How much weight is safe (and realistic) to lose before your wedding?

Diet and Exercise, Sitting in a Tree

Yes, you've heard it before, and it's true -- if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise and watch what you eat.

Rachel Brandeis, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian who runs a private practice, assures weight-conscious brides that there is a foolproof way to lose those unwanted pounds. Brandeis says, "Stick to at least 1,200 calories per day, and exercise five to seven times a week for at least 45 minutes a session, and you'll see results."

And when Brandeis mentions exercise, she's not talking about light walks with your sweetheart or taking the stairs instead of the escalator when you're registering for wedding gifts at the mall (though those types of activities certainly won't hurt). She explains that brides must adhere to a routine of "vigorous cardiovascular exercise" if they want to lose the weight and that "the key is to be consistent -- you really have to commit yourself if you want to make it work."

So what, exactly, counts as vigorous cardiovascular exercise? Cardio means working your heart and lungs, typically by exercising your legs. You can engage in cardio by taking a jog, riding a bike, hopping onto a treadmill or working out on an elliptical. If you're unsure of the difference between light exercise and cardio, try running a 15-minute mile. Now do that three or four times in a single session to start really losing weight. If that's a bit too much when you first begin your exercise routine, don't worry -- you'll get there. Just start with whatever you're capable of doing.

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