Wedding Health and Fitness

By riverajessica

 Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, a celebration of love and family. But the weeks and months leading up to it can be very stressful--a crash course on all things physically and mentally draining. With endless details to take care of, friends and family to coordinate, and the perfect dress to find, stress is a given. Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, is key to surviving this process.

We are here with a three-pronged approach to help you make it to the big day looking and feeling your best. With a little care and some time focusing on nutrition, exercise, and relaxation, you can look and feel better than you ever have in your life, on the most important day of your life!
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Nutrition


Good nutrition is important, especially during hectic times. Pick up a cookbook if you need to and regiment yourself into a healthier diet. Just because you're planning a wedding doesn't mean you can start skipping meals to lose weight, nor should you pig out on junk food to help combat jitters.  Keep an eye on what you are eating and try your best to enjoy balanced meals. A good diet is a very important part of the wedding planning process, whether you're trying to lose weight or just looking to keep your energy up. Below are some foods that are delicious, easy to eat on the fly, and give a great energy boost.

Energy Boosting Foods

Fresh Fruit


Fresh fruit  is loaded with nutrients and natural sugars. An organically grown snack of apple slices or a tasty banana can provide tons of fuel for your body and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Dried Fruit


As good as fruit is for you, you can't eat it everywhere you go. Luckily, organic dried fruit  is an appropriate snack in most situations, and provides the same energy.

Leafy Greens


Leafy greens like spinach ,lettuce , and kale are high in protein, calcium, and iron: all indispensable when you're burning through a lot of activity, as soon-to-be-marrieds often are.

Lentils


Whole lentils  are the base for many delicious dishes, and will add some variety (and nutrition) to your pre-wedding diet. Their high iron, high protein content makes them a bit of a super-food, too.

Nuts


Unsalted dry roasted nuts  are a vegan-friendly way to get much-needed protein into your diet. If you are opting for nuts, always go with unsalted.

Lean Meats


Lean meats like turkey, salmon ,white tuna , and chicken can keep you feeling energized and full, thanks to their protein content. You only need a sardine tin's-worth a day, so don't overdo it.

Coffee and Tea


Tea and coffee are obvious energy-boosting choices, but they have additional benefits, too. Both contain antioxidants, which will help keep you from becoming ill--vital when you're in the thick of planning.

Yoghurt


Yoghurt  is a food that's endlessly adaptable. You can add things to it, bake with it, or make it the prime ingredient in a soup or a smoothie. Live culture yoghurt  is also great for digestion, another super benefit.

Whole Grains


Not only are whole grain breads  a great energy food, but because they are slow to break down, you're less likely to have spikes in your sugar level later. Reduced post-meal drowsiness!

Skin-Healthy Foods

Maybe one of your goals is to improve the look of your skin. Well, here are some foods that will help improve your complexion:

Vitamin A

A sort of all-purpose vitamin that gets nowhere near the level of attention its counterpart vitamin C gets. Vitamin A is good for skin health: it helps cells regenerate properly and protects skin from harmful irritants. 

Foods That Contain Vitamin A:

Essential Fatty Acids

The diet-weary may cringe at the very mention of fat, but we promise, this stuff is beneficial. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 can reduce inflammation and supplement the immune system, both of which are vital for healthy skin.

Foods That Contain Essential Fatty Acids:

Selenium

It's best to get your dose of selenium from foods that contain other nutritional benefits, rather than targeting it specifically. A suitable dose of selenium in your diet can prevent free radical damage to your skin and prevent sunburn.

Foods That Contain Selenium:

Antioxidants

Said to protect skin cell membranes and help keep skin looking young and smooth, antioxidants are found in fresh fruits, vegetables, and other dietary staples. Generally, if it's got vitamin C or E in it, it also has antioxidant properties.

Foods That Contain Antioxidants:

Meal Suggestions


You don't have to sit around stuffing yourself with raisin bran and salads. This should be a positive time in your life, so try to incorporate these foods into meals you already enjoy:

  • Breakfast Meals
    • Instead of butter or jam, enjoy sardines or some no-salt peanut butter  spread on wholegrain toast. You can also enjoy this as a snack in the afternoon.
    • A more conventional breakfast: homemade porridge with honey, berries, and nuts. These will add flavour, important nutrients, and protein.
    • Make your own muesli  with dry rolled oats , chopped and dried fruit, lemon juice , milk, and organic honey . You'll get a nice variety of flavours without feeling too full.
  • Lunch Meals
    • A leafy green salad with lots of walnuts and berries (and a little zest!) can make for a satisfying lunch. Extra virgin olive oil  is a skin-healthy addition.
    • Want more protein in your diet? A lean turkey sandwich with kale  should do the trick.
    • How about some texture? Insalata Caprese (mozzarella  and tomato slices with basil leaves ), with a light sprinkling of sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, makes for a complex and filling salad.
    • Make an open-face sandwich. Start with low fat peanut butter on wheat bread  and place banana slices on top. Try to fit some raisins or dried currants  in between for a burst of extra flavour.
  • Dinner Meals
    • Salmon can be prepared in a number of ways--poached, broiled, grilled, baked, and even diced and placed in a sandwich--and still be as nutrient-rich and delicious as ever.
    • Wholegrain pasta  dishes make enjoying your favourite foods (spaghetti Bolognese, ravioli, and so on) a lot more healthy than white flour-based pastas. The same goes for brown rice  versus white.
  • Snacks for the day
    • Trail mix  is a tasty, welcome way to enjoy a little energy boost during the day. Put in classics like almonds, raisins, cashews, and dark chocolate chips , or even some Smarties . Experiment with different dried fruits, unsalted nuts, and other nutrient-rich dry treats. Put them in a small baggie or even an old mint tin  for a perfect portion size when you're on the go.
    • A less throat-parching option for a midday pick-me-up: fruit smoothies! Using your favourite fruits you can make a delicious drink that will keep you on your toes, energy-wise. A little yoghurt can add some texture (and a bit of valuable, low-lactose dairy!).

Stay Hydrated

The easiest thing a bride or groom can do to keep healthy while planning a wedding is to stay hydrated. A dehydrated body is a body under stress, and that will wear down your resistance to other stressful situations.

Think about it; the florist having some trouble securing the world's most perfect tulips for your spring wedding is going to roll right off your back if you're at your best. But if your body is out of balance, that little problem can become a Big Problem fast. Give your body what it needs, and you can cope with almost anything.

Yes

No
Cut Back

If you want to look great in that swimsuit you bought for your honeymoon, some favourites are going to have to go. Fried foods, takeaway, and alcohol (which, aside from being calorie-rich, dehydrates the skin) should be the first things to go.

Of course, you don't need to deprive yourself completely. A small indulgence here or there can be good, if only for your mental health. You'll feel less like your fighting your body, and more like you're treating it, even as you're doing things right.

Exercise


Start with realistic expectations. You will not be slimming down to a size 18 from a size 8 over the course of your engagement, unless you're planning a very long one. The most one can lose and still be healthy is about a stone for every three months of exercise.

To give your body an overall, heart-healthy workout, you will ideally be participating in both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. However, not everyone can do everything, so just try to do what you can; a jog in the morning or some light stretching sneaked in during your lunch hour will do you some good. And remember, though you will be be getting yourself into better shape, exercise also boosts endorphin levels, which help signficantly in easing stress.

Strength

Strength training focuses on building muscle, which is very important when it comes to weight loss. Muscles burn calories more efficiently when they're in good shape, and you'll need them when you do get around to doing aerobic exercises. Resistance training is an effective way to gain lean muscle: your muscles exert themselves against a resisting force, thus allowing them to be targeted specifically.

Some equipment suggestions:

 Gym Balls

Gym balls can be used for a number of exercises, making them a top-notch purchase for the thrifty. Do sit-ups or push-ups, balance on them, or even enjoy some active sitting; improved posture does wonders for the back and abdominal area. 

We recommend: The Tunturi Gym Ball Classic . This gym ball is burst-resistant and easy to stow when you're done--simply deflate and put away.

Resistance Bands

Your arms and legs will thank you when you work out with resistance bands. They let you target a specific region of your body and, with the help of resistance, tone that area. That means sleeker limbs and possibly a firmer backside as well, since you will be bending and stretching as you go.

We recommend: Fitness Mad Safety Resistance Tubes . Coated in nylon to reduce your exposure to latex, they also include a door attachment to help you maximise your at-home workout.

Hand Weights

A simple way to build strength in the upper arm. Rather than doing lifts, try holding the weights with your arms out straight, forming a T. Your palms should face up as they clench the weight. Now make circles with your arms; do a set going clockwise and one anti-clockwise.

We recommend: The York Vinyl Fitbell Kit in a Case . The set features a variety of low-weight dumbbells that are perfect for a gradual workout, and a carry case to simplify storage.

Wobble Board

Also called balance boards, these are often used to aid with physical therapy. You can use them to improve your balance or to give correct push-up form. Use in conjunction a medicine ball and a similarly wobble board-bound friend and you can enjoy a game of catch that will work your legs and your abs.

We recommend: The 66Fit Wobble Board . It features a no-slip surface and a 16º angle.

Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise is important for blood circulation as well as the proper functioning of your heart and lungs, all worthy areas to look after for lifelong health. For wedding preparation purposes, you need cardio to help burn excess calories away fast so you can prevent them from becoming fat. Cardio is surprisingly easy to do on your own; an aerobic workout video can help, but you can easly take up jogging in the morning or start riding your bicycle to work. If you prefer some help in the form of equipment, we have some suggestions:

Stationary Bikes

Exercise bikes offer a low-impact way to exercise that eliminates excuses like poor weather or there not being enough light out before or after work. The more expensive programmable bikes offer different routines that can challenge your body.

We recommend:  The York C101 Cycle . It's easy to operate and has eight levels of manually adjustable magnetic resistance. It also monitors the time, speed, and distance of your workout.

Exercise Watches

Think of it as an exercise data recorder. When you're out running, the watch generally lets you know how effective your workout was, a must if you're serious about improving your fitness.

We recommend: The Garmin Forerunner 410  is an excellent choice; among other features, it records your heart rate, counts how many steps you've taken and the distance of your route, and then uses that data to determine how many calories you've burned.

Running Shoes

A good pair of running shoes should practically be made for your feet; your trainers must address your personal pronation issues, whether you have flat feet or a preference for trail running (especially hard on your joints). Generally, you want shoes that will minimise impact as you run and fit you perfectly.

We recommend:  Check out our Trainers guide to know how to pick your ideal pair and our Running Shoe Roundup for the latest and greatest. 

Elliptical Cross Trainers

The freakish offspring of a rowing machine and a treadmill, cross trainers are easy on the joints. They work your legs and your arms while giving you a solid cardio workout that's as intense as you want it to be.

We recommend: The York X201 Elliptical . This a machine that features a magnetic resistance brake system, 17 user programmes, and an LCD monitor for thorough information on your workout.

Relaxation

Sure, you might have a million things to do, but that's no reason not to take some time out of your busy schedule for yourself. Planning can take its toll, and it's completely natural for members of the wedding party to feel stressed and exhausted, even when they're taking care of themselves. 

Meditation

Take some time each day to meditate. Whether this means focusing inward and reflecting on your life or focusing on sitting and breathing, that's up to you. Set up a quiet space with a meditation mat  and unleash your mind.

Aromatherapy

Scents have a huge impact on a person's state of mind. The scent of ginger  is said to energize, while lemon oil  is purported to reduce stress and anxiety. You may use essential oils and a diffuser  to indulge or you can use aromatherapy candles .

Spa Day

A day of pampering is essential for a bride (or groom!) to be, and a Spa Smartbox  makes for a nice gift for the wedding party. If all else fails, you can always enjoy a homemade spa day with an avocado face mask  and some cucumber  slices for your eyes.

Sleep Well

A good night's sleep is important to your overall well-being. Reduce your caffeine intake if you have trouble sleeping, and avoid electronic devices before bed. A new set of high thread count cotton sheets  can make sleep seem like a more luxurious prospect.

Wedding Health and Fitness Resources

If you need more information on looking and feeling healthy on the big day, take a look at our site's resources below.

Nutrition

Protein

Proteins are filling and, from a nutritional standpoint, satisfying. They delay further feelings of hunger.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbs are preferable to simple ones. They take longer to digest, release a boost of energy after the other simple sugars in your diet have been "spent," thereby preventing that dragging, laggy feeling.

Fruits and Veggies

These will not only give you a ton of nutrients and some quick energy, but also provide some of your daily water requirement so you'll stay hydrated.

Exercise

Aerobics and Cardiovascular Exercise

For anyone looking to firm up, tone, and drop a healthy amount of weight, it's recommended that you do aerobic exercises at least three times a week for 30 minutes.

Weight Training

A half hour session of strength training twice a week can help tone you up as you drop weight.

Weight Loss Programs

Need something more regimented? Weight loss programs can provide the structure and support you need.

Relaxation

Yoga and Relaxation

Yoga is a fantastic way to combine relaxation with a workout and as it's quite popular, finding the right class or video shouldn't be too hard.

Spa Treatments

You deserve a little treat. A spa day may be just what you need to feel refreshed, inside and out.

Beauty Rest

A good night's sleep will make everything--from losing weight to planning a wedding--a lot easier on you: body, mind and soul.

Need to Know More?

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