A fair bit of time has passed since my Big Day. On 23rd May 2015, I married the love of my life in a quaint little town - Lanouaille situated in Dordogne, France. My Wedding week was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, but more so than that, I can now share that .... I managed to fit into THE DRESS! The dress, being the Princess Wedding Gown I had purposely bought TWO SIZES TOO SMALL. And this is my story...
I got engaged in Barbados on August 2013 and we decided on a fairly long engagement as I wanted enough time to plan my Dream Wedding. Within a month of getting engaged, I found THE DRESS at a Vogue Bridal sample event while I was shopping with a friend for her Wedding dress. It was the very first dress I picked up as I walked into the room and the first I tried on - it was destined to be! The only problem was, it didn't fit and this was the only dress available of its kind. The bodice was elegantly held together with buttons rather than the usual ribbon and bow (which didn't leave much room for manipulation). As I stared in the mirror holding the dress up against myself, I realised I had a long way to go before I even felt close to comfortable with my silhouette in any Bridal gown. I stepped out of the dress and hung it up back on its rail.
As we continued to shop for my friend, I joined her in trying on dresses of all different shapes and sizes (some for real and some for fun) but my mind kept drifting back to that first dress. At the end of our session I walked past the dress one last time and the seamstress who must have spotted me from earlier asked why I didn't buy the dress, to which I replied 'it's way too small, I'll never fit into it'. She looked at me, looked at the dress and asked me to try it on one more time. This time around she helped me in and managed to do up 2 or 3 of the bottom buttons leaving the top hanging more than 4 inches open. She put me in front of the mirror and said 'this dress suits your shape perfectly, we could alter it slightly for you, when's your wedding?' As I replied May 2015 I thought to myself - I'm going to get this dress and I don't want to alter it. I want it to fit me perfectly. At that point I made the decision to buy the dress that was obviously too small with the intention to fit myself into it - I had a year and a half to pull it off and I had no idea what my game plan was!
At first I tried all the obvious ways one would think of to lose weight. I tried to sign up to loads of runs to motivate me but I found myself doing a couple training runs and getting to race day with little to no training under my belt. I'm not a great runner so it was difficult to to keep at it - plus I was going at it alone which is never easy. I started eating salads for lunch and reduce my portions for dinner - this made a small difference but not enough. I started personal training but because I wasn't signed up to a gym I was training only once a week so the progression wasn't noticeable and every week felt like i was starting back at square one.
It all changed toward the end of 2013 when the four of us attended a class together (the hula hoop class from our very first blog post for those of you that can remember). We spent some time after that class discussing personal goals and what we each did to stay fit or lose weight.
Though the fourfits blog only really formed in April 2014, I'd say the end of 2013 marked the beginning of a friendship and the best support group I could have found during this time. Nat was on a similar weight loss journey for her wedding which was a lot sooner than mine so I remember her progress being a huge inspiration for me . Kate, our original fourfitsister was an avid cyclist - she'd cycle to/from work and sometimes even further just for fun. I never learnt how to cycle growing up but that Christmas I asked Chris (my husband, then boyfriend) for a bicycle. It took me a day or two but I taught myself to ride a bike (yet another throwback to one of our earlier posts). Vicki and I lived together at the time so rather than my meagre attempts at running, I could join her for a cycle every now and then.
After the New Year I signed up to a local gym and started attending classes. I eased myself in with Zumba, Pilates and Yoga. I have always loved boxing so I threw a few classes in here and there. When I got more comfortable I started experimenting with weights, going to boot camp, body conditioning & body pump classes. I still remember the first time I tried 'leg day' with Chris - I was literally walking like a penguin for days, wanting to roll myself down the stairs rather than bear the pain. It was something I had never experienced and I just didn't understand how people got through it, but I guess you do and you quickly learn to work through it and keep going back. Spinning was another one - as with everyone's first few spin classes - ouch! I can't help but giggle as I sit here writing down all of these memories, which to be fair, weren't too long ago as I can't believe how foreign it all felt back then when it's all so routine now.
Where 2014 introduced us, 2015 exploded the fitness game. With January 2015 came the realisation that I was getting married in just a few months so I consistently attended classes and began the notion of #ShreddingFOURthewedding
THE DRESS FITTING
As my wedding drew closer, I had to start getting the last items in order. One of the key things being getting the length of my dress altered (yup, I'm a shorty!) I attended my first dress fitting at Golden Sash Bridal with Vicki, who was my maid of honour. At this point I hadn't tried my dress on since the day I bought it so I was both excited and highly anxious. With only 2 months to go I knew I was running out of time...
As the lovely Ilona of placed my wedding dress on me I closed my eyes and waited... Everything felt really tight around my ribcage and I remember struggling to breathe. I turned back to look in the mirror and it was now it was the top 3 buttons that didn't close - the 4 inch gap had reduced to 2.5 inches. I was concerned with time restriction and a little deflated but it did mean I was moving in the right direction - that's what I had to hold onto. As we were discussing tailoring the length, Ilona asked me what I intended to do with the back. I kept firm that I didn't want to tailor the bodice. She smiled back supportively but there was a hint of realism in her eyes. She straightforwardly explained that she has seen this a few times over with Brides that have the best of intentions. She wanted to make sure that I understood the costs & time involved having to tailor the dress last minute. I respected her honesty but insisted that for now, it was only the length I wanted to alter. We agreed a timeline so that instead of coming for regular fittings I would come back for a final fitting 3 weeks before my wedding - this would allow her enough time to tailor the bodice (if it really didn't fit).
On my way home from the Bridal Boutique I hit a startling realisation that I had roughly 6 weeks to shed the last 2.5 inches off my back. Determination kicked in and I knew I had to do everything in my power to get it done. If you read any of my earlier posts this was the exact moment I practically threw myself at every workout, training regime, any weight loss activity I could get involved in. Chris meal prepped for me to make sure I was eating balanced meals during training and I stayed well away from sugar! Within 4 weeks I saw a dramatic improvement, I didn't weigh myself but instead took photos to document my progress.
The amazing people I had met along the way offered motivation, personal advice and even tailored training sessions to help me achieve my aim.
On the day of my final (but potentially 'not final' dress fitting) I left the office for my appointment feeling sick. Ilona had already tailored the length so now all our attention was on whether or not the bodice fit. I suddenly felt overambitious in my aims and embarrassed because I had blasted #ShreddingFOURtheWedding all over fourfits_ and my personal social accounts.
As gutting as it felt, I prepared myself just in case. This time round I couldn't close my eyes, they were fixed at the mirror as Ilona helped me into my dress. For just one moment I glanced down to take a peek at the new length of my dress. I remember thinking she had cut it perfectly as she suddenly stopped doing up the buttons. As I was about to ask how far I'd come, I took a look around and the dress was done up... all the way to the top... I couldn't believe it! I was internally doing a little victory dance inside my own head (I probably would have tried to do it in person but my heels were far too high and dress far to big). I was beyond ecstatic, I hugged her and her husband brought Vicki and I a bottle of bubbly to celebrate!
THE SECOND DRESS
In the back of my mind I had always planned to have a second wedding dress. Something a little smaller to change into after the ceremony. Because I had spent so much of my time trying to fit into my first dress I had forgotten to even think about buying a second. With a couple weeks to spare, I could dedicate a little bit of time to finding that second dress.
As decisive as I was when buying the first dress, it took me a few hours and a couple of dress changes with my most epic bridal team (my Man of Honour & Two Maids of Honour). This time round I was looking for something with a little more glam. I wanted to walk down the aisle in a beautifully traditional wedding gown and do complete 180 and do myself up for the evening celebrations - red lippy and all. Although, I felt the greatest sense of achievement on the day I fit into my Wedding dress, it wasn't until I tried on the second dress that I really realised how much weight I had in fact loss. I felt slim, I actually felt sexy.
THE FINAL HOORAH
Almost there, I kept on going, wanting to tone my back as much as I could in the limited time I had. I could now fit into my dress but I wanted to feel great in it. Around this time fourfits became Somuchmore #wellbeingwarriors. Somuchmore really helped vary my regime in the last few weeks. I opted for classes which focused on strengthening & toning.
Matt from fitmibody tailored a PT session on the week of my Wedding for the specific #ShreddingFOURtheWedding cause. He paid specific attention to my arms and back (and boy did I feel it the next few days after!).
We kicked off Wedding week with our UK Civil Ceremony. I remember putting time aside to keep involved in any workout available to me. The day before our Civil Wedding Natasha invited us to the Somuchmore #Lunchboost which I went to because I saw it as another opportunity to stay active.
Even during the lead up in France, we kept the fitness theme alive with the boys playing tennis/football and my Bridal Party & fourfits girls working out in the Chateau grounds. Some of the Wedding crew even went for a run & swim the day before - the support and motivation surrounded me!
Finally The Big Day arrived and I can't begin to explain how happy and BADASS I felt as my best friend did up the buttons on back of my dress. The tightness I once felt was no longer present, I could move freely and sit down without feeling constricted. I had achieved the mission I had set myself at the beginning of fourfits...