Free glasses of champagne from the hostess. A complimentary dessert from a restaurant. Chocolate-covered strawberries sent from your boss. And don’t forget the flowers and wine sent from your very own parents.

Ah, the joys of getting engaged and the lovely loot from the people and vendors who are happy for you are never even in the same ballpark as healthy. Then the planning begins where you actually need to taste the food and drinks at possible venues for your reception and then at rehearsal party destinations as well. And it’s all free. How can you keep your wedding diet and exercise plan in check when all of this gluttony, this free, delicious, extravagant food and drink you would never be tasting if it weren’t part of the wedding process?

Here are some tips & tricks to keep you from gaining weight while you still enjoy your engagement. It only happens once, so you deserve to enjoy every moment. Here’s how to cope and have some fun at the same time:

  1. Plan your workout accordingly.

    Remember from the first part of the Wedding Chronicles: you have to PLAN. Plan for these extravagant meals (which always include wine, champagne, and even cocktails). Plan to get up early and work out hard. Add an extra 10 intervals to that morning workout, use the stairs only at your 7th floor job for the day, and go for a lunch time walk (eating your healthy salad at your desk). Get in your 10,000 steps and then some so that you feel downright virtuous when you indulge that evening at a potential venue.

  2. Plan your day’s meals until that evening accordingly too.

    Carefully plan your breakfast, lunch, and snacks right up until the evening event. What will fill you up with the most bang for your buck? Think lean, grille chicken breast with just mustard and veggies; a veggie stir fry; a massive salad with chicken breast (no cheese or other heavy ingredients) and a dressing of just balsamic vinegar and spices. What will keep you full, give you nutrients and energy and keep your daily calorie total low so that you can enjoy your evening?

    The answer is lean proteins and vegetables galore. Just be wary of heavy, calorie-hiding dips like hummus and ranch dressing; they turn vegetables into the devil before you can snap your fingers and say yes to the dress!

  3. Indulge intelligently.

    There are going to be drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts. What is your favorite part of the meal? What part of the meal do you care most about for your guests? Budget your calories accordingly to what you care about for your big day. If you are a wine girl, save room for a few glasses and make sure to eat something to soak up the sauce. A dessert hound? Have bites of everything up until the dessert round and then indulge with abandon.

    Talk to your partner prior to the event and strategize! Who will indulge in what? Then write everything down so that you can remember in advance. We, my fiancé and I, have even kept track of the servers/ bartenders we’ve loved so that we can request them for our events. Since we ended up going French for the rehearsal dinner, the evening was full of cheeses, pastries, and chocolate! I sure was happy I had run 6 miles that morning and worked out hard that whole week. I enjoyed every moment with my soon-to-be husband and tasted the richness of every bite, savoring every moment as well. Which leads into…

  4. Take. Your. Time.

    Rehearsal dinner and venue tastings are going to be rich, luxurious affairs where they want to impress you, as they should if you are spending upwards of the $10K mark at their venue! With that being said, foods and drinks you rarely imbibe in will be rampant. Flavors that are bold and rich will be abundant. If you take your time, savoring every bite and enjoying every moment, you will quickly find how full you are getting from the decadent morsels in front of you. Cheeses, croquettes, appetizers with layers, roasted meats… the list will go on and the dessert hasn’t even come yet. Take a bite of everything and savor it, you’ll probably eat less than you planned if you simply take your time and enjoy the sumptuous flavors.

  5. Don’t overcompensate.

    If you accidentally forget to workout and then eat with abandon at one of these events, don’t be tempted to overcompensate and run 2 hours on the treadmill the next day. You definitely don’t want to end up with an injury from overtraining. In other words: if it happens, it happens. Remind yourself of the tips above and be better prepared for the next venue with the support of your soon to be spouse. Get him/her workout with you that morning so you don’t forget.

    Divide and conquer the various tastes by writing them down and ranking them after 1 bite only. And if that fails once or twice, that’s totally fine… but be wary of the marathon workout sessions because you definitely don’t want to be hobbling down the aisle on crutches!

Being engaged is a blessing. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it can be fattening if you don’t plan accordingly. Enjoy EVERY moment of being engaged. It’s special and it’s a time to bond forever with your future spouse. These are memories, people! However, don’t let it derail your quest for the fittest, most confident self that you can be and follow the above tips: plan your workouts, plan your nutrition, indulge smartly, take your time, and don’t overcompensate.

You will get there: the fittest self for your wedding, with a little determination and these simple tips!

Send me your stories on your wedding journey! @christynlyons on Twitter.

Christy Lyons

Christy Lyons, M.A., PHR, is a former corporate wellness company owner & freelance Yoga, Pilates, and barre/toning instructor. As an E-RYT, she has been teaching yoga since 2007 and has also run 2 teacher training programs. She is an NASM-CPT and specialized in working with clients with autoimmune diseases, spinal injuries, and other unique cases. After selling her business in 2013, Christy... Read More

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