One-time actress goes on a 'Bridal Bootcamp'

Michelle Stewart
Michelle StewartDateline NBC
/ Source: Dateline NBC

Meet Michelle
Michelle Stewart is a one-time aspiring actress. Two years ago, she became a mother and soon after settled into a comfortable relationship with her fiancé. Unfortunately, along with that came a little too much comfort food as well.

While she's the fifth bride in the "Dateline Bridal Diet Challenge," her fiancé specifically says for her not to go crazy: “His phrase of choice is ‘Nobody likes bones but a dog.’”

Michelle has meat on her bones but as far as she’s concerned, it’s a little too much.

Unfortunately, her early professional life put an emphasis on the physical: “A lot of what I’ve done, personally and professionally over my life has been completely based around physical appearances.”

At 5 feet 6 inches and 167 lbs., Stewart hopes to drop 30 lbs. by her wedding. And she, like two of our other brides, ordered a dream dress too small — she’ll have to lose two dress sizes to fit into it.

For her diet and workout plan she chose “Bridal Bootcamp” written by Cynthia Conde. The diet emphasizes five small meals a day with a careful balance of whole grain breads and cereals, lean meats like chicken and fish, and dietary fats like yogurt.

“I want to see my stomach flat and smooth again,” says Stewart. “I want to see some space between my thighs. And I don’t want to see this,” she says pointing to her hips.

Month 1
Michelle lives with her fiance, a hip-hop radio DJ, who loves to talk about Stewart on the air. But he goes one step further to support his bride and joins her in dieting. That means whatever she can’t eat, he can’t eat either. Stewart’s trainer clears out their cabinets.

“I want her to lose weight if it’ll make her feel better and healthier, if it keeps me with her for the rest of my life,” says Victor.

Stewart will have to exercise three times a week, which will be a big hurdle. Besides being a mother, she also attends school and has a part-time job — not to mention her wedding planning. For this self-described perfectionist, every decision is painstaking.

Month 2
Things are looking up for Stewart as the weight is going down. But the comforts of her old life still beckon: She misses the spontaneity of eating whatever she wants, whenever she wants.

“I’m so used to just eating on the fly and throwing the bag in my backseat,” she says. “There’s none of that now.”

While Stewart seems to have her food cravings under control, she still struggles to fit in the hour-long bridal bootcamp workouts three times a week — especially with all her wedding errands.  There are limousines and bridesmaids’ dresses to choose.

Will all the stress of wedding planning affect her weight loss results?

Michelle weighed 167 lbs. at the beginning of the challenge. Now she’s lost 10 lbs. Clearly she’s doing something right.

Month 5
Michelle experiences the frustration of dieting. “I’m sick of dieting. I’m sick of exercising — exercising stinks,” she says.

Stewart has dropped 12 lbs., but it’s less than halfway to her goal. And she’s hit a plateau. Her wedding is just weeks away, and she’s desperate to lose weight.

To get Stewart motivated again, Conde suggests a laxative, but only under her professional supervision.

“I want you to really understand that normally I would not ask someone to do a double cleanse,” says her trainer Cynthia Conde.

It’s a potentially dangerous dieting strategy and Stewart will only lose water weight.  It’s unpleasant, but Stewart drops 8 more pounds.

The weight is falling off, but her wedding plans are falling behind. “[I’m] trying not to be Bridezilla and controlling of every minute detail.”

Dateline NBC

The wedding day
On her wedding date, Stewart's scale says 141.6 lbs. She lost a total of 26 lbs.

Though it’s just short of her 30-lbs. goal, Stewart dropped three dramatic dress sizes from a tight size 12 to a perfect 6.

Michelle had a big surprise for her walk down the aisle — the blushing bride wore a crimson wedding gown.

Did she keep the weight off?
Michelle has put on a few extra pounds since the wedding, but for good reason — she and husband Victor are expecting a baby in October.