Drop A Dress Size In Just Two Weeks

If you have a major event in just two weeks’ time and you are desperate to shed some weight in order to fit into your dress, then we've got you covered. We've compiled a diet and exercise plan on how to drop a dress size in just a fortnight.

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Provided you are willing to put in some effort, you can really make a difference to your weight in just 14 days and drop a dress size. Okay, so you can't - and shouldn't - undergo a major transformation in two weeks, but you can shed a little excess weight, firm up slack muscles, overhaul your posture and get your body firing on all cylinders - thereby ridding yourself of sluggish digestion, bloating, poor circulation and flagging energy levels.

It is important to point out that this is not a sustainable weight-loss plan for the long term! The best way to lose weight in the long term is to follow a balanced, healthy diet that brings about a gradual and sustainable weight loss, coupled with an increase in physical activity.

How to drop a dress size: The 14-day weight loss exercise plan

Our 14-day plan tackles excess body weight by encouraging you to do aerobic exercise, resistance training and reduce your calorie intake:

Aerobic exercise will increase your calorie expenditure and, of course, get your most important muscle of all (your heart, girls, not your butt!) in shape. Your ‘daily dose’ of aerobic exercise should aim to burn 300-400 calories per session and it is best to vary the type of activity you choose, both to reduce the risk of injury and to provide physical and mental variety.

Resistance training will firm and strengthen weak, flabby muscles and prevent the loss of lean muscle mass that usually accompanies dieting. It will also improve your posture by creating balance between opposing muscle groups, enhancing the  function of stabilizing muscles, and improving the range of motion. The full-body resistance workout gets all your major muscles involved with just nine moves, by working more than one muscle group at a time thereby saving time and getting you the best results.

The third prong of the fork is moderate calorie reduction, in order to maximise the deficit between the amount of energy you consume and the amount you burn. We suggest cutting your intake by 350 calories per day which amounts to a 17.5 per cent reduction on a typical 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. This is sufficient to make a significant difference, but not so much that you won’t have the energy to complete your workouts.

How to drop a dress size: Your day-by-day exercise action plan

Day 1

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Take a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplement every day for the next two weeks, as they have been shown to enhance fat burning and lean tissue growth.

Day 2

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least ten-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing.

Extra helper: Drink a cup of coffee an hour before your workout today to maximize the use of fat as a fuel.

Day 3

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Substitute one sugary canned drink or an alcoholic one with a fresh juice or fruit smoothie (containing no added sugar). This will help to reduce your calorie intake.

Day 4

Daily dose: 45-minute to one-hour aerobics or step class, or exercise video.

Extra helper: Ensure you are getting eight hours’ sleep a night, to help you recover from the workouts.

Day 5

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least 10-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Eliminate bloating by ensuring you eat plenty of potassium-rich foods, such as dried apricots, bananas, potatoes and kiwi fruit.

Day 6

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling.

Extra helper: Practise drawing your navel in towards your spine throughout the day. This is the tummy-flattening move you’ll need for that figure-hugging dress!

Day 7

Daily dose: Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Stretch out classically tight hip flexors, chest and shoulders with yoga’s ‘inverted staff’ posture. To do this, lie face-up across a foot stool with a pillow on it, with your feet on the floor and your arms outstretched beside your ears. Hold the position for at least a minute. You could alternatively use a Swiss ball instead of a foot stool.

Day 8

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least 10-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing.

Extra helper: Make sure you eat some protein with every meal - it helps you to feel satisfied and uses up more calories in digestion than fat or carbohydrate.

Day 9

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Start body brushing to boost circulation and aid the release of toxins. It gets your skin glowing, too! Always brush upwards, towards the heart.

Day 10

Daily dose: 45-minute to one-hour aerobics or step class, or exercise video.

Extra helper: Practise the ‘carb curfew’ (i.e. don’t eat any carbs after 5pm) for the next four days. That means no pasta, rice, bread or potatoes with your evening meal, but plenty of veg or salad. The body holds on to 3g of water for every 1g of carbohydrate it stores, so this strategy will help you to shed weight by reducing your overall carbohydrate intake.

Day 11

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least 10-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Drink green tea. Studies show that it boosts the metabolism which means you’ll burn calories more quickly.

Day 12

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling.

Extra helper: Book yourself in for a professional fake tan (or DIY it!). Darker skin will make you look slimmer!

Day 13

Daily dose: Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Follow your final resistance circuit with a full-body stretch, holding each position for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively, treat yourself to a sports massage to iron out tension and tightness.

Day 14

Daily dose: 45-minute to one-hour aerobics or step class, or exercise video.

Extra helper: When you go to your planned party, wear solid colours (black, brown and other dark shades are most slimming), put your hair up, and wear heels to create a taller, longer, slimmer silhouette! Go girl…

Drop a dress size exercises: The resistance circuit

Perform the resistance circuit after your aerobic exercise (running, swimming, cycling, elliptical training, rowing, or walking) to save time warming up. On days where there is no aerobic exercise listed, warm up for at least five minutes by walking, marching on the spot, and performing some general gentle circling, bending and extending motions.

Aim to do one set of each of the following nine exercises, and then repeat the whole sequence again (the number of repetitions suggested is given in each case). Do the exercises in the order shown, so you give muscles that have just been worked a chance to recover before they are called upon again.

Squat jump

Works 70 per cent of the body’s musculature, according to studies - including pretty much every muscle below the belt!

Stand with feet below hipbones, tummy gently pulled in and arms relaxed by your sides. Lower your bottom down into a squat position (thighs close to parallel to the floor, knees behind toes), and then leap up as high as you can, landing straight back into the next squat. You can use your arms to help propel you. Aim for eight repetitions.

Dips

Works the back of the arms, upper back and shoulders.

Shuffle to the front of a low coffee table or use your bottom stair, with your hands gripping the edge (fingers pointing forwards) and your shoulders pressed back and down. Your legs should be bent, feet flat on the floor. Now, lower yourself towards the ground by bending the arms but do not allow the shoulders to roll forwards. Only go so far as to create a right angle at the elbow joint. Execute each repetition slowly, focusing on using the muscles at the back of the upper arm to push you up. Aim for 12 repetitions.

Ball curl-ups

Works the abdominals.

Sit on a stability ball close to a wall and maneuver yourself so that your feet are against the wall and you are facing it. Lie back on the ball, with your fingers lightly supporting your head, and position your bottom at the very front of the ball’s surface. Now draw your navel to your spine and curl the shoulders and torso upward. Pause, then lower and repeat. Aim for 16 repetitions.

Lunge with overhead press

Works the bottom, thighs, shoulders and back of upper arms.

You’ll need a little coordination for this one! Stand with feet below hip bones, and a weight in each hand, resting on your shoulders. Lunge forward with your right leg, bending the knee, and allowing the left foot to come off the floor and the left knee to travel towards the floor. Simultaneously, extend the arms overhead - lifting the weights straight up, with palms facing forwards. As you return the right leg to the start position, lower the weights back to the shoulders. Lift them again as you step forward with the left leg.

Aim for 12 alternating repetitions.

Ball pullover

Works upper and mid back, and chest and stabilising muscles.

Take a weight in both hands (hold the stem with both hands) and carefully lower yourself backwards onto a stability ball, with the weight suspended directly over your chest. Stabilise yourself by keeping the bottom and ab muscles tight and your pelvis level, and then extend the weight up and over your head, allowing the arms to slightly bend as the weight lowers behind you. Pause, then draw the weight back to the start position without arching your back and repeat. Aim for eight repetitions.

Step-up with biceps curls

Works hips, thighs, bottom and biceps.

Stand in front of a step that is between ankle height and just below the knee (the lower the easier), with a weight in each hand. Step up with the right foot, ensuring the foot goes fully onto the step with the heel down. As you step up, bend both arms and bring the weights in towards the shoulders. As you step down, lower the weights by straightening the arms. Now step up with the left foot, repeating the arm curl. Aim for 20 repetitions.

Incline push-up with rear-leg lifts

Works chest, upper arms, shoulders, bottom and back of thighs.

Stand a metre in front of a sturdy table and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge. Draw your navel in towards your spine, and bring your body into a straight line from the heels to the crown. Now, lower your chest towards the table by bending the arms at the elbow. Simultaneously, extend one leg behind you, really squeezing the bottom to lift it. Lower the leg as you straighten the arms. Lift the other leg as you perform the next rep, and continue to alternate for the rest of the set. Aim for 12 repetitions.

Ball roll-ins

Works core stabilizers, abdominals, chest, front of shoulders, upper arms and hip flexors.

Lie face down over a stability ball, shunt forward until just your knees are on the ball and your weight is supported on your hands and arms shoulder width apart. Contract the abdominals and tilt the pelvis so your back is in a straight line with the legs. Now curl the ball in towards your chest by contracting the abs and rolling the ball towards your torso with your lower legs. Your hips should never be below shoulder height and your shoulders should be drawn back. Do the move slowly, with control, taking four to five seconds each way. Aim for eight repetitions.

Bridge with fly

Works glutes, lower back, inner thighs and chest.

Lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and a cushion, rolled-up towel or foam ball between your knees and a weight in each hand, held extended above the chest. Raise the body up by rolling through the spine enough to allow the pelvis to clear the floor, squeezing the cushion with your inner thighs to maintain the position. Visualise your knees moving away from your body. Now, holding this position, lower your arms out to the sides at nipple level (keeping the elbows slightly bent). Pause just before they reach the floor, and then return your arms to the start position. Complete all repetitions while maintaining the pelvic bridge. Aim for eight repetitions.

Continuing with our drop a dress size in just two weeks here are some diet tips to help you cut your calorie intake and complement the exercise workouts listed earlier. This is sufficient to make a significant difference, but not so much that you won’t have the energy to complete the workouts.

Top tips on how to cut calories

  • You might think the best way to zap 350 calories from your daily diet is simply to skip a meal. Wrong. Your body actually burns up calories in digesting food, so the fewer meals you eat, the less of a chance it has to do that. Space your meals out throughout the day.  
  • Downsize your portions by approximately a fifth on everything except for fruit and vegetables.  
  • Eat mindfully. You can’t afford to ‘waste’ calories by eating mindlessly at the fridge, or straight from the saucepan. Make sure that you sit down to savor all your meals and snacks.  
  • Don’t scrimp on protein. Eat a portion of protein at lunchtime - equal to the amount of carbohydrate you eat - to help avoid an energy slump in the afternoon, which could have you heading for the vending machine!  
  • Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper to fit in with the body’s natural metabolism which is primed in the morning and tails off during the day.  
  • Go easy on the mochas, flavored lattes and hot chocolates with cream on top! Stick to plain Americano coffee, tea or herbal tea for the next 2 weeks.  
  • Watch the booze. If you regularly drink your maximum recommended units (21 per week for women), then you are taking in more than 1,000 extra calories. Just one 440ml can of premium beer weighs in at 260 calories so opting for a soft drink instead over the next two weeks is a wise choice.

By following our 14-day action plan and our advice on resistance training and calorie cutting, you will hopefully be able to fit into that dress in time for your big event. But remember, this is only a short-term weight-loss plan. The best way to lose weight in the long term is to gradually increase your levels of physical activity and follow a balanced, healthy diet.

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