My friends were stunned when they saw me at my wedding. I have lost 25 pounds and I don’t know how many inches. They could not believe how toned, fit, and healthy I looked. I feel great! I’m a Nursing student, and working—and have a very ill father. Without the workouts and healthy eating I would have been even more of a nervous wreck during the weeks leading up to my wedding. Everything went fantastically well and my father was able to walk me up the aisle on my wedding day. It was truly the happiest day of my life.
In the year leading up to my wedding, I stopped exercising and started eating anything that made me feel better. The reason? I was stressed out from planning a wedding, attending nursing school, and trying to come to terms with my father’s illness. (He was battling lung cancer and, unfortunately, lost the fight shortly after my wedding.) My personal well-being took a backseat to everything else, and as a result I gained 30 pounds.
It finally took a Christmas trip to the Caribbean and a conversation with my father to make my health a priority. He saw that I wasn’t comfortable in my swimsuit, and that my self-esteem was suffering. He helped me realize I could no longer take my good health for granted. It’s a gift. Plus, John and I were having a big wedding. I knew I’d be meeting a lot of my fianceé’s family for the first time, and I wanted to look my best. I needed to take care of myself.
So I began the New Year with a new attitude. In February, six months before my wedding, I began working out with The Healthy Bride, which are group classes run by personal trainer Christi Masi. John even paid for me to have some personal training sessions with Christi because he knew how much I enjoyed working out with her. Having Christi’s help empowered me to work out on my own, too, and I ended up exercising six days a week.
Through it all, my dad was my biggest supporter. He helped me stay motivated and keep my eye on the long-term goal. And I knew it made him happy to see that I was taking my health seriously.
John was also a great source of support. We started cooking more at home, and making healthy food choices together. We also planned a five-day hike in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula a month and a half after the wedding, to motivate us to continue leading a healthy lifestyle.
By the time my wedding day, July 9, 2005, arrived, I’d lost 22 pounds and walked down the aisle on my dad’s arm wearing a strapless Vera Wang dress. It meant the world to me to have him there, knowing how proud he was and how beautiful he thought I looked. I was so happy to be marrying my husband, and I felt so good about myself for meeting my goal. I was prepared, physically and mentally, to begin the next chapter of our lives together.