Losing Weight Without Dieting -- My Bridal Story

Written with love, by Jennifer Dene

Shortly after I got engaged I gained 30 pounds. Pretty bad timing!

I had recently moved to the United States from Sydney, Australia, and had a lot going on in my life that led to this sudden weight gain. While this impacted my self-esteem as a Pilates and fitness trainer, I also felt totally anxious about how I would look and feel on my wedding day (and in my wedding photos).

As the date approached I was desperate to lose weight, so, against my better judgement, I turned to extreme diets and exercise routines. 

Not only did these methods not work, they made me feel miserable and totally detracted from my engagement experience — I mean, you should be able to have a glass of champagne and a chocolate cupcake at your bridal shower without feeling guilty!

Fortunately, after creating my own fitness and nutrition program, I was able to get the bombshell bride results that I desired, without diets and deprivation. 

This week on Mind Body Bride I share three of the techniques I use to live with ease at my ideal weight, as well as a roundup of some of MBB's favorite workouts, recipes and relaxation tips. 

I can't wait to see you there!

With love,
     Jennifer Dene

3 Non-Weight Loss Reasons Why Brides Should Exercise (plus an at-home workout video)

Written with love, by Jennifer Dene

Bridal Workout.png

We received a comment on social media recently about the negative connotations of #sheddingforthewedding and you know what? I couldn’t agree more. The stereotype, or expectation, of being a certain “wedding weight” is unfair and ridiculous, and it has to stop.

Today I’ll tell you the reasons why I want to exercise everyday, and help you set your own pre-wedding fitness goals that have nothing to do with weight loss. Then I’ll give you a fun workout that you can do at home.

But first, let me remind you that you are already a beautiful bride, with a beautiful body. Together we can create a new culture of brides who love their bodies, love their engagement experience and are able to find and maintain a healthy lifestyle leading up to their wedding day (and for life happily ever after).

OK, let’s dive in!

Three Reasons Why I’m Motivated To Workout Everyday

It Clears My Head

I may no longer be a busy bride, but I am a busy newlywed.

This year alone I’ve had three international trips, moved across the country and started my own business. Plus there are the logistics of organizing everyday life – keeping up with friends, tidying the house, spending quality time with family, remembering birthdays… you know how it is.

I’ve come to realize that there isn’t much space for “me time” in the 9 – 5 (or 6am – 6pm as it often seems to be), so that’s what my workout becomes. This half hour is an opportunity to clear my head of its never ending to-do list, and simply focus on my body and my breath.

 It Helps My Skin

I had a lot of skin trouble growing up, but these days I hardly ever see a spot. Why? I credit my clear skin to these three things:

1.    Minimizing sugar consumption

2.    Finding Paula’s Choice

3.    Having a good sweat each day

Working out boosts circulation, which helps to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. As heart rate increases blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells — it’s like getting the benefits of a facial from the inside out.

It’s An Opportunity To Be Social

Most of my friends are also very active people, so weekend catch-ups might revolve around hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding or attending yoga classes.

Especially now that my husband and I live in Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon for visiting friends to want to hike Runyon Canyon, or bike ride from Venice to Malibu.

Not only does this leave me feeling better (and wealthier) than a long night spent drinking cocktails, I find that conversation flows with ease when our hands and feet are busy doing something else.

Organizing an active social event with your bridesmaids would be a fun and relaxed way for everyone to get to know each other!

A Note On Rest Days

Did I really just say that I’m motivated to workout everyday? Yep! It’s rare that I would have a day when I literally didn’t do anything active, it just doesn’t make me feel good. But that doesn’t mean I’m doing high intensity training everyday either. My body gets plenty of rest because I diversify my workouts. Some days I simply take a walk or do a stretch class.

So, if you struggle with the desire to exercise regularly, perhaps start by re-framing what a “workout” should look like. For me, it’s simply anything that gets my body moving and blood flowing.

Your Challenge

This week I encourage you to establish three, non-weight loss reasons why it would benefit you to exercise regularly in the lead up to your wedding.

I’d love to hear your reasons in the comments below!

Your Workout

Now that you’re feeling motivated to work out, it’s time to get this show on the road!

This week I have a simple at-home circuit that doesn’t require any equipment. The moves are simple, but don’t let that fool you. By moving quickly from one exercise to the next you are getting a cardio boost alongside the benefits of strength training.

1.    Start with a 5 minute walk around the neighborhood to warm up

2.    Next, set your timer for 6 minutes and repeat as many repetitions of the circuit as you can

3.    Rest for 60 seconds and repeat a total of three or four rounds

The Moves

5 pushups

10 situps

15 tricep dips

20 squats

30 lunges

40 butt kicks

50 high knees

Video Tutorial

Disclaimer: Exercise is not without its risks and this this or any other exercise program may result in injury. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy or have physical discomfort you should stop immediately and consult a medical professional. Always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. If you choose to use this information without the prior consent of your physician, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for your decisions.

Inner Thighs of Steel

Written with love, by Nikki Lian

Although you may be feeling like you’re getting a full body workout working through your exercise routine, sometimes certain areas of our body can lag behind.  Unfortunately, one of these body parts happens to be the inner thighs.  If you’re having some what of a similar problem, here are a few exercises you can add to your leg routine that will pick up the pace of this stubborn area.


Reverse Jane Fondas

One of my older clients calls her side leg lifts “Jane Fondas” so the name stuck.  A modification of this basic exercise is what I call a Reverse Jane Fonda.  Lay on your side, and put your top leg over your bottom leg with your foot flat and knee bent (see below).  Instead of raising your top leg, you’re raising your straightened bottom leg, targeting your inner thighs.  You may have done this particular exercise in a recent pilates class.

inner thigh at home workout


Sumo Squats with Kettle Bell

You don’t’ necessarily need a kettle bell to do this exercise, but if you’d like to add a little weight to your workout you can (or you can use a dumbbell).  Like a plie squat, get into a wide stance.  With the kettle bell in your hand and your feet slightly turned out, go into a deep squat.  We don’t turn our feet out all the way on this one because we want our butt to get as low to the ground as possible.

inner thigh at home workout


Fire Hydrants

You can probably tell from the picture why we call these Fire Hydrants.  I like to add these in sequence with a lower-body floor exercise such as Butt Blasters and Jane Fondas.  Down on your mat on all fours and keeping your knee bent, lift your leg (as if you were a dog doing your business on a hydrant—sorry but it’s the best way to describe it)!!  Bring your knee back down to starting position.

inner thigh at home workout


Side Lunges

Side lunges are basically a stretch you are doing over and over again.  Take a big step out to the side, keeping your feet squared.  The leg that is planted keep straight, and the other leg bend until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh of the leg that is straight.  Once you feel the stretch, push back up with the foot that you stepped with into starting position.

I like to do each exercise on one leg first, and then switch to the other side.  I’d recommend 12-15 repetitions each set for three sets.  You should start feeling it after the workout and if you don’t feel it’s enough, add weight!!  Leg weights are great to use and are usually adjustable to your comfort level.

A special shout out to my client Beth, who actually likes working this body part out the best and is making tremendous progress!!