I know that there are many lists out in the world that detail what to do after a girl becomes engaged. I am going to tell everyone, right now, exactly what to do the second she accepts the marriage proposal...START TONING UP! Seriously! I beg each and every bride, mother, and bridesmaid to begin a routine as soon as you realize that you need to shop for a dress.

Brides, you know from a lifetime of shopping that you are not going to like anything unless you feel good about yourself. Trying on wedding dresses is like trying on designer jeans. You have a vision of what you wish to look like, but then, there you are, face to face with yourself hating every inch of your skin. Why? It is not because you don't look beautiful, it's because you don't feel confident, and nobody can tell you that you look like a princess if you don't feel like one. And yes, confidence comes from the inside, but it sure helps if you feel like you have some control over your figure on the outside. And that it is what it all comes down to, control over your shape. Outsiders do not know what your body hang-ups are. Everyone has a "thing". So don't wait until you are in a salon to realize that you need to work on a certain area. Identify the problem area as soon as possible. If it is your arms, and you hate the arm flags waiving in the wind, get to work on them the day after you put that ring on your finger. If it's your abs or love handles that you hate, then get on the floor and do some sit-ups. If you just do a few workouts before you start shopping you will feel lighter and tighter and things will just feel and look better to you.

Mothers, and I am one myself, the same advice holds true for you. Do not wait until 3 months before the wedding to decide you are going to shake a few pounds. Let's face it. Your metabolism isn't what it used to be. The minute you realize that you need to buy a new, important, and usually expensive dress, put the wine glass down (after the second glass at least) or, don't eat the bread before dinner, or better yet, just give up one little desert every now and then. Again, it might just make a small difference, but your image staring back at you in the mirror will be happier because you know you are not waiting until the last minute to commit to making a change for the better. Ladies, it really isn't that hard. Just take control and get started and the whole shopping process will be much more enjoyable and less stressful.

Bridesmaids, whether you realize it or not, your bride really does want you to like the dress she has chosen. Now, even though we all know that is next to impossible, you can pretend that it is the best bridesmaids dress you've ever worn. Please, please, please, I beg you, do not cry over how you look in the dress. Just take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror and realize that it's not the dress that makes you happy it's you and how you feel about yourself. So, if you know you need to tone up, get busy fast. Your bride will love you, and better yet the sales associates will love and appreciate you even more.

So ladies, put the fork down before you take that last bite, take an extra step somewhere in your day, or lift something a little heavier than you are accustomed. And just think, if you are not doing it for yourself, you are doing a charitable service for the people around you. Because whether you realize it or not, that is exactly what you are doing and we thank you.

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