal. Oh and there is the need for sleep before this chaotic juggling act repeats itself the following day.

I don't want to burn myself out with this juggling act and fall short in the actual month before the wedding, but I also don't want to procrastinate getting my fitness on since we are at the four-month mark. So, it is time to take some of my own advice that I dish out to my participants, who I know if they read this, will hold me accountable! It's time to stop making excuses and just get in, get out and get it done. It's time to make things happen.

Step one is changing up my diet and focusing on clean eating (well at least for most of the week.) I live in a foodie's dream, and its unrealistic to say I won't go to happy hour or out to dinner at least one night of the week, or grab a few drinks on the weekend. So, I am not going to beat myself up over those, but instead look forward to them while eating fresh, healthy foods during the week. While I was in graduate school and working full time Brian and I became excellent at meal planning and prepping. Sundays we cook, and make ALL of our breakfast and lunch portions for the week. Even though I am no longer in graduate school we have continued this practice, but are taking extra effort to make sure what we are cooking follows a Whole 30 or Paleo approach. Good-bye extra sugars, dairy, and carbs. It's not about dieting to lose weight for us, it's about eating to nourish our bodies in a way that makes sense for staying physically active and having energy for the day. Too many people waste time counting calories, when what's really important is upgrading your calories to support the health of your metabolism.

Meal preparations for the week.

Step two is getting my butt to the gym. Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is just getting through those gym doors. I always feel better after a workout, and am glad I showed up. I have to be realistic though. Working out everyday will only end in failure, but getting to some of my favorite step, conditioning and yoga classes a couple times a week is a plan I can be successful following.

So, before I purchase that killer pair of tummy tightening Spanx I'm going to get back on track with this whole gym, healthy eating thing. Besides, there will be plenty of cake to stuff my face with at the wedding!


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