The big day is circled on your calendar, and you're so excited for that wedding, reunion, prom or party. But are you feeling ready? It's perfectly normal to want to drop a few pounds or tone up before a special occasion so you can look and feel your best. Whether you have three months, one month, a week or a day before the big event, here are simple diet and exercise tweaks you can make to get yourself looking good and feeling confident.
3 Months Until the Event
You definitely have the time to establish healthy nutrition and fitness habits that will make the biggest impact on your overall appearance. There's no need to crash diet or spend hours in the gym. This is your time to get in a healthy routine and break bad habits! So get ready to put in the work.
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1. Clean Up Your Diet
Take an overall assessment of where there is room for improvement in your diet. Keep track of what and how much you eat with an app like LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate app or a food journal (yes, even that handful of M&M's you had at the office). Everything counts.
Then start making healthy changes. Cutting just 250 calories from your daily total and working out a little bit more than you usually do can help you lose a pound a week. Some ideas are:
-Turning a cheat day into a cheat meal
-Eliminating refined sugars and processed carbohydrates
-Cutting back on alcohol and other empty-calorie-laden drinks like sodas
While it would be best to cut all of this out, if that's not realistic for you, eliminate these items gradually. You may feel a little dizzy without sugar in your body, as it will take about two weeks for your body to not feed off of sugar. To help combat this, increase your healthy fats — olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, whole eggs, etc. — for satiation.
2. Get Into a Routine
With 90 days until your event, now is the time to set the stage for your transformation. Commit to goals for yourself. You should be doing at least four to five workouts a week. What does that look like for you? Is it three CrossFit classes plus yoga? Are you more of a Zumba person?
For best results, you should be doing at least three to four days of cardio a week, but still making time for strength training. If you're a beginner, start off with walking and walk/run intervals. Build your foundation for success.
Read more: How to Tone Up Quickly for Your Big Event
1 Month Until the Event
Even if you're only starting one month out, you still have plenty of time to make changes that will yield noticeable results by the time the big day rolls around.
1. Reevaluate Your Diet
Ask yourself What has been your biggest struggle? When do you have the most energy? What completely zaps your vim and vigor? Try logging the findings in your food journal to see if specific foods are triggering tiredness or sluggishness. Try eliminating them for a few days to see if you feel better.
And make sure you're drinking lots of water. Water not only helps your body stay hydrated and operate at full capacity, it also helps your body flush out waste.
2. Amp Up Your Workout
You have 30 days until your special event! Time to dial up the intensity of your workouts. If you've been doing 20-minute interval training, add five minutes to it. At the end of two of your workouts, add hill sprints. Especially if you've been doing the same workout for the past month or more, it's time to change up your workout so your results don't plateau. Kick up the intensity and feel the burn!
Read more: 10 Signs Your Workout Isn't Working
1 Week Until the Event
With one week until a big event, you should really reign in your diet and pump up your workouts. If you're just starting, don't expect huge changes overnight. But one week is just enough time to make some final tweaks to help you feel your best.
1. Take Your Diet Seriously
Remember: This is game time! To really help you slim down, eliminate alcohol and refined sugar and really stick to your daily caloric goals. Remind yourself that it's only temporary (you can do anything for seven days). To have a daily reminder of your goal, hang a motivational quote or picture somewhere you can always see it. Then, when you get to your big event, you won't feel guilty having an extra glass of champagne (or two — you earned it, right?).
2. Focus on Cardio
If you're looking for a leaner body, spend less time on the weights and put more of your efforts into cardio. If you've been weight training, this will help sculpt and lean out your body. That doesn't mean skip the weights altogether, but your main focus should be on cardio, especially if you've been building a good muscle base over the past few months. If you really want to pump it up, this is the week when you can add a second cardio session in a day. Don't add this in too early or you may suffer burnout.
Read more: 3 Signs You're Overexercising and 3 Ways to Avoid It
1 Day Until the Event
You're almost at the finish line! With one day until the event, there is not much change that will happen in the overall appearance of your body. However, there are a few changes you can make to help push you those last few inches toward your finish line.
1. Cut Down on "Bad" Foods
It's down to the wire, so eat mostly lean protein and healthy fats. Eat lots of vegetables, but stay away from cruciferous vegetables that can leave you bloated and gassy. Carbonated drinks and gum can also cause bloat. Cut out carbohydrates, fruits, sugar (or sugar-free products), greasy foods, salty foods and dairy.
2. Continue With Cardio
Continue your cardio workouts. If you really want to look a little leaner, you can cut water weight by adding in an extra cardio session.
3. Jump in the Sauna
The sauna is a great way to sweat out the extra water weight to keep you lean for your event.
4. Have a Glass of Wine
You didn't see this one coming, did you? Have a relaxing glass of red wine the night before the event to help dehydrate you (just a little bit). It's a nice way to reward yourself for all your hard work!
Read more: 10 Ways to Beat Belly Bloat
What Do YOU Think?
Do you have a big event coming up? What's the special occasion? What's you plan to look and feel your best? Are you planning on hitting the gym? Cutting down on highly-processed food? Or do you have some other plan? Share your thoughts, stories and questions in the comments section below!
Read more: How to Tone Up Quickly for Your Big Event