Are there any quick, easy lifestyle changes I can make to help the dress fit better?
May 22, 2006 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me fit into my dress!

I purchased my wedding dress in October, and, at the urging of the salesperson, I ordered a size smaller than the one I was trying on (it was too big.) Unfortunately, when the dress came it was too tight. I haven't gained any weight since--and I swear I didn't order a smaller size thinking I would lose weight to fit into it!

It's very form-fitting, and is tight around my waist and hips and ends up bunching up in those areas. Obviously, I'm having it let out some, but I am really worried it won't be enough. They already let out the lining, but it didn't make a difference at all.

All this to say, are there any quick, easy lifestyle changes I can make to help the dress fit better? I am generally happy with my body, but I can see that I need to slim down a little around my stomach, waist, hip area. At most I would want to lose 5 to 10 pounds.

My wedding is in less than two months, and my life is pretty much consumed with running around and getting things done for it, plus, my fiance and I just purchased a house and have some work to do on it before we move in, and with the added work of actually moving--I rarely have time to make it to the gym.

I currently eat smart start cereal for breakfast, a lean cuisine or healthy choice for lunch, and a normal dinner (whatever I feel like cooking.) What changes can I make to my diet to help this along?

(I know there are many weight-loss threads on askme, and I searched through but didn't see any that specifically addressed this)
posted by saucy to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Low carb has worked for me. But frankly, you could also try a girdle or a body hugging type of garment; if the dress fit is not terribly off, that might do the trick.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:11 AM on May 22, 2006

1. Cut out sugar and alcohol.

2. Get a personal trainer. Tell him/her the situation, set specific goals - they'll make it happen. He/She can also give you routines to do at home (pilates is easy to do on your own). Having a session scheduled at a specific time helps me to get to the gym even when I feel I don't have time.
posted by saffron at 6:22 AM on May 22, 2006

Pilates. Take a few classes a week and your body will be transformed. It isn't easy, but it will do the trick in the amount of time you have. Combine that with the healthy diet of your choice and you should be good to go.

Good luck and congrats!
posted by mic stand at 6:24 AM on May 22, 2006

smart start has a lot of calories, esp if you go over the recommended serving size. Just switching to any cereal with less than 120 cals/cup (special k, cheerios, kix, for example) would make a big difference in your daily calories.
portion sizes--you don't mention anything about those. Perhaps you could cut down on your portions at dinner? How about alcohol?
posted by chelseagirl at 6:29 AM on May 22, 2006

Have you thought about a girdle?
posted by j at 6:37 AM on May 22, 2006

You could do a lot by tweaking your diet. You can use to input the macronutrients and calories of various foods you eat (don't use their horrible example stats), and aim for a 40/40/20 (proteins/carbs/healthy fats) ratio on your macronutrients.

This varies wildly from the typical carb-heavy diet of most Americans. If you're eating a higher ratio of carbs in your current diet, lowering your carbs to 40% will definitely cause you to quickly shed some intial water weight. Also, concentrating on complex carbs is always better than refined (thus the above-mentioned alcohol, soda, white bread, etc.)

The Harris Benedict BMR (basal metabolic rate) Formula is a common method of calculating maintenance calorie requirements for adults. This is BALLPARK only. People typically use this, then moderately adjust up and down according to their own results.

Harris Benedict BMR Formula For Women
BMR = 655 + (9.6 X weight in kgs) + (1.8 X height in cms) – (4.7 X age in years)

Now we need to take into account the amount of energy burned through activity.

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) – BMR X 1.2

2. If your are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days a week) – BMR X 1.375

3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days a week) – BMR X 1.55

The result will be your daily maintenance calorie level. If this were dead on, subtracting 3500 calories a week would make you shed a pound of fat. 7000 is 2 pounds, etc. Variance in your activity levels and individual body composition will affect this to some degree.

So a three-fronted attack - lower carbs, lower calories, lower sodium (if high, as it typically is in Americans -- causes water retention as well). Working out is well and good, but most people don't believe what can be done with diet alone. Maybe it seems too attainable then?

Good luck and congratulations. My wife and I were married in October. =)
posted by empyrean at 6:45 AM on May 22, 2006

An easy thing you can do which might help is to increase the amount of water you drink. Not soda or juice - just water. You may lose a significant amount of "water weight" by doing so.

Perhaps some genius will be able to provide more information on this and how (and IF) it might work.
posted by mikel at 7:00 AM on May 22, 2006

Work out. Even 30 minutes a day will make a big difference relatively fast. If you can do it first thing in the morning, even better, then eat breakfast. That will get your metabolism really jump started and you will usually burn calories at a higher rate than you do now. Try to balance your meals with a little of everything. The key is to remember that you can do it.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:11 AM on May 22, 2006

Most of the above suggestions are good lifestyle changes and may help you lose 5-10 pounds of fat in two months. It's not an unrealistic goal.

You could also try restricting your sodium intake for a few days and see if that helps. It won't take any fat off, but it will drop the amount of extra water you're carrying, which will make you thinner.

Most Americans have way more than enough sodium in their diet. Insert standard "check with your doctor first" disclaimer here.
posted by justkevin at 7:25 AM on May 22, 2006

Once you're reasonably fit (in a cardiovascular sense) and can hold 60% of MHR for thirty minutes without feeling too sore, consider trying HIIT (high intensity interval training). Basically, your body can get 'used' to a certain level of exercise while you're doing it, so if you considerably vary the exercise during your routine, you can burn fat a lot more quickly and increase your metabolic rate for a while thereafter. This means you can do a 30 minute routine that gets as much benefit as a regular hour long routine. Basically.. keep your body guessing, and the metabolic rate will go up. Alternating between two different speeds is enough. It's better to mix 'fast' and 'slow' than just go 'medium' all the time.
posted by wackybrit at 7:41 AM on May 22, 2006

I second the shapewear ("girdle") suggestion. If you truly are happy with your body and it seems like you are eating thoughtfully, then shapewear can really help hold everything in. It's not the most comfortable thing in the world, but if you find the right one, you can easily make it through a whole day/evening of events. I wore one at my friend's wedding for precisely the reason you are in your situation - the salesperson at David's Bridal encouraged all of the bridesmaids to order a size smaller because that dress "ran large". When we got our dresses (a week before the wedding - but that's another story...) none of our dresses fit. Many of the bridesmaids were able to swap dresses but since I was one of the smaller women in the wedding, there was no one for me to swap with (since no one could wear mine). I just went to JC Penney and got a "tummy tuck" shapewear. It helped a ton, as did really drinking a ton of water the week before. I actually look pretty good in her wedding photos and I don't look like I'm bursting out of anything. If you decide to take this route, make sure you get one that blends with the color of your dress - I had a dark purple dress but could only find a white girdle, so if I bent over a bit of white showed. Also, the discomfort level from the shapewear was probably on par with wearing a tight pair of pants, or maybe a too-small pair of nylons. Not awful.

Also, if you are interested in taking the physical fitness route, I also believe that Pilates is the way to go. If you can afford it, arrange for a Pilates trainer with a reformer - the use of resistance and the particular exercises you can do on the reformer can really target what appear to be the problematic areas. If you can't afford it or don't have access to a Pilates trainer, try The Pilates Body series by Brooke Siler. Brooke is highly recommended by my own Pilates trainer, and I use Brooke's workout cards when I do Pilates on my own. They help with visualization. I think the cards are the best purchase, but if you want the complete package, get the book too.

Good luck!
posted by MeetMegan at 7:59 AM on May 22, 2006

You seem to eat thoughtfully so I'll jus add a recepie to my reply, which actually cost more calories to eat than you gain. This type of dinner and some extra morning yoga/pilates workout should sort you right up. :)
lowfat low-carb dinner with roastbeef and veggies (2 portions)
# 300 g rams of roast beef sliced thin.
# a bunch of nice green asparagus.
# 250 grams of barlotti beans ( I think it is called cranberry bean in the US. In any case if you can't find borlotti italian beans, replace with kidney beans or pinto beans. Pinto is the better substitute)
make salsa:
# 1 grilled and marinated bell pepper, chopped into fine strips. (you can usually buy marinated peppers)
# 2 spoons of oilive oil
# half a lemons juice
# a bunch of basil, chpooed into stripes
# 1 clove of garliv chopped into teenty tiny bits. Very fine chop.
# salt and pepper of curse.
Mix all the ingredients of the salsa into a bowl and let that hang out while you prep the rest
Heat up a grilling pan and grill the asparagus so that it gets little black stripes. Put the roast beef and asparagus onto plate, with the beans in the bottom (on top of each other) and then start spooning the salsa on top so that it runs all over the place.

posted by dabitch at 8:24 AM on May 22, 2006

Counting calories takes out all the mystery of weightloss. I second fitday.
posted by callmejay at 8:43 AM on May 22, 2006

If you want a rule of thumb for eating, try this:

Eat nothing white - no sugar, bleached flour, potatoes, etc, in any form. No sugar in soda pop, no toast, no fries, no breading, no milk, and so on.
posted by unixrat at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2006

Eat more vegetables and fruit, and make your portions of anything starchy much smaller (peas and corn are also starchy just so you know.) I second the suggestion of drinking more water, and I also suggest you don't eat anything after about six or seven at night. Get in some walking every day-certainly you can fit that in as part of your running around?

I've lost weight doing the above, and more importantly lost fat. Do make sure you are eating ENOUGH tho because if you drop your calorie count too low your metabolism will drop too.
posted by konolia at 9:47 AM on May 22, 2006

I know this advice is too late but...most people order the dress a size larger and then have it altered to fit...I am only mentioning that in case someone buying an important dress is reading this. I am really surprised that the person who sold it to you did not advise you buy the too big dress.
Is it too late to order the bigger dress? exchange?

I have friends and have personally had good luck with weigh watchers and with South Beach. It is good that you are active getting things ready (and the house) which hopefully makes going to the gym less important.
I have also had success eating the required amount of fruits and veggies a day (leaves less room for the bad food that tastes so good) and cutting out sugar (esp in soft drinks)

Also I would give the shapewear a trial run. In my experience it has made me a stuffed sausage...not exactly how imagine you want to feel on your wedding day.

Good Luck, I hoep something works out for you and that you have a wonderful day.
posted by TheLibrarian at 10:28 AM on May 22, 2006

I will agree with the low carb diet thing. When I went on South Beach a year and a half ago, I lost 15 lb. the first two weeks, and 25 lb. the first month, eventually losing almost 70 lb. in 6 months.

(I'm getting ready to plunge in all over again, as I've gained almost 25 lb. back from my low point!)
posted by Doohickie at 10:46 AM on May 22, 2006

I lost 10 pounds in less than 2 months on weight watchers: Helps you watch exactly what you're eating.

Also, try a corset. My sister wore one with her wedding gown - she's not fat, (5'4", 135 pounds?) but it was amazing how much it held her stomach in, and helped the midsection fit better and lay flat.
posted by eleyna at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2006

Figure out how many calories you eat a day (try Fitday, Calorie King etc). Then cut it by 500 until the dress fits. Making lifestyle changes is great for the long term, but with a specific goal I suspect that approach will be more stressful than just a sensible calorie cutting diet.
posted by crabintheocean at 12:19 PM on May 22, 2006

Presumably you are already spending a fortune on this wedding, so I don't feel bad advising you to spend more. (Sunk costs and all that.)

Hire the trainer, have the trainer help you set goals for diet and exercise. The fact that you actually have to pay for and schedule the trainer is a strong motivator.

Unless a woman is anorexic or wearing vintage Dior New Look, she should always wear a Merry Widow or other corsetlike garment under a tightly fitted formal dress. Even if you lose 10 pounds and a dress size in the next 2 months (which I am confident you will), a Merry Widow will assure a smooth line and incidentally will reinforce good posture. (When you slouch in a boned garment, the bones tend to poke.)

And congratulations for addressing this issue a whole 2 months before your wedding. I know girls who would panic the Tuesday before!
posted by La Cieca at 1:40 PM on May 22, 2006

I'll also vouch for the counting calories thing. YMMV, but eating only 1200-1500 calories a day should allow you to lose 1-2 lbs a week. Don't eat less than 1200 a day; if that happens your body will go into starvation mode and the weight won't come off. Excercise if you go over your calorie allowance. I was in a semi-similar situation where all I wanted to do was have my favourite jeans fit comfortably again. I lost 7 lbs in a month, and now they fit fine. is your friend.

Pay attention to the liquids you're drinking. Even "healthy" liquids like juice, etc can contain a load of calories (100+ for a glass of OJ, for example). I no longer drink anything with calories, sticking to just water and diet drinks, and so far my weight's staying off...
posted by cgg at 2:40 PM on May 22, 2006

If you desperately need to lose weight for a one-time event, there's always dehydrative weight cutting. 5-10 lbs should be safe enough, though you'll probably have a splitting headache until you rehydrate, and if you rehydrate at the reception who knows what sort of fabric-stretching mayhem may ensue?
posted by cardboard at 5:37 PM on May 22, 2006

I think dehydration is a really bad idea, one time only or not.
Dehydration can cause your potassium to dip and your heart to beat quickly.
You need to feel 100% and not take any chances that may compromise the day.
posted by TheLibrarian at 6:04 PM on May 22, 2006

Leggs make a lightweight body shaper. My friend uses them and says they are comfortable. Plus, they're like nylon stockings - slippery, which helps a dress not bind. Try the dress on w/ a pair.
posted by theora55 at 7:18 PM on May 22, 2006

Eat ONLY fruit for breakfast.
Eat a small lunch, with little fat and lots of protein.
Eat a snack (protein bar, perhaps)
Eat 80 percent vegetables for dinner if you must use butter, use smart balance rather than butter. Broccolli is the best vegetable. Have that a lot of the time, with other vegetables too.
Drink a lot of water.
Be sure to eat a LOT of fruits and vegetables.
Cardio at least 3 times a week (running is the best). Drink at least half a gallon of water a day.
You follow this, you will lose. No doubt.
posted by pegalam at 6:54 AM on May 26, 2006

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